A Mom is a Mom is a Mom

Mauree Miller

Shopping with my daughter is one of life’s special gifts. We both love it but it’s often more of a gift for her, because I end up paying the bill. (“A rose is a rose is a rose”—Gertrude Stein.  ‘A mom is a mom is a mom”—Mauree Miller.)

We found a great summer dress perfect for many occasions. I had planned well, taking her to her favorite department store when they were having a special promotion throughout the store. Timing is everything because the dress would either never go on sale, or would be on sale at the end of the season with only leftovers in the wrong size. This dress was now hers for a reasonable price (The dress was hers; the price, mine). In a generous mood, I gave her my precious store reward points, reducing the price even further. I’ll think about that silver necklace another time, when I accumulate more points.

The dress needed a simple alteration but because she lives out of the area, my daughter would need to do that at her local store branch. She needed proof that she purchased the dress from this chain in order to have the alteration done so we left the tags on the dress, with all of the information necessary to document the purchase. The alteration process should have been easy, but it didn’t turn out that way.

  • Problem #1:  When my daughter brought the dress to the store for fitting, the staff told her she needed the receipt.  This was not true. The little computer generated sticker they put on the back of the tag has all of the receipt information necessary for proof of purchase.
  • Problem #2:  In order to address the lack of a receipt, they said they had to go to the administrative office to track down the purchase details—Untruth #2.
  • Problem #3:  As my daughter was having the dress pinned, she was told the alteration cost was $65. This was way overpriced. This should have been a $20-$30 alteration. (Mom speaking from the voice of experience.)
  • Problem #4: While my daughter was having the dress pinned, they came back and said they couldn’t locate the receipt information and couldn’t do the alteration. Wrong information; bad service! And, this was taking much too long. Already, my daughter had spent an hour on this little project.

What do you do when you experience bad service, inconvenience and incorrect information? My daughter knew from long experience with her mother—Get a manager!

Which led to:

  • Problem #5:  My daughter explained that the problem with the receipt made no sense, especially with the tag intact, and that the charge seemed much too high, aside from the excessive time to deal with this. Her request? Just do the darned alteration and reduce the charge based on the problematic experience. Although my daughter was on terra firma, the manager’s response was that there was nothing that she could do. This was an unacceptable response. My daughter took the dress off and went to a tailor, who charged $25 for the alteration. (You see, I do know my alteration prices—right in my estimate range.)

What did my daughter do wrong? She didn’t go above this manager. When you reach a manager, and he/she doesn’t make sense or satisfy your needs, go higher. You should also wonder whether he/she really is the manager.

Now, we get to the “Mommy Manipulation”. This is a little dynamic my daughter and I have gone through many times, ever since she was little. She is angry about what happened and knows that it should and can be fixed, but is not in the mood to take the time to do it. So, she tells me. And she has me nailed—she knows that I can’t just let it go and walk away. So, what do I do? As always, I fix it. (I have to work on that—she needs to do it herself. I’m getting worn out.)
I call the store. I don’t ask for the department manager; I go straight upwards. I ask for the store manager. I started by calling the main number for the store. This national chain has a national call center. When I called, the operator couldn’t identify the manager in this branch or connect me to anywhere meaningful. This made no sense. What do you do when you reach an unknowledgeable operator? Take his/her name and then call back. You will usually locate someone who does know what to do, and you should also report the last know-nothing. On call back, I reached an operator who directed me to the Senior Manager on Duty, Alana. 

Alana was good. She volunteered the name of the store manager and gave me his number for future reference as well as her direct number. She explained the tag issue should not have been a problem. She also revealed, as I suspected, that the manager at the time of the problem was only an assistant manager. In a discreet manner, she essentially told me that the assistant manager didn’t know what she was doing—as I also suspected. My goal—get it fixed. Alana agreed to do just that. How would she fix it?

  1. She would reach out to my daughter to get accurate detail about the incident.
  2. I asked for her to arrange the alteration without charge (before I knew that my daughter had already gone elsewhere) which she agreed to.
  3. She took the initiative to talk to the associate manager to educate her so this wouldn’t happen to anyone else.
  4. She gave me her contact information for future reference, in case I had problems in the future.

In other words, she got it right!