Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Fresh From America's Heartland

"When did I first start shopping at Bath and Body Works?"

I get asked that question a lot. 
And I guess it started in the late 90's when I would have had the chance to get up to the mall after work.  It wasn't something I did back then as much as I do now, but things were also different then. 
The Bath and Body Works store was an incredible experience for the customers at that time. Sensory overload of sight, scent and sound.  From the quaint look of the tea stained cabinets with green trim work and the wicker baskets to place your items in to shop, to the fresh cut and weighed out wax paper wrapped bars of soap this brand knew all about merchandising, and you were drawn in and they were not letting you out until you had a bag of fragrance love in your hands.

In 1999, I remember the year because I would go shopping at the mall with my brother at Christmastime and we would shop around for gifts for everyone while trying to stay shopping on a budget. I was not so savvy then on the "How-to" use of coupons that you received in the store and the survey on your receipt.  I laugh when I look at those sales slips with the free item on it as the cheapest item.  But I didn't care...I didn't know any different and was so excited to know a store was giving away a free item. And the items purchased then that I have bring a smile to my face still.

And the years would pass and the love of the Brand grew and slowly...still slowly...my collection did too.

When I started visiting more malls out of the area I would see the differences from one store to another and found my favorite of stores and visited them more regularly.  I still didn't know a whole heck of a lot but gradually through the kindness of the then decent...(then decent) sales associates and managers I found out plenty of the inner workings of the store, the behind the scenes if you will.  And with my weekly trips they all got to know me.

The store out of town that just recently closed was the one I spent the most in at that time.  My sister was employed in the hotel behind the mall and we would meet every weekend for coffee and lunch and walk the mall catching up on our lives.  I shared my love of fragrance with her and it became our fun place to visit together.  When other family would join us at this mall for events, we would all walk and shop and I would get teased over my addiction.  Teased that is until they found something they too loved and requested it as a gift.

Sadly, and unexpectedly the manager was let go for personal reasons and another took over. That seemed to be the beginning of the end for the enjoyment at this store.  But it wasn't only there that change happened; locally the manager was changed out as well and when you once had an enjoyable visit when the girls (and guys) would dote on you by sharing the newest of lotions and potions with genuine excitement -- now you're met with gloom...and doom.  How can you work for a brand that has lotions and scents and wax and walk around constantly saying, " I don't use this stuff, I have (insert weekly health issue) blah blah blah.  Misery. 

I would shop and ask for whatever it was I knew was out and would be met with..."I don't know, I really don't like these products."
Hmmm.  Okay.

The other workers followed their leaders lead...but when the companies pressure "to make their day" sales wise grew so great, they would sell whatever they could to do so.
And so would one other store further out of town.

I would walk in and be greeted, (as they should, I mean how hard is hello) and I would be asked what I was looking for and then I would be shown what was new.

Back to Locally... still difficult...and let me just say... going into a store to by a candle should NOT bring on anxiety because you don't know what mood the manager and a few of her staff are going to be in. Take a pill and do your job already. And stop screaming at me. Especially in front of others.  I will not take it.  {I did say no one knows all that goes on behind my writings}.

I have family if I want drama...I don't need it where I am spending hundreds of dollars!
And all of this is going on as I am blogging.  The stores don't yet know ...no one knew... no one I mean other than the company.  Because they had begun calling me.  Drama, drama drama. 

It was at the time others who shared info couldn't control their jealously and decided to try at every turn to screw me over both by themselves as well as enlisting their friends help.
A nightmare...nightmare.  I had bull crap online to deal with with the constant harassment.  I had bull crap in the stores to deal with. I had bull crap at home to deal with because of the two previous.

I was in the stores...all three of them one day, when the call came to each.  I guess it took that long to figure out which ones to call but I remember I was checking out and the manager answering the phone was talking and I could hear her side and it was about ME!

