Monday, July 30, 2012

High Heels, High Hopes

I won this tumbler from JustFab in their Million Fans contest on Facebook. It's just cool and I wanted to share it with you all. It's huge, too! My goal is to drink 3 of these full of water every day. Not vodka. Water.

Friday, July 27, 2012

The ins and outs of good customer service

Companies rely heavily on their customer service to keep clients happy and returning. This is especially true with online retailers of fashion and shoes. These items are only useful if they fit properly and since all bodies and feet are different, returns and exchanges are inevitable. How these are handled can make or break a company. Some companies truly excel at customer service and others downright suck. In college, I worked for a major long distance carrier in their inbound customer service department. I was the poor schmuck on the other end of the phone when you called because you didn't know you had to pay $.05 a minute to talk to Aunt Clara. While my doctor made me quit the job after 6 months, I did learn a few things in the process.

In a perfect world, you would never have to contact customer service because everything would just be gravy all the time. Since, that's not the case, there are a few things that will make your experience better when you do have to contact them.

  • Be pleasant. You really do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. A simple "How are you?" or "Thank you" can go a long way. If you do these simple things, you'll be a breath of fresh air for the agent and she'll be much more likely to give you the outcome you seek.
  • State your issue clearly. Don't beat around the bush. Most customer service agent have call time goals they are required to meet, so they don't want to spend anymore time on the call than absolutely necessary. If you waste their time, they'll get short and snippy with you.
  •  If the issue is a defect, be prepared to send pictures by email. It's good idea to take these pictures for your records, anyways. They're not requiring it to be mean or make it hard, they're doing it because someone before you took advantage of their system. Blame them, not the poor agent on the other end of the phone.
  • Don't be unreasonable. The shoes don't fit? It's okay to ask for a full refund. It's not okay to ask for a full refund and an additional account discount or credit. They have no way of guaranteeing that their shoes will fit your tingers/sausage toes/wide feet/narrow feet/etc., and they don't owe you for that. Don't be a greedy disgrace to shoemanity - I will revoke your shopaholic card. Seriously. I'm not kidding. The same goes for any merchandise, really.
  • If all these tips don't get you a satisfactory (within reason) resolution, then go after their social media pages. Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all very public ways of blasting them. Most modern companies at least monitor those pages and do NOT like there to be unresolved negative issues there. 
As for the companies, I've got some tips for them too:
  • Exchanges should always be free. Always. No exceptions. If you can't provide that service, then you are not ready for prime time. Close the doors and go home. 
  • If the item is defective, you should pay return shipping and offer a full refund without even being asked. If the customer wants an exchange - express ship it immediately. Don't make them wait. This is the only way you're going to redeem yourself on this one.
  • Listen to the customer. Make them at least think that you care. If you sound distant it'll piss them off and make your life harder.
  • If a customer is a constant pain in the @$$ and complainer, nothing you can do will make them happy. Cut your losses and tell them to pound sand. The customer is not always right. You are a business - your only objective is to make money. If they're not providing money instead of losses, then they aren't worth it. You can't please all the people all the time so don't waste your time.
  • Most pleasant. Again, more flies with honey instead of vinegar and all that. There's few things that irritate me more than a pissy CS agent. If I want to reach through the phone and choke you, I'm gonna be that much more of a royal pain.
If all customers and customer service agents followed this advice, the world of shopping would be so much more pleasant. But we won't follow this advice. We're a nation of impulse and want. We're impatient and needy - on both sides. But if we just tried we'd all be amazed.

Can't we all just get along?

Footnote: I wrote this shortly after the AMIClubwear fiasco linked to above and forgot to post it. I think it all stands true, though.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Another BOGO steal.

Last fall and winter, I suffered from a serious lack of closed toe wedges. As in: I had none. Not one single pair. I'm determined to change that this year though and have set off on a mad dash to stock up on them before September.

