Teavana -- If you don't want to buy something, too bad.
I almost smacked the Teavana lady when my girlfriend and I entered the shop yesterday and the cashier would not stop bugging us about products. We looked at cast iron teapots and suddenly she would not shut up. I can understand you may be in a quota and need to get some sales done, but most stores have someone that says “Can I help you find something..?” and then lets you be.
Is it just me, or does every Teavana do this? Furthermore, is it just this company alone or is it every other bulk tea store?
Lets take this to a test. Go into a bulk tea shop and see how many times the employees attempt to interact with you. Then go into a Teavana and do the same (be sure to bring a pen and paper, because it