Not me by name at this store...just some devil called to tell her that her staff was feeding a blogger info (certainly not true)  and it was being shared on the blog and she needed to address it.  She was furious, and because she was checking me out, she told me some of what was said. I left there shaken that this jerk would stoop so low to call my store in my STATE  but when I thought about how low they have already behaved, it was just their head popping up from a poo pile.  I came home and blogged about the incident and later got an email that the same thing happened to her.  

I go to the second store and this time...they named me.  Little did they know how close a friend I was to this store and a worker told the person they don't discuss those kinds of things on the phone for them to call customer service... I was standing there.

The jealously drama online continued for a time.  I had no plans on going anywhere.  I do the work, I share the work. If you don't like it... Don't like it.  But don't push my buttons because I learned to push back. And push back I did.

The random nonsense from others continued...of course, it still continues.  If I don't get miserable comments calling me names publicly, I get that trash sent to me in a direct message, or a private message...or now in an email.  Fun.

If I don't get someone sharing Porn Penis photos shared on my Facebook page because they are so immature they can't control themselves I wonder where everyone is. 

My first was from a community member who thought I should hold candles she wanted for two weeks while she purchased other peoples and when I declined I was given the penis award.... ( according to my husband).  He was NOT impressed....and has not been for sometime.  As I have written one time previous, I hear often (daily) he wants to toss the computer out of the window and end all of this....because I don't deserve all that has happened.

This past week, I was awarded again when some guy decided to come on the Facebook page and tell workers not to comment on my postings, blah blah blah and before I banned him I checked out who and where he was as I never heard from him before.  Sadly he decided to retaliate with his troll page and post filthy comments, and penis pictures all over all of the comments everyone shared that he could get to before I got to ban that page as well and delete the filth.  Too bad when he came to the blog page he didn't think about his IP address showing...when he started with the name calling there.  Dumb Dumb. 

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over again
and expecting a different outcome.

Okay where was I.... yes.  A bit of time passed and there was another changing of the guard store wise, so to speak.  You would think for the better.  It was not.  What was that saying...the devil you know versus the devil you don't.
Apparently the Blogger cat is way out of the bag and now I am persona non grata and treated like a pile of poo in one store. Not much better in the other.
If they aren't trying bull crap that the survey coupons are no longer valid (because they are trying to make their sales quota and think I don't know better)  and try...try to give it back... the management tries the loud talking ( Hello, I am not hard of hearing...indoor voice please ) at the register to humiliate you with the long SAS line behind you that they want the original receipt attached or they aren't taking the survey coupon because people are counterfeiting them.
Sure they are.

Okay, make up your mind.  Which is it because that guy standing off to the side is going to lose his temper if y'all don't stop with the nonsense at me. I had to call...customer service to be sure the surveys are still accepted... who told me of course you can use that coupon and NO you don't need the entire receipt.  { I have every receipt from every purchase made...all neat and orderly...and yes I did go and staple some to the coordinating survey just in case } and they gave me a Reference number if needed in a store with a problem... and gave them, the store doing it,  a call.  How do you think that all worked out?

Not even a hello.  I get walked past when I enter as if I am not there, and ignored if I am looking for an item and ask for help.  One girl in the store out of town will go and help me but the management is the worst case of --you wouldn't believe the behavior if you don't see it for yourself -- and they shouldn't work their if they can't treat everyone with respect.  I'm hurt first, because I love this brand and support it soooo much and disappointed next.  Then mad as hell.  And again, daily I hear " for the amount of money you spend there to be treated like that !!!" And he is RIGHT!
He has eyes...he comes in and sees it for himself. In disbelief.

And I go back.

This post, was brought on by a continuing problem that it would seem no amount of talking to management or customer service or district managers or regional managers will fix.  When a worker cannot control themselves enough to NOT insult the customer they know since the 90's (worse now since it is known all I know and what I share) and the managers feeling on it is: 
"that's how she is...she's like that with everyone even coworkers...and I say, that may be fine for all of you but I as a customer DON'T need it...And I get a shrug.  A Shrug.
Or she was part of the team when I got here...that I have to ask aren't you the manager?  It's not good.
I feel like I am watching a parent making excuses for a child that needs guidance and no one wants to say a word. 

