Sierra Trading Post - on the bad list

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by jhcam8, Apr 7, 2009.

  1. TC11201

    TC11201 Senior member

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    Sorry, but I'm not as disturbed by the OPs behavior as everyone else seems to be. STPs business model is a catalog / internet model - other than their few warehouse stores, they do not incur the massive costs associated with bricks and mortar operations (and for most retailers, cost of real estate is easily the largest of their p&l items, usually by multiples of the next largest expense category). Returns are not only a part of retailing, but are, in this case, an even greater requirement given their business model (and the huge potential for scalability and reach that they have that B&M retailers simply don't, at least not without incurring more enormous expansion costs).

    The OP does incur a cost when he returns items (shipping) - it may not be enough to cover restocking, but it is a fee that STP themselves set and the OP (as far as I can tell) returns his stuff according to a policy that they created. If their own policies aren't working for them, they should amend the policies, not ask customers to change behavior that is fully within the policies that they set. I'd also point out that almost all B&M retailers (and I know that there are exceptions, but not many for clothing purchases), including the various discounters, take returns without any cost to the customer / purchaser. As long as what STP charges covers shipping (which it likely does given the scale of their mail-order operation), then their costs of restocking the returns should actually be much lower than the costs incurred by a B&M retailer with many locations b/c inventory mgmt is much more difficult and expensive in a retail network with lots of locations (gotta optimize inventory not only at an aggregate level, but by store as well; STP has everything sent to a single massive warehouse - which is simpler and much cheaper to manage).

    All that said, I didn't find STPs note too snarky, other than that last line - someone ought to find a better way to express that sentiment - there seems to be a barely veiled threat.

    My two cents...
     


  2. idfnl

    idfnl Senior member

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    I have to agree with everything said here.

    +1

    I wish an anon email like this would hit my wife's inbox. Her rate is closer to 85%.

    If you return like this, you might consider abandoning the internet experiment... or invest in a tape meaure.
     


  3. jhcam8

    jhcam8 Senior member

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    Thank you, Gentlemen. Your insights and cogent remarks were very interesting to read.

    Happy to liven up the crew.
     


  4. marin

    marin Senior member

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    I want to know how the OP finds -- and tolerates -- the time to return 75% of purchases from a store he regularly frequents. I think I would have started consulting STP customer service or given up long ago.
     


  5. gdl203

    gdl203 Affiliate Vendor Dubiously Honored Affiliate Vendor

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    I have one question for you jhcam8 as I'm really curious now. The note says "over 75%". What's the actual number? 77%? 90%?
     


  6. eponymous

    eponymous Active Member

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    There is no business myth I can't stand more than "the customer is always right." There is absolutely a such thing as a bad customer. I can't conjecture about STP's business model, but if any business is losing money on a customer, they have every right to cut them off. I'm actually impressed that STP made (a pretty good) effort at being polite about it. They could of just told you not to shop there any more.
     


  7. BrooklynWeGoHard

    BrooklynWeGoHard Senior member

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    +1

    I wish an anon email like this would hit my wife's inbox. Her rate is closer to 85%.

    If you return like this, you might consider abandoning the internet experiment... or invest in a tape meaure.


    how about they invest in a tape measure? their sizing is often incorrect, and furthermore - they only list the length of suit jackets - not actual chest size, sleeve lengths, shoulders, etc.

    thanks guys
     


  8. BrooklynWeGoHard

    BrooklynWeGoHard Senior member

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    I agree...it would also be nice if everything was marked correctly...I do not return alot to them, but I received a pair of shoes from them last week and they were beat to sh*t...they ship $800 shoes in nothing but the shoe box and a poly bag...come on! [​IMG]

    yeah, their stuff is often NOT marked correctly for tailored clothes
     


  9. damienos

    damienos Active Member

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    My 2 cents. Why say "If you are not happy with your purchase for any reason, please return it to us for a full refund or exchange." ? and what constitutes abuse? Whose responsibility is it to make sure the item fits? the customers? or the shop's? I just had a very pleasant buying experience at Pediwear,a shoe retailer out of the UK. They do not confirm sales until they are sure you are getting what you want. After the order is made, they send you an automated response that a further email will be sent. I then got an email from a real person asking if I was sure of the size. After confirming that it was, they proceeded with the order. All this was done to prevent 'abuse' of a return policy, DURING the transaction stage. From my point of view, its all about expectations. IF you advertise 100% satisfaction you stand by it. If they are able to flag the OP as a customer as someone who returns 75%, then they can send an email before the next transaction to further satisfy the customer. And I do not think STP loses money on returns. A returned item is restocked and resold. The restocking cost is minimal. Don't forget, there is also cost to the customer. The waiting, the anticipation and the trouble and time to go to the post office,etc. His money could be used somewhere where he really gets 100% satisfaction with no need to return. All this in intangible I think
     


  10. acidboy

    acidboy Senior member

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    I have one question for you jhcam8 as I'm really curious now. The note says "over 75%". What's the actual number? 77%? 90%?

