On Customer Service…

I’m always intrigued by the way businesses treat their customers.  The other day, for example, I called Barney Greengrass, a local New York City restaurant on the upper west side that has the most amazing bagels and fish. I wanted them to send a package to a friend in California. When I couldn’t reach anyone on the phone, I decided to use the Internet and order through their web site.

I ordered a dozen bagels and a pound of smoked nova.  The price was $50.  I thought it was a little expensive but I wanted to send something authentic from New York City. After I entered my credit card, I clicked on submit and my order was placed.  When I saw the confirmation email saying that the shipping was also $50 and that the order would now be $100, I decided to cancel it.  That’s ridiculous!

I left Barney Greengrass a message and also sent them an email.  The next day, I received an email confirmation saying that my order has been canceled and I also received a personalized phone call from the staff.  “It doesn’t matter why you canceled the order,” the associate told me. “We just want you to be happy.”

And happy I was. Until a similar situation happened.  This time with a jewelry designer who I love.  Her name, Tarina Tarantino and she has a store in Soho.

I was first introduced to her sparkly, crystal jewelry a few years back when I was on the west coast.  I fell in love and continued to be a loyal customer through the years ordering on the Internet.  A few years ago, they opened their Soho store and I was in heaven!

The other day, my daughter and I were in Soho and we went into Tarina Tarantino. We picked out a bunch of pieces to purchase, brought them home and was eager to wear them.

We both bought the same pair of earrings. When I went to use mine, a crystal came out.  I told my daughter and she told me that the same thing happened to her.

I called the store. No one was there. I left a message. I called again. This time a woman answered the phone. “Can you come into the city to drop off the earrings?” she asked me.

“No, I live on Long Island and I have a city office but it’s uptown. I really don’t get to soho often,” I said.

“Ok, don’t feel bad about this situation,” she said, “it happens all the time to these earrings.”

She also told me that I could mail the earrings to her but that she would have to charge me a delivery fee to return them. I really felt that that was absurd!  Here, I purchased expensive costume jewelry and the store will nickel and dime me to have the earrings fixed and sent back?  I was upset but I sent the earrings.  Now I have to wait a few weeks before I can go to Soho to pick them up.

Don’t you think that they should have waived the shipping charge to make me a more satisfied customer?


  1. Jsmith

    that picture looks like a 13 year old on myspace

    1. hiltop25

      hahaha… Well, I'm 13 at heart!

  2. Sharon Maxwell-Yamamoto

    Yes, they should pay the shipping, both directions, no question. And they should see what they can do about fixing that design flaw! And the shipping will only be a few $$, for crying out loud!

    I LOVE Barney Greengrass! I forgot I was going to order some stuff to eat on New Year's Day…I got sick…but still may do it as a special treat. There is no smoked fish better on the planet! And I miss bagels and especially bialys! Glad to know they gave you the right kind of service. Makes me want to order from them all the more.

    I like your blog posts Hilary!

    1. hiltop25

      Thanks Sharon!!!! Appreciate it!

  3. Amanda Marsh

    Considering Tarina Tarantino is a fairly known name, I was surprised to read your story. I would not expect that type of customer service from such a company.

    If it “happens all the time,” then those earrings should be pulled off the shelf until a fix can be made to the design. I can't believe the story would have the audacity to charge you a delivery fee for something that was clearly its error.

    However, it does say on TT's website (https://www.tarinatarantino.com…):

    Q: Do you Repair Jewelry ?
    A: Yes. We repair jewelry free of charge within 3 days from the day you recieve the item from TarinaTarantino.com. After 3 days, there is a minimum repair fee of $7 per item depending on the item, plus an $8 shipping cost. As we do repair jewelry at our discretion, you must contact customer service for an RA# (Return Authorization #) before sending any packages. The RA# is valid for only 5 days and will not be accepted anytime after those 5 days expire. You can obtain a RA# by emailing customer service at [email protected]. We reserve the right to refuse packages without an RA #, or an invoice.

    Only three days? As a consumer who has never purchased a TT item, I'd be wary about the quality. This alone would make me think twice about buying something from them.

    I own a lot of costume jewelry… my fiance calls me “Madeleine Albright” for my extensive rhinestone brooch collection. They've come from many a place, but particularly Koreatown, where you can pick up a beautiful, antique-looking brooch for less than $10. I've hardly had issues with stones falling out, and these aren't “designer” by any means.

    Shame on TT.

    1. hiltop25

      Thanks Amanda for your comments… It's true that they should give us more time and if the stones are faulty that they should reimburse us….

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