First in my quest were the Iron Fist Lovelace Wedges I got from JustFab in May. It was after I got those that I realized I needed more of that style for this year. But I wanted a deal, so I started playing the waiting game. Closed toe wedges typically don't go on sale in the summer. But stalking and perserverence paid off once again and I got two fantastic pairs for $40 in their BOGO, which is still going on, by the way.

I've wanted Tyra since they were released but I kept thinking "Man, that's a whole lotta pink." And they are, but they are so worth it. They're soft and light weight and run about a 1/2 size big. They're well made and my feet are just generally happy in them. I haven't actually worn them out of the house yet because it's been 5 degrees hotter than hell here this week, and I've been hard pressed to wear anything but sandals. I had said that if the other two colors, taupe and black became available in my size I was going to get them too, but as is the story of my life. I missed them. By the time I saw they were available, added them to my cart, tried to convince myself that I do need them, and then hit checkout, they were gone.

Next up is Izzy, which everyone told me ran small and has a tight toe box, but I took a chance on the 7 and they fit perfectly. So, that would mean they run tts but have a small toe box according to what I'm used to. I don't actually own anything mustard, so I'll be wearing these with browns this fall. They're not as comfy as Tyra, but they aren't bad. The only other color these come in is a pink that's almost the same color as Tyra and while I love those, it would be absurd to have more than one pair in that color.

I'm off to write an actual commissioned article for a blog, so I'll talk at you gals later.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

A pleasant lacey surprise

It's no secret that I used to buy tons of stuff from ShoeDazzle. B-O-A-T-L-O-A-D-S. It's also not a secret that all that pretty much came to a screeching halt in January/February. Partly because I seriously cut back on all shopping in preparation for the Jamaica trip but mostly because I'd had a string of really crappy quality purchases. And they changed their shipping and returns to what appears to be mule-powered. And we won't even get into the rising height of their heels. The last few months, I hadn't really bought anything from them at all. Then I broke down and ordered the new Lyra's last month and I'm still pissed over that whole sizing fiasco, and once again I swore I was done with the Dazzle.

Fast forward to this month.  I get back from Jamaica and do a quick loop through the July releases. And I found this gem. I've been looking for lace pumps that don't look cheap or trashy for literally months and these, Jirina, held potential. On the site, these are gorgeous, but this is ShoeDazzle we're talking about and I couldn't imagine that they could manage to get lace on a shoe and get it to me without some serious defects. Lace is pretty delicate, after all, and they aren't known for their care in handling. I waffled for about a week and finally decided I would give them a shot. It took just over a week for them to actually get here. (Seriously, though, their new shipping sucks.)
Jirina - from the Signature Sole collection

I gotta say, I'm totally thrilled with them. Not only are there no flaws, they're decidedly high quality. The lace is perfect and there are no quality issues that I can find at all. And they're simply stunning. More so than I was expecting, even. I got them in a 7 - so there's a little extra room in the length, but the width is perfect. With a 5.5" heel and 1" platform, these are mid-heels by their current standards, and that's okay because I was wanting something sexy and these definitely fit that bill.

Overall, I'm thrilled. Other than the shipping, I have no issues with this order from ShoeDazzle. I was expecting to be miffed, and even wondered what one of about 30 different things would go wrong and cause me to lose it.

I'm really hoping they're starting to turn around. I ordered a pair from their BOGO last week that came in the same day as these. They were perfect, too. So perfect, in fact, that I had no qualms about ordering those in other colors.

Here's to restoring the luster to the Dazzle and hoping this one order wasn't just a fluke.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

My Off-White Whale

Ever had a pair of shoes that just gets stuck in your craw? Whether you never got them when you had the chance, or you got them and returned them, or just missed them, and you've regretted it ever since? Yeah, well, for whatever reason, Mel B from ShoeDazzle has been stuck in my head since I returned the jacked up pair of size 7's I got last year. I thought I hated them, but I just hated that pair, I think. Also, they didn't fit - the toe box is too tiny to describe in them. No, really. And we won't even discuss the infamous elf toe.
Even so, a few times over the last year I've seen a 7.5 pop up for sale or trade and seriously considered giving them a try. Yet, I shied away every time, until last week, when suddenly I had this overwhelming urge to have them in my life again. So I traded an unworn (and sadly forgotten) pair for them. The toe box is still tiny but they're in excellent condition and wearable, if not comfortable. And even if I never wear them, I'm glad I have them. Even with the nipple toe, they're just pretty.