    I'm more interested in finding out the reasons he's returning them. At that amount he implied, is he using all of them, or is he reselling them and returning the ones not sold? Or is this a habitual thing?
     


  11. HEWSINATOR

    HEWSINATOR Senior member

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    Re the customer always being right. I agree. Many customers are nothing but wrong. Mostly, they are all the same. The people that have no conception of the spirit of the rule, but consider it an entitlement. I guess these people need all aspects of life written out for them as they have no internal moral compass (and yes, abusing policies, fraudulently returning, trying on at store with the intent to buy online, etc... is immoral.

    The problem is, the dink that is such a problem to deal with is the one that will tell all the people he knows his side of the story. Usually missing the finer points. Just like when he speaks to your manager.

    People think that sense it is a big bad corporation that they can do whatever they want. Yes, their policy obviously allows for returns, but with such an open policy, both sides need to be able to use some discretion.
     


  12. BringingSuitsBack

    BringingSuitsBack Member

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    The part that troubles me here is that the STP doesn't even carry a very wide range of clothes, but rather the same few brands month after month. After a few orders, you should have a good idea of your size in the brand/maker and I think that STP has a reasonable expectation that you are don't abuse the policy simply because you have poor impulse control when shopping online.
     


  13. Dewey

    Dewey Senior member

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  14. dport86

    dport86 Senior member

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    to the posters who wrote to defend the 75%+ return rate, thank you. Amazing and helpful to see your perspective.

    Am I the only one to see a connection to the current fiscal situation--particularly the mortgage meltdown? The idea that if someone offers something, than it is not just your right (or entitlement) to take advantage of it/game it/abuse it but to do so in an outrageous way? And that if they offer it, and it's their business model, they must be making money on it. While I think that some people were scammed in the subprime mortgage meltdown, there were obviously many people who simply saw an opportunity to take advantage of lenders offering deals too good to be true. Like my neighbor who took out $1.4m on the house he paid $200k for 20 years ago and then just stopped paying it back. Who's going to pay for that mortgage? Guess what. We are. We are already paying in the loss in value of our stocks, retirement funds and ultimately our dollar. Did he defraud anyone? Nope. Did the lenders offer to give him the money? Yep. Were lots of people doing it? Yeah. Was it right? I think not. Is it going to have an effect? yeah-despite the business model and the insurance and the larger pool of paying customer, yeah. obviously it already has.

    Before I get flamed here, I'm not saying returning thousands of garments is the same as taking $1.4m with no intention of paying it back. I'm just saying, what the f*** happened to a sense of personal responsibility and restraint in this country? People talk about entitlement as though it's only a problem of people in the ghetto on welfare. How does the idea that I can order and return 3x as many items as I keep to the tune of hundreds if not thousands of items, and be pissed that the seller has the temerity to send a polite warning letter not amount to a sense of entitlement?
     


  15. BrooklynWeGoHard

    BrooklynWeGoHard Senior member

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    to the posters who wrote to defend the 75%+ return rate, thank you. Amazing and helpful to see your perspective.

    Am I the only one to see a connection to the current fiscal situation--particularly the mortgage meltdown? The idea that if someone offers something, than it is not just your right (or entitlement) to take advantage of it/game it/abuse it but to do so in an outrageous way? And that if they offer it, and it's their business model, they must be making money on it. While I think that some people were scammed in the subprime mortgage meltdown, there were obviously many people who simply saw an opportunity to take advantage of lenders offering deals too good to be true. Like my neighbor who took out $1.4m on the house he paid $200k for 20 years ago and then just stopped paying it back. Who's going to pay for that mortgage? Guess what. We are. We are already paying in the loss in value of our stocks, retirement funds and ultimately our dollar. Did he defraud anyone? Nope. Did the lenders offer to give him the money? Yep. Were lots of people doing it? Yeah. Was it right? I think not. Is it going to have an effect? yeah-despite the business model and the insurance and the larger pool of paying customer, yeah. obviously it already has.

    Before I get flamed here, I'm not saying returning thousands of garments is the same as taking $1.4m with no intention of paying it back. I'm just saying, what the f*** happened to a sense of personal responsibility and restraint in this country? People talk about entitlement as though it's only a problem of people in the ghetto on welfare. How does the idea that I can order and return 3x as many items as I keep to the tune of hundreds if not thousands of items, and be pissed that the seller has the temerity to send a polite warning letter not amount to a sense of entitlement?


    Bravo. Of course the OP is a douche. But seriously, this also should make STP either re-adjust their "inherently" flawed return policy and/or ban this guy from buying. Furthermore, perhaps STP should change their policy on how they list items. Better measurements, better photos, etc. Their measurements on their site, especially for tailored garments simply suck.
     


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