They’re Only Flip Flops

Aug 03

There is a brand of flip flops I love. The style. The comfort. The little wedge that gives you a lift and let’s you forgo heels. But they’re costly for flip flops. I mean it’s rubber. And what’s even worse, they break. Yes, the thong breaks. I don’t think it’s me…as it doesn’t happen with my cheaper brands. In any event, a pair broke in February, which I tried to repair (not possible, don’t know what I was thinking) and then replaced in May. The other day the “new-ish” flip flop flopped. The right one broke. This time I went to the store and complained. It’s a high-end store. I have purchased quite a few pair of shoes there. But I didn’t have the receipt or the box (I got rid of the box thinking “who keeps their flip flops in boxes”).

The salesman (he was a man) asked me when I purchased the “shoes” as he went through my credit card purchases on his computer. He found other purchases from the store, but not the flip flops. I suggested that I probably paid cash. “When did you purchase them, ma’am?” “May”. “Well you know, they’re only flip flops, they’re not meant to last.” I was livid. “You mean to tell me these expensive, name-brand flip flops are not supposed to last more than 2 months?” He just smirked. “But you can see I’m a good customer, a great customer, look at how often I’m here (I was saying a bit embarrassingly)!” Nada. Not even I’m sorry.

I walked out with my broken flip flop in a paper bag, dejected, without a credit or another pair (they sold out…even so I wouldn’t have received another pair). I thought what kind of customer service is this?! Where is the love? This salesperson couldn’t care less…

I went home, wrote to the powers at be…to the store and to the brand, telling my story. I’m still waiting for a response.


  1. With so many alternatives, what’s the point of going to a high-end store when you don’t receive high-end customer service? Hey, I can score a deal at Ross/TJ Maxx/Tuesday Morning, etc. on last season’s flip flops (or whatever) and at least I’m prepared for the “f-you” attitude that’s almost expected there. At a time when people are spending more carefully, you’d think retailers would smarten up and take care of the customers whom they know to be loyal and, in this situation, deserving some kind of commitment to “making it right.” It’s pretty easy to tell when somebody’s just trying to get over on a store, vs. somebody who has a legitimate issue with the merchandise. A high-end store not bothering to offer you a credit or a replacement pair? They wouldn’t get my business anymore. I’m not one to cultivate or hold grudges easily, but on more than one occasion I’ve gone out of my way to purchase from the other guys when the store that’s closer and more convenient did me wrong in the past. Sometimes it’s small potatoes — like the KFC drive-throuh that years ago gave me food that was so pathetically dried-out (and actually burned in some spots), I refuse to go there again. But sometimes it’s big-ticket, like the fact that I’ll never buy a Ford vehicle due primarily to the sucky customer “service” my family received after purchasing a lemon back in the day. Yeah, it takes time and persistence to get your due far too frequently (and even then, you don’t always get a proper resolution). Still, buyers, don’t settle for less than what you bargained for. And sellers, take note!

  2. Kim McGraw /

    Well, well. I recently wrote a letter to Virgin America about a recent flight that I took from LA to NY. I tried VA on the recommendation of a friend. I explained on the inbound flight that I overheard one of the flight attendants complaining that she couldn’t read her book because customers kept interrupting her. Go figure. I assume she was on the job. When we landed there was no announcement welcoming us to JFK or where we could find our baggage.

    Every employee at this hip new airline should be required to take a Southwest flight to see customer service in action. I don’t have any stake in Southwest.

    Virgin America responded the next day saying they would do a better job in the future.

    I wish them well. I’ll be flying with a different airline on my next trip to NY.

  3. Vivian Chinelli /

    a few years ago i bought 2 ice creams on a stick (costing about a dollar each) from a nearby corner market that i frequented often. i started eating one of them after i left the store and was holding on to the other to take to my friend at my office across the street. on my way to the office i noticed that the wrapping on the second one was ripped. i did a u-turn and went back into the store to ask for another one with wrapper intact. instead of saying “no problem,” which is how i assumed the owner would respond, he actually accused me of ripping the wrapper myself. WHAT?! ripping it myself? now, why on earth would i have done that? ugh!!! i told him that i was very disappointed by his reaction and that i wouldn’t be patronizing his store again. he lost a good customer over a lousy $1.00 sale. how’s that for poor business sense? (100 cents to be exact!)

  4. Linda Schaffer /

    If my summer had title it would be called, Me and The Managers of 86th Street. It began when Ikea delivered a half black/half white wall unit for my son’s room. Then Best Buy sent us two smashed televisions after waiting six hours for their arrival. Finally they delivered the right one and the picture was truly stinky. I had to return to the store four times and retell my story until I got them to pick up this lemon and replace it with a better one. Then, my husband & I read a “too good to pass up” offer from RCN so we decided to switch cable providers from Time Warner to RCN. My internet connection started working every twenty minutes and the TV lost all sound downstairs. After two or three hours on the phone with RCN, they apologized and said they are still getting the kinks out. We had their cutting-edge TIVO boxes removed the next day and the replaced them with DVR boxes which they claimed they were not using anymore. At this point I was dealing with so many customer service zombies it became essential I that drag myself to a fancy-ass clothing store for a fresh perspective. That fabulous $200 gray T- shirt dress I could happily justify and wore proudly that evening got a teeny hole after one wearing. I stare at it every day. I’ll spare you details and pain of changing my AT&T plan and the sudden paralysis when my new 4G Iphone fell out of my sweaty palm and smashed in a thousand pieces despite the fact that I had a hard cover protecting it. Perhaps this is why I shocked my dining companions two nights ago, when I took a sip of this way over-priced French Bordeaux and said, “This really sucks” to the snotty too-pretty waiter. It really was rancid and I wanted everyone in New York City to know. She looked at me coldly but quickly returned to say that it was in fact tarter than usual. Ah tart-face, finally I went from crazy customer to wise woman. A summer highlight. So now that brings me to today’s package – a stunning George Kovac ceiling fan I have been eyeing for a few months and finally purchased as it was on sale at Lighting by Gregory. The building super had a rare few minutes to spare and proceeded to install it this afternoon. He was immediately suspicious when the remote was not wrapped like the other pieces and the light was already inserted into the fan.
    Was it not working because of a transmitter or receptor? He wasn’t sure but he was certain it had been used as a floor model and it was never going to work. So I take some deep yoga breaths and called my buddies at customer service. I am bounced around four times and never get a real person. I called again and have the identical experience. So what is a proud daughter of a retailer do? I tried using my dad’s line, “The customer is always right” on the seventeen year-old Best Buy sales boy during one of my visits and his befuddled look said everything. This is not Mr Best or My Buy or even the nephew of Mr Buy. My dad’s line is dated and i must tuck it away for story-telling purposes only. So tomorrow I will wake up with fresh energy and must decide if I want to go visit the Lighting show room in the Bowery (a two hour jaunt) or spend a few more hours trying to reach someone on the phone, or I can continue to stare at the exposed wires and find some modern meaning in all this mess. I will let you know which comes first -an epiphany or a working fan.

  5. Ann Buckley /

    Poor girl. Sorry your flips flopped. Will you divulge the brand?

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