All I can say today is “Bad, bad Crate & Barrel!”
I finally got around to thumbing through my current issue of Better Homes & Gardens (taking time to leaf through a magazine, oblivious to all that surrounds me is a luxurious indulgence for me) and I saw something I simply HAD to have.
It was called “Melamine Tiffin Box” and it’s a neat stack of food containers with a metal locking strap that doubles as a carrying mechanism. Alton Brown would love it (actually, he probably already has at least one of the stainless steel kinds…apparently the idea originated in India, where workers could bring their hot lunch with them to the jobsite and the hot stuff stayed hot and the cold stuff stayed cold.)
How delightful! I thought. This will be perfect for picnics, camping, festivals and more. I think I was even envisioning one to easily transport my various beadworking supplies to and fro the bead store when I go on one of my pendulum-making rampages.
And the good folks at Better Homes & Gardens (like most good magazines) always tell you the MFRP and where to buy such delights. I literally tore the page from the magazine and walked it over to my computer to purchase such a nifty contraption.
But alas, “no items match that description” according to the Crate & Barrel website.
Hmmm, maybe it’s an in-store only item, I thought (despite the fact that BH&G even listed “crateandbarrel.com” as the place to buy the item.
And then I noticed there on the Crate & Barrel website, where it says “all of our in-store items are available online.”
So much for that theory.
I tried every possible combination…I spelled it differently, searched “tiffin” “melamine” and “stacking” all separately, but to no avail.
Then I turned to my trusty friend Google. I found an image of the exact same item with a glowing customer review. I used that link to go straight to (so I thought) the item on Crateandbarrel.com but alas, I got the dreaded “item not found” message again.
Seriously, what the hell is wrong with these people? BH&G distributes more than 7.6 million copies of its magazine each month, and it’s the 3rd largest magazine in paid circulation in the U.S.
Now, I’m not knocking them for NOT having the item. This magazine arrived in my mailbox weeks ago and I just got around to looking at it today. So I couldn’t really bark at anyone except myself if they were SOLD OUT of it.
But what’s got me steamed is that there is absolutely ZERO information about it on crateandbarrel.com
Not, sorry that item is “no longer” available — not “backordered” — not nuthin. It’s like it never existed at all.
And a magazine is no small feat to produce, I’m sure. I couldn’t even blame the folks at BH&G if they had made a typo and the item was just available elsewhere.
But I googled this thing and I can only find similar items (at much higher prices, btw…which isn’t a dealbreaker IMHO, but I’d much prefer to order online from someone I’ve heard of — i.e., CrateAndBarrel.com — vs. someone called “India Imports Inc” or some such thing.)
I think this is a major marketing faux pas (and a HUGE missed opportunity) on the part of C&B.
So there’s my rant for the day. And do yourself a favor — DON’T make the same mistake. If you get major publicity that you simply can’t handle, can’t deliver on, or can’t keep the supply up with the demand for — then for pete’s sake, tell your customers what happened (here’s a hint, start with “Due to the overwhelming demand for…”) and OFFER THEM A SUBSTITUTION TO BUY.
If you go search crateandbarrel.com (at least, as of today’s date), you won’t find anything even remotely similar to the item I was looking for.
Not only are they leaving me disgruntled and in the dark, but they are leaving me NO CHOICE to buy from them.
And I’m sure I’m not the only one.
Too bad so sad Crate & Barrel. OK, now I’m off to fill out a comment on the BH&G site, I’ll bet they can find me a replacement from a reputable vendor…