For all the times bad customer service makes for an easy and entertaining blog post (here, and here), I am always trepidatious of boasting of good customer service. But alas, I’m on a high this year, and I can tell you with completely honesty, my glowing personality in the check out line is not responsible here.
It started with Totsy.
It continues with Harris Teeter, who, just this week, offered to push–and then watch–my child and my groceries over to the drive through area while I got my car, so I could avoid soaking both in a downpour. Much like the carline at school, I pulled in, and with the click of exactly two buttons on my sweet mini-van, both groceries and child were safely buckled in place.
Then, of course, there has been the most recent Stride Rite surprise. The replacement shoes showed up on my doorstep yesterday. Even so, I fancied myself handy with needle and thread and managed to repair the original broken shoe. So now, Eliott, the shoe destructor, has two pair to rotate between. Perhaps by the end of the season next year, she will not resemble a kid whose mom only shops at garage sales for shoes.
But the best customer service surprise this year has actually come from a very unlikely source. Unlikely, for a number of reasons.
It started one lazy day in July. I was wearing my most-complimented grey and white maternity sun-dress, a $7 clearance find from the summer of 2009, that I purchased as a transitional piece but never wore because it, logically, made me still look pregnant even after Carter was born. I probably wore the thing three times a week all summer.
I was preparing dinner, something as simple as rice and beans I’m sure. Certainly nothing that required sautéing or even the opening of a bottle of olive oil. So it was a little more than shocking when John looked over at me and asked, “Honey, what’s all over your dress? It looks like you spilled something, or rubbed up against something oily. It’s all under your left boob.” I immediately brought my hand to the spot, and he was right, it was definitely oil.
“I don’t know. I’m not even using oil tonight,” I said, sniffing then directly sticking my now oily fingers into my mouth.
It didn’t taste like anything.
If you know me, you know that nothing sets off my anxiety alarm quicker than stains in clothes. Unlike my mother, who can bippity-bobbity-boo stains out of absolutely anything, I have neither inherited nor mastered the art of laundry renewal. Because of this, both my three year old and my dropsy-hands-budha-belly-pregnant-self wear bibs at dinner. In fact, I put an apron on at about five o’clock every night and it stays on until the entire kitchen is cleaned.
Starting to panic, I threw my boob in John’s face and yelled, “Smell me! What does it smell like?!”
“It smells like clothes, honey. I think it might be coming from the inside.”
Good thing we weren’t expecting dinner guests, because I then ripped the dress off over my head to discover that the entire left side of my body was covered in the shiny stuff. Now treating it as if it might be delayed reaction acid that would begin to burn at any moment, I started that cautious kind of movement like a person navigating his way through a dark tunnel.
“I think this WonderBra might be leaking.” I said with finality, and went to look at myself in front of a mirror.
Here is the part where I need to pause and explain the reason behind wearing a gel filled WonderBra in the middle of pregnancy.
I’m going to try to be as delicate and ladylike as possible, in the face of writing about women’s intimates. First, in the two years it takes to gestate, birth, then feed a newborn baby, my boobs might fluctuate through three to four entire cup sizes. And this happens, seriously, about as quickly as you can blow up an air mattress and then deflate it again. After two children, I own clothes and underwear in just about every single size under the sun. Many of these articles of clothing are purchased with the help of my fairy godmother, who believes that when something is on sale, you need two or three of every color. As a result, I have more than a few plastic bins of brand new looking clothing, ready for their two-week usefulness in the time of pregnancy and breastfeeding (when my body is both the biggest it has ever been, and then the smallest).
The WonderBra, ironically, was one such purchase. It may sound odd to the men who only know WonderBra’s from the commercials and catalogues that resemble Victoria’s Secret style soft-porn, but this brand, and this particular bra, happens to be one of the more comfortable and supportive bras I own.
And physically, the thing does not resemble something you might be forced to wear after a major surgery. This is a bonus.
I admit, I was unaware the secret to this WonderBra’s success was a gel-filled pad. I mean, I realized the thing weighed more than your average piece of underwear, but I never really took the time to question nor examine the materials.
Until that day. In July. When said materials were running down my ribs.
There was a visible lopsidedness to the thing, and I knew I had found the source of the stain.
After taking some Palmolive dish soap to the dress and then laundering it immediately and hanging it to dry, I could still detect a dark spot. I know it was a cheap dress. I realize that this was one of my one-season wonders that was quickly approaching retirement anyway. But I just wasn’t ready to say goodbye, not like this.
So I got online and found a form. An input your questions/complaints/other form on the WonderBra website. You better believe this was a shot in the dark and I seriously assumed I’d be doing some Googling and phone-calling shortly thereafter.
Once again, in under five-hundred characters, I managed to verbally elicit an email response within twenty-four hours of pressing submit.
I was sent an apology email with a quick list of questions and instructions. I answered all the questions, followed all the instructions, and in less than ten days, a check from Hanes Inc. arrived for $29.99 to cover the cost of the bra. Also inclosed was a pre-paid mailing label, to send the dress and the bra, postage paid, to the company for “further review.”
This week, another check for $29.99 came with my name on it. This one, to replace the dress.
I’ve been thinking that as long as Victoria continues to allow zit-faced fifteen year old boys to sulk behind their would-be teenage girlfriends in her retail stores throughout the country, I need to find another outlet that meets my mammary needs. I believe WonderBra just sealed the deal.