I am left to feel that they truly don't want me there shopping...with many reasons I don't need to list.

And I go back.

Recently, in a store with other customers present I was yelled at over taking a photo of the Live Love Lake candle.  I was at the counter being taken care of by the manager when said employee came out from the back and as I greeted her while snapping the pic at the counter in front of the manager my name was called and I was yelled at asking what was I doing.  I said taking a pic of the new candle and then was scolded that I was not allowed to take pictures.  That the mall police will be called and my phone will be taken from me. Can you imagine my husbands face when all of this was happening?

If you read me y'all kinda see I do take pictures. For years. I take pictures of everything everywhere...for my own reasons....and not just at the mall. In an age of social media everything and sharing of everything, EVERYONE DOES!!!  People take pics in Bath and Body Works Stores and even VIDEOS... LOOK AT INSTAGRAM, Facebook, and Twitter for goodness sake.
Little girls do it on a Friday Night and us big girls do it too. I am not the only one ever taking a picture in there.  Employees are doing it and posting it to THEIR FACEBOOK pages...including this stores workers. 

I mean I am standing there and snapped it in front of the manager who knows me.  You cannot take me to the side and feed me some line of bull crap that I can't do that with some silly reason?  English is my first language. I will understand.  Nope, you let her do what she does.  And then you tell me, " I have learned to PICK my BATTLES with you." 

What the hell does that mean and what planet am I on?  Am I being punked because I am about to puke from all of this craziness on a Friday Night. Chest Pains.

Battles?  If you call draining my bank account on this stuff from Supporting your store {so you can tell me how your getting your bonuses}..a battle then lady we are at WAR! 

Everyone in the store sees that I do snap a picture and NO ONE EVER SAID A WORD. They are standing next to me, behind me....you get the idea.  PLUS a VP I spoke with from corporate ( not customer service) told me I could and share them as long as I am not in the stores back rooms doing so....but on this day, this worker who hates me in front of her boss did was she always does with me...
Company policy regarding photos is NONE PERMITTED.  I get that. 

 Loss prevention whatever.  I don't need to take the photo. (even though I am told when I do get one to share it on my FB page to support this store).  Ya, talk about a double standard.

The Mall Policy has a sign at the door along with 12 other things about mall conduct : no photos, right next to the huge children's play yard where every day, all day long Mom's and Dad's are snapping pictures and videos of their kids.... while the mall police lean and talk to one another.
They were doing it as all of this was happening in the store as I can see it through the windows thinking what started this.

But then let's not forget there is the Employees Handbook of ethics fresh from January 2017 that states the Employees are NOT TO stop customers from picture taking.

We all saw all of those Fall Test Candles pictures ALL OVER social media....right? Okay so the companies steadfast hard copy, write down some stuff so if it ever comes up we can say here it is you can't do it is No Photos in the store Rule.  Make sure you enforce it in ALL of the stores. Or don't. 
Or I may think...different rules for different people?  They have no idea how many others locally are sharing Photos from the store.  I know because I recognize the store when I see them.
And you think telling me the mall police are going to be called to take my phone is ... what....Happiness.?  I had to laugh thinking this can't be serious...but she was.  By the way we know the mall guards and two minutes prior I was hugging one.  Again, no one could come over and say in a lower voice I have to ask you not to...

What has happened to Bath and Body Works?  Has the drive to be sales lead blurred the lines of human compassion and respect?  Has the need to meet sales goals mean at any cost, even your own dignity?  Where is the charm from years gone by gone?  When did the excitement for the brand die that all that is left are employees scared they will lose their job, but not scared enough to be genuine and kind?

I question everything.  And Understand nothing.

Photo Above:
One of my favorites purchased so many years ago it still is scented.
I am not saying this is everywhere in all stores.  I am only stating what I see where I go and how I am treated. I am not sure if it because it is known now that I do blog and share Bath and Body Works information but it saddens me of my experiences.
I know the kindness of strangers who come to my facebook page appreciative of the information I share and that is what drives me to not give up. But some days the pressures are overwhelming...

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