October 11, 2012

The Little Purse That Could

This is the story of a purse.  I've never owned a purse that cost more than $100 dollars.  Most of my purses have come from TJ Maxx & Urban Outfitters.  And these purses have served me well.  Until now.  Now I have the kind of job where I need to present myself in a certain way.  I also carry a fair amount of Apple products on my person every day as I travel around the state & I need a purse that can hold all of these devices, plus all my other important stuff.  You know, like lipstick.

Back in the summer, I was complaining about how all of my purses were breaking from the weight of my iPad.  I know, my life is so hard, y'all.  And my sweet, sweet husband offered to buy me a purse.  He preferred that it be leather, that it be a legit brand with a good history & that I carry it as long as it takes him to forget how much it cost.

I won't bore you with an entire paragraph of other purses I looked at, but I was looking at purses & not being all that knocked out with any of them, when a friend told me about The Cambridge Satchel Company.  Knowing the way to my heart, she said, "These are what all the girls in NYC are carrying right now."  Sold!

John agrees that this is the purse for me.  These purses are sold stateside in cities like NYC, but the easiest way to get the one I wanted was to order directly from Cambridge.  In what should have been a huge red flag, it took 2 weeks to get a response from Cambridge about sizes, returns, shipping, etc.

So I order a purse, nay a satchel, this satchel.  And I wait.  Eventually I got an email saying that my order has been received & that it would take approximately 30 working days to hand-make my purse.  Once it was made, I would receive another email with shipping & tracking information.  Now is probably a good time to mention that Cambridge insists you ship via Fed Ex.  Though it was expensive, this gave me some peace of mind because it's Fed Ex.  Clearly, they know what they're doing, right?

I ordered the purse on August 29th.  On September 19th, a mere 15 "working days" later, I receive an email from Cambridge saying that my purse is finished & is en route via Fed Ex.  Oh, happy day!  I track it & it was scheduled to arrive on September 27th.  I make all these calendar reminders & harass John to keep going outside to see if my purse is sitting on the front porch.  Alas, it is not.

At this point, if you follow me on Facebook, then you know what happened.  When my purse didn't arrive, I was looking at the tracking info online when a co-worker noticed that the destination address said, "Nashville IL".  Hmm, okay, my purse is in Illinois.  That's fixable.  I'll just call Fed Ex.  As most of you know, "Nashville IL" wasn't Illinois.  No, "IL" is the country code for Israel.  My purse was in Israel.  Come to find out (I know so much about Fed Ex now) Fed Ex ships by zip code & 37209 is a zip code in Israel.  Of course it is.

Fed Ex, at this point, not knowing what went wrong or who's fault it is, apologizes & says they'll re-route the package to me & that I will receive it in a few days.  Well, a few days come & go & still no purse.  I call Fed Ex again.  This time I'm told the package is stuck in Israel because it's mislabeled & Fed Ex can't get it back through US Customs.  They tell me all they can do is return it to sender & then Cambridge, who allegedly mislabeled the package in the first place, will have to put a new (read: correct) label on it & re-send it to me, which will take who knows how long.

I email Cambridge to relay all of this to them & to ask that they please overnight the purse to me as soon as they receive it, which Fed Ex offered to do for free.  I may have also requested that they get my country code correct this time...  Two days later Cambridge responds.  All they say is that they did nothing wrong & all of this is Fed Ex's fault.  At this point, it's well past a week when my purse should have arrived & the company who caused this fiasco A) took two days to respond, B) didn't apologize & C) offered no remedy to the situation.

I call Fed Ex for a third time & tell them that Cambridge is blaming Fed Ex.  Fed Ex READS ME THE TRANSCRIPT of the phone call they had with Cambridge the day before.  The phone call where Cambridge acknowledges they mislabeled the package & asks Fed Ex to return the package to them.

I email Cambridge again.  No response.  So I take it to the internet.  I tweet them.  No response.  I copy & paste parts of my email exchange with them on their Facebook wall.  I had a response within half an hour.  Finally, they apologize & they offer to do whatever it takes to get me my purse, including refunding me whatever I paid in shipping.  They say that my purse is currently in Germany, but is en route to them in the UK & that as soon as they get it, they'll overnight it to me.  They said I would receive it by the end of this week.

Hilariously, a day later I receive another email from Cambridge, which was a response to my initial email that they never responded to.  Apparently there's no internal communication between their customer service & social media departments.

The next day, the day after Cambridge told me my purse was en route to them from Germany & would get here in about a week, my iPhone rings & it's a call from Memphis, TN.  Out of fear that it was Ophelia, I almost didn't answer it.  It was Fed Ex calling to verify my address.  They said my purse would arrive the next day, but I didn't believe them.  I assumed my purse would arrive sometime in the next week, but not the next day.  I mean, my purse was still Germany, right?

Fed Ex wins.  My purse arrived the next day.  Y'all, that box looked like it had been to hell & back.  The picture doesn't do it justice.  But my purse was tucked inside unscathed, a testament to Cambridge's quality of leather.  Customer service, not so much.  Craftmanship, yes.

I love this purse.  It's perfect & it's exactly what I wanted.  Now that I've seen it in person, there's a HUGE difference between the Cambridge satchel & the Steve Madden knock-off at Nordstrom.  It doesn't even compare.  Also, this purse will probably last me the rest of my life.

What's sad is that my excitement over this purse is overshadowed by the NIGHTMARE that is Cambridge Satchel Company's customer service.  I will never order anything from this company again.  It's a shame that a company with such a great product isn't staffed with employees that work to make your experience with them a pleasurable, or even satisfactory, one.

Disclaimer:  I've been warned against publishing this post because so many companies are suing people who leave bad reviews for them online.  Here's what I have to say about that:  A) this is a personal blog, not Yelp, B) all of this actually happened & can be backed up by emails & screen shots; C) what happened to me was probably a perfect storm of everyone involved making a mistake, but when put all together, created a disaster for me.  I love this purse, but if I ever want another one, I will go to a city where they are sold & buy one from a department store.


Sarah said...

So I've told you've I wanted one of these. Maybe I will get one when I am Seattle next week. I also told my mom at the beginning of the summer I wanted one, but wasn't sure about the price. She sent me the link to the Steve Madden Nordstrom one offering it as an alternative. I looked at it in the store and decided it was not worth the $100 or so they were charging for it and I would eventually buy the Cambridge one.

Does John have any single brothers or friends who share his same views on quality products, especially purses??? (It should be known, I rarely spend money on my purses, but I have inherited some pretty amazing bags from my mom who has no problem dropping coin on a purse.)

The Blonde Mule said...

Sarah - you should totally get one! They're so awesome & totally your style. But yeah, get one state-side, FO SHO!

Ha! Sadly, no, John doesn't have a brother, but I think most guys could get behind a purse made by a British company that specializes in leather goods. I think...


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