A past love…

 

     It is very difficult to write a letter to a former love.  All the pleasant thoughts and memories of the romance come rushing back before they are quickly replaced with the present reality of the broken relationship. Therefore, I found it especially hard to write a letter of complaint to my once favorite store: Banana Republic.  Over a decade ago, I loved this store and their clothes so much I spent well over $100 every time I visited the store.  Anyone that knows me well knows I rarely spend over $100 on anything. Banana Republic was an exception.  It was “my exception” (Alex to Gigi – “He’s Just Not That Into You”- great movie!).

I noticed the quality of the beautiful clothes I bought at BR (no, not bathroom but that is a good resting place for their current poor quality clothing- kidding! Okay, half kidding.) started to deteriorate around 2007.  Although the prices of their sexy, smart, classic style clothing stayed as high as ever, the clothes started to fall apart after only a few washes.  I could expect this from a $5 t -shirt but not a beautifully designed $85 silk blouse.  Unbeknown to me at the time, the company had switched from making their clothes in the US to outsourcing the work to China.  Apparently, I wasn’t the only customer who noticed this shocking degradation of quality.  I came upon this blog posting from 2008 from a former loyal customer who had a similar experience:

 

My email to  BR: ———————— I’m a long time Banana Republic  shopper, with the brand composing at least 50% of my wardrobe. It’s among my  favorite brands because of the fresh styles, reasonable prices, fit and quality.  However, the quality seems to be taking a turn for the worse which is what is  prompting this email. Over the past 4 months I’ve bought a dress, tank top and  skirt all of which have had to be taken to the tailor to have the hems re-sewed  after one washing, a jacket with a sleeve seam that came apart after one wearing  and a silk shirt which is starting to fray at the seams of both sleeves after  two trips to the dry cleaner. This on top of a handful of dresses with colors  that fade and fabrics that loose their smoothness after a few washings. I’ve  never encountered worse quality in clothing than I have from BR over the  previous 4 months. Normally I would just stop shopping at your store, but  because I have shopped BR for years and have never had quality issues (I have a  dress that I bought 8 years ago, worn and washed more times than I can count  that still looks brand new) I’m giving BR the benefit of the doubt by sending  this email and encouraging that the quality be examined. Please respond and let  me know how you will address these concerns.

 

BR’s  Response ————————- Thank you for your e-mail. We are sorry to learn of your disappointment with the  current merchandise quality at Banana Republic. However, we definitely  appreciate feedback from our customers – both positive and negative – and your  message will be shared with our Merchandising team. Customer feedback is the  most important consideration when our merchants are planning what our  merchandise quality will be like in the future.
As a note, you can take  merchandise to your local Banana Republic store for evaluation, and we will be  happy to offer you a return or replacement once the merchandise has been deemed  defective by a manager at any Banana Republic store.
If we may be of  further assistance, please contact us via e-mail at custserv@bananarepublic.com or by  calling 1-888-BR-STYLE. Our Customer Service Consultants are available 24 hours  a day for your convenience.
Sincerely,
Ed Customer Service  Consultant

 

The rest of the email exchange and the follow up or lack thereof from BR can be found here:

http://marketingengagement.blogspot.com/2008/09/responding-to-customer-complaints.htm

Tomorrow, I will post my own letter to my once great love BR.  I’m curious as to what their response will be.  Will they care? Will they even remember me and how loyal and committed I was to them?  I’ll find out tomorrow!

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