I have been a fan and supporter of Williams and Sonoma for over 10 years. Every experience I have had has been a fun and positive experience, with an anticipation of another visit. However, a recent visit to the store at the Broadway Mall in Walnut Creek, left me appalled and bewildered.
On Sunday August 1, 1999, I joined 3 of my dearest friends for a well-deserved day of relaxation and shopping. We parked approximately 3 blocks from the store (which offers no on-site parking), and spent over an hour and a half selecting items for purchase. The four of us were assisted by several sales clerks, who were attentive and knowledgeable. We realized that we would be unable to continue our shopping if we took our purchases, so we asked if we could leave them until we finished shopping next door at their other store, the Pottery Barn. Carol, a sales clerk, said that we could leave our purchases, and let us know that the store would close at 6:00 p.m.
After spending 45 minutes in Pottery Barn, we returned with our purchases to Williams/Sonoma. We looked at the counter, and noticed that our rather large pile of purchases on hold, and dwindled down to 2 items. Carol was busy with another customer, so we waited. While we were waiting, another clerk smiled and spoke to us, and told us how much she and the other staff had enjoyed watching us earlier in the day, that we looked like we were really having fun.
We finally spoke with Carol, who was extremely apologetic and seemed flustered that our purchases had been returned to the shelves. As she was speaking with us, another representative came by and spoke to us, as she walked by, she said that our items had been returned, that counter space is limited and our purchases were cluttering up the area and we took too long to come back. With that, we were left with Carol to pick up the pieces. Some of the clerks remembered some of the items we had on hold, and they went to try and get them for us.
We were told that the lady who made the decision was the Store Manager. We asked if we could speak to her regarding this situation. After several minutes, she rushed back to the counter. She began in a hostile manner, letting us know that she was busy, that she was sorry that we had been inconvenienced and that if we wanted to make our purchases, we should know where the stuff was, and to go get it off the shelves. When I personally addressed the Manager, she expressed again, that she was sorry, but she wasn't going to do anything. In neither her tone nor her action did she show any willingness to help resolve a situation of her own making. I was told that her store nets $20,000 weekly, and that my purchase was inconsequential. I asked for a business card, and I received one. It was blank. I asked her for her name, she wrote Beth. I asked if she was Beth. She said that she was Denise. I asked her to write her name on the card, which she finally did.
On Monday August 2, 1999 I called the Customer Service Number in San Francisco. I relayed the situation to one of the representatives. She asked if the Regional Manager, Diane, could contact me. I left both a business number and personal number.
To this date, I have never received a response.