Sunday, November 21, 2010

Lesson Learned {boots and boutiques}

So this past year, we have had to learn many new financial lessons. The economic downturn has affected our income immensely. Rising costs, teacher furloughs, real estate market tank, etc., all affecting us directly. It has been quite hard to have to be mindful of our spending, and to not spend at all.

We have cut back so much, until there is really nothing left to cut. I work a second job, clip coupons, and work every deal I can find, but it just doesn't end. This summer, I became REAL frustrated at working so hard, cutting out everything, and still never getting anywhere. It was hard to watch my "facebook friends" off on vacations and exciting adventures, when all we could do was stay home. I am happy my friends are successful, and I don't feel that I sit in envy of them, it was just hard to see all of the fun things they were doing with their families while I felt my children were being slighted by my struggles and failures.

During this time of total frustration, I decided to start allowing myself a "treat" purchase once a month, out of my second job pay. Why? I don't know! But still, I was sick of never having anything and I thought I deserved something for all of my hard work.

In August, I ordered a pair of boots from a local boutique. This boutique is a high-end store, which is very popular. Many of my friends like shopping there. In this economy, I have NO business shopping there - but it was my treat, right?

They didn't have my size in stock, so I paid the $90 and change and was told they were already on order and would be in by the end of September. Perfect - just in time for cooler weather.
September rolled around. I had heard nothing from the boutique, so I popped in. Sadly, I was told by the salesgirl that the boots would not be in until the end of October. I was real disappointed. My treat had cost me a lot on my budget. I was still struggling to make ends meet and had $90 invested in...nothing.

October arrived. I dropped in the boutique again. The salesgirl told me the boots would not arrive until the end of the first week in November. I was real, real disappointed. Worse, I felt so guilty for buying them in the first place. My power bill was off the charts, I could barely pay it, and had $90 tied up in boots I didn't even own (or need). What a "treat".

Finally, November came. On Friday, at the end of the first week of November, I dropped in the boutique. I knew this was the final straw. I asked the sweet salesgirl if the boots were in. Again, she said they weren't and that she was sorry. I noticed the store owner sitting on the couch in the store listening. I looked at the salesgirl and said, "I just want to get my money back then, please. This has gone on long enough." She looked over at the owner, who spoke up and said, "Sure, we can give you a store credit."

I am sorry - a store credit? For what? I didn't ever get anything to get credit for.

Still pleasant, I said, "No, I don't think you understand. I never owned anything." As she got up and walked toward me, I relayed the whole story about the boots, and the monthly visits, and so on. Surely she knew that they had ordered these boots, and that they had never come in.
And then, it happened. I could not have been more shocked when she looked at me and said, "We would have NEVER told you that!"

I could not believe what I was hearing. I could not not even think of a response. After all I had been through, the store owner is now calling me a liar on top of it!

Trying to remain calm, and tactful, I said, "I am sorry you feel that way, but I was told all of those things just as I told them to you." Again, she rudely snapped at me and said, "We would have NEVER told you that. We ALWAYS knew the boots were coming in November."

Oh really? So did your salesgirls just lie to me to make a sale? What is going on here?

Now, at this point, the sweet salesgirl was standing behind me. She wasn't saying a word, and I was not about to point the finger at her or throw her under the bus, although she had indeed told me those things. She and other salesgirls.

I decided to bite my tongue and remain calm. This store owner was rude, and out of line, but I needed her to give me my money back. It was VERY hard to humble myself before such a rude person, but somehow, I did it.

I looked her in the eye and said, "I do not want a store credit." She looked back at me and haughtily said, "I will give you your money back, but I KNOW we NEVER told you that!" And with that she marched around the counter and began typing my receipt information in the computer.

Now, I am not sure what prompted her next behavior. At this point, she began to LOUDLY say, "I am sorry that happened to you!" in a weird fake high-pitched tone. Was she trying to smooth the situation in front of other customers? Did she see my purchase history in her computer and realize I had been a loyal shopper? Or was she just well aware of my anger at this point, and taunting me with passive-aggressive comments?

No matter. I decided to look at my wallet and not at her until that money was back in my account. THEN, I was gonna let that "witch" have it.

In case you don't know me, let me just say, I may be a lot of things, but I am NOT a liar. I took REAL offense to that.

She continued in her weird fake high-pitched voice remarking that she could not read the numbers on my card. I read them plainly to her, but still would not look up, and finally, the transaction was over. I signed the slip and knew the $90 and change was safely back in my account. She said in her high-pitched fake voice, "Have a great day!"

I was ready to tear into her and let her know exactly how I felt about the way she treated me, I wanted her to KNOW that I had told the EXACT truth and didn't she know ANYthing about customer service and retail ethics, etc., but, the weirdest thing of all happened...I just turned around and walked out. I didn't say a word.

If you know me, you can pick your jaw up off of the floor. Seriously, I just left. I was MAD. I was HURT. But, I just left.

This girl was the store owner. She is wealthy. She has plenty of wealthy customers in this town. She obviously does not need or want my business, and could have cared less about anything I had to say. Why make myself look like a crazy person?

And so it got me to thinking. Why in the world would I spend my hard earned money to send people like her on fabulous trips and vacations? No, lesson learned. All of my money will now go toward sending MY family on vacations.

In retrospect, I know both God and Satan had a hand in this. Satan was loving the fact that I was selling out to people like her. He wanted me to suffer in the constant guilt for buying these boots, and then have to crawl to this rude girl to beg for my money back....and let me just add, it would have gone on longer, as the boots are still not in, and it is now almost the end of November. I have recently noticed several other customers posting to facebook wondering where their boots are at.

But also, God had a word or two for me. He gave me the strength to keep my cool, remain polite, and most of all keep my mouth SHUT so I could get my money back. I also think he sent me on a little trip later that day. When I left the boutique, I remembered that Brodie had been asking me for new running shoes. He had been seeing commercials for Sketchers and was really wanting a pair (yes, he is only 4). I decided that I was taking that $90 and getting my boys some new shoes.

I drove on over to the Shoe Dept. and found some Sketchers for Brodie and some New Balance sneakers for Blayd. Both were on sale. By the counter, there were some black ladies boots on sale - cheap. I grabbed them. I laid the three boxes of shoes on the counter and the nice lady rang up my purchase - $90 and some change. I looked down at the counter and saw three pairs of shoes for my family - three pairs for the same price of the 1 pair of boots at the boutique. I looked up and smiled, "Lesson learned, Lord. Lesson learned."


  1. Beautifully written Kerri, and after I did indeed pick my jaw up off the floor, I smiled because you gave her back something money can't buy - kindness! Sara xoxo

  2. I know exactly the store, but that wasn't the point of your post. I actually enjoyed reading how you realized the boutique isn't worth the drama. I often laugh (but more in shock) at how crazy everyone in town just flocks to this store and throws money at them. I do think their items are pretty, but I guess I'm too frugal to fall for it. I actually look at the pictures to get ideas, then find similar styles at Steinmart, Target, etc.

    I enjoyed reading your perspective and think I'll keep my distance from "that" store.


Kerri says:

Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts! I LOVE reading your comments.

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