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frivolity

Forgive me if I start looking too preppy…

…but I think I’m done buying clothing anywhere but Land’s End.

8:41 PM  My mind starts drifting away from the emails I’m trying to return, and I remember that I have a bunch of pants that aren’t quite right.  Bought ’em a month ago, and been wanting to return them (or at least the ones I haven’t yet worn) to the vendor (Land’s End) to see about getting a slightly different length.

8:42 PM  I compose an email reply to the shipping confirmation email, asking if they can replace or alter all six pairs (even the worn ones).

8:51 PM Desk phone rings (hey, could that be an entrepreneur looking for some equity at this hour?  What a work ethic!).  Turns out it’s LE customer service.  Wants to know if I can wait until next Monday to receive six pairs in a free replacement shipment with an RMA and prepaid box for shipping back all the old ones, including the worn ones.

WTF?!?  LE FTW!

I understand that I could have had this kind of doting if I went to Nordstrom.  But showing up to a department store and breathing the perfume and hearing the piano and seeing the halogen lights is bullshit.  Getting six identical pairs of trousers tweaked 1/2 inch and shipped out ASAP without leaving your office at 8 PM on a Monday is anti-bullshit.

So, I beg you: think not ill of me when you see me wearing the all-Land’s End wardrobe from here on in.  Because it’s officially game over for me and apparel retail.

And, my apologies: I will now, thanks to LE, be all the more insufferable of a consumer when asked to wait on hold, navigate phone menus, etc.  I’ve now been trained: when I have a product problem in the middle of the night, my vendor calls me.  (A competent, polite, anglophone vendor at that.)

[Strongly considering a long SHLD position but LE is basically noise compared to the KMart and Sears juggernauts.]

But seriously now: a few key things they did right.  1. Actually checked the replies to the various “bot” emails that go out at points in the workflow.  Most !@#$@#%^ companies just use a “noreply@” or > /dev/null any emails you send to automated messages.  2. Some combo of skills-based-routing with order-size-queueing (I bet).  My order was probably in the above average range, plus it was a good bet that I was around and available, so queuing up an agent ASAP was a high-value proposition.  3. Empowered agent — clearly he was able to spend a fair amount of money (call it $20 in shipping plus eating another $50 in “trouser expenses”) to get the issue closed.  Big time kudos to IT, Customer Service, and a culture that lets the two work together so well.

Things Pictured on "The Stuff of Thought"

Here is an attempt at an exhaustive list of objects drawn as colorful icons on the cover of the hardcover 2007 edition of Steven Pinker’s “The Stuff of Thought.”

  • fork
  • trash can
  • sunglasses
  • lamp, desk
  • salt shaker, pouring
  • football helmet
  • door (safe vault?)
  • film canister, 35 mm
  • mortar and pestle
  • plunger, toilet
  • vial, poison
  • condom
  • speaker, tweeter and woofer
  • cup with toothbrush
  • straitjacket
  • medicine dropper, dropping
  • monitor, computer
  • pills, medicine (capsules)
  • glove (gauntlet)
  • hammer
  • sardine tin, half-open
  • padlock, open
  • briefcase
  • teabag
  • hand grenade, pineapple
  • ice cream cone
  • pinwheel
  • bandage, adhesive strip
  • roll (paper or textile)
  • cigarette or joint
  • paintbrush, dripping
  • dynamite or firecracker, fuse lit
  • bullhorn
  • brassiere
  • toaster, bread popping out
  • bowling pin
  • Martini glass, with olive
  • Game Boy
  • toilet
  • cell phone
  • underpants, briefs
  • teacup and saucer, sugar cube above
  • computer with keyboard (different from computer monitor)
  • blow up doll
  • cigarette or joint (again)
  • flag, atop pole
  • pistol
  • dildo or vibrator
  • hatchet or axe
  • television set
  • handcuffs
  • clock face
  • roll, toilet paper
  • popsicle or creamsicle, bitten
  • straitjacket (again)
  • electric chair
  • lipstick
  • kitchen mixer or egg beater

I think (from the first hundred pages) that each of these items is referenced at some point within the text. But how interesting that the only two items that Steve-o repeats are a straitjacket and a cigarette or joint.