Crate and Barrel Likes Accountants Better Than Customers

Make no mistake, I have always been a fan of Crate & Barrel.  I love walking around the store looking at everything thinking “why didn’t I think of that” and “man, I wish I had a place for that in my house”.  Whether it is a nifty kitchen gadget or they way they can change a room with color. 

But this weekend, instead of being envious of their wares, I was disappointed by their change on one of their policies. 

I recently received a gift from Crate & Barrel that I didn’t want.  Not that it was a bad gift, just that I already had too many chip and dip bowl sets.  So, I returned the gift.  Usually, Crate & Barrel is happy to refund my money on a gift card because they know I will be back to spend it (and more).  But today, they told me that I would need to wait 7-10 business days to receive my credit. 

What?  Why? 

What is their motivation for not giving me a gift card on the spot like before?  In addition to the breakage on an unused gift card, are they now hoping that the gift card will get lost in the mail and that I will forget that they owe me a credit? 

This change of policy underscores how companies are now listening to their accountants too much and ignoring their marketing and branding people.  When you make policies that benefit the companies bottom line and impact how customers feel about you in a negative way, you take a step down a very slippery slope. 

Why would a retailer not want to engage me right away?  Why don’t they want me to have a branded gift card in my wallet today – burning a hole in my pocket? 

While I still like Crate & Barrel for their unique products and for how they motivate me to redecorate and replace my kitchen decor, I will make sure that I am certain of my purchase before committing to buying it there.  When I want to give a gift, I’ll be sure to choose another retailer so that if my taste in gifts are different than my friends, they won’t have to wait 7-10 days to use the gift I gave them.

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