I'll wear them though. With jeans and a damn t-shirt if I have to.

Here's to letting go of regrets.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Baby Steps Into the Neon Pool

Someone hopped in their DeLorean, set the clock to 1988, and brought the color palette back with them. Neon is in style again. It's everywhere this season. The proper way to style it is with other neons. Which is where the problem is. Until this week, I owned exactly three items that have any neon on them. A neon yellow/green tank from Express, a white skirt w/ neon flowers from Tommy Hilfiger, and a green shirt with neon flowers on it from H&M. And none of them match the others. I'm not exactly well versed in neon, obviously. So, knowing that, I'm not exactly sure why I thought it was a good idea to get a pair of nude shoes with Neon Pink accents. I'm not talking just bright pink - we're talking black light responsive florescent pink.

Meet Narcissa from JustFab. They're a little narrow in the toes, which is fine for me, but not if your foot is wide. And, they feel a little steeper than they really are at 5.5" with a platform that comes in just over an inch. The nude material is a soft faux leather - think the type of leather that was popular for jackets in the 90's. It's soft, but not faux suede. The neon pink is faux leather - not patent though. They're really comfy but the straps could pose a problem if you have a high instep.

When I ordered them, I thought I'd just throw a white top on with some Khaki capri's, toss on some pink jewelry and be done with it. Nope. It looks really good on Polyvore style boards, but not so much in reality where khaki clashes with nude. Then I considered a white skirt with a simple top an pink jewelry. Nope. Still no-go, it looked too washed out. Now, I'm settling on jeans or denim capris, a white top, and neon jewelry. I'm willing to do neon in bits and pieces but not a flood of it, so a neon top is out. The shoes are gorgeous though and there's no way in hell I'm letting them go.

I guess I need to just hold my breath and dive on into the neon kiddie pool.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Still on the Iron Fist kick...

I'll make this quick - I know I've been beating the Iron Fist drum for what seems like months now. I can't help it, their stuff is unique and comfortable. And adorable! So, when a LivingSocial deal became available for, I snagged it. It was also pretty awesome that I got 3 sign-ups through my referral and ultimately got the deal for FREE! I will never say no to free shoes!

First of all, I got my Filthy Landlubber fix by way of the Platforms, since the T-Bars didn't fit. These are wide but were fixable with inserts and are extremely comfortable. I'm not gonna lie, I prefer the look of the T-Bars to these. But I just had to have this pattern in my life. Little skulls in skipper hats? Yes, please. I wore them with white capris and a blue polo and got tons of compliments. Honestly though, I don't think anyone even noticed the skulls. <sigh>

Also, in the same shipment, I got my white whale from last year's collection, The Booze Cruise Platform. They fit exactly like the FL's and the Posey's from last week. I wanted these when they first came out and never found a decent deal on them in my size. To the untrained eye, they look like simple, sweet, little taupe pumps with abstract designs on the sides and polka dots on the bow. But look closer - those are little moonshine bottles on the sides. Which is freakin' fantastic. Until your coworker's 3 year old daughter notices them and asks, "What's that, Miss Andi?" Oops. I offered her a handful of M&M's in lieu of answering. She gladly accepted. They always do.

I will not say that this is the end of the Iron Fist. Mainly because I do have another pair waiting in the wings and it's about time for new releases to come out again. But I will say that I have others to discuss before I do any more Iron Fist so there will be a break. I promise. Really.


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Yeah, mon.

I just got back from 8 days of this and am still trying to catch my breath. I've got tons to blog at you about though and it'll be coming in the next few days. I promise.

I've missed you all!