Tuesday, May 10, 2011

You WANT me to buy something, right?

I generally like Land's End. Conservative clothes with clean lines. I wish more of it - any of it, actually - was still Made in the USA, but I can't complain about the styling. The only thing they like to do more than send lots of paper catalogs is to send LOTS of marketing e-mails.  But I think that they are going a little overboard with it.

My desired Dress and the very small expiration date
At 4am (yes, AM) on May 4, an email from Land's End titled "Soft and Summery: 24 new Dresses and Skirts + Free Shipping" came into my Inbox. I of course did not read it at 4am; it was more like 4pm when I finally saw it. 

Ah, I shall have to take a peek at these new dresses, I thought to myself. One in particular caught my eye. It already had several glowing reviews (which in hindsight seems suspicious, if it is supposedly a new dress). So I decided to buy it. But wait. The X-Smalls, Smalls, and Mediums were already SOLD OUT? How it this possible? All the reviews were firm that the dress ran very large, so it was clear that my size was gone. 

I quickly fired off an email to Lands End Customer Support, asking why on earth they were hoking a "new" dress that was nearly sold out and would they be getting any more? The next day, I got back a lovely form letter explaining the complexities of inventory management and confirming that no, they would not get any more. Grrrrrr. 

So, I decided to visit my local Sears on the way home from work, to see if they had it. They did, but only size Large and X-Large. And the reviewers were right. THE DRESS WAS HUGE.

I went back home and checked online again. Regular was still sold out, but Petite had one color - Black - left in size Small. I decided to try it. It was a pretty dress. And besides, the email advertised free shipping. Free shipping makes everything better.

So, I logged in, plunked my small treasure into the cart and linked to checkout. I plugged in my free shipping code and ... big red text appears saying "THIS OFFER IS NO LONGER VALID". What? I went back to the original email. No expiration date on the subject line. No expiration on the main title. But way at the bottom, in very small type, was the note that the offer expired at 11:59pm on May 4. The free shipping had only been good for less than one day ... less than 20 hours. Couldn't Land's End have made this a little more obvious?

I almost abandoned my cart at this point. The only thing that saved the sale for Land's End is the distinct lack of simple black dresses at most retailers this year. So I clicked "Submit" and my dress is on its way. I sure hope the damn thing fits, because after all this it is going to make me even madder to need to return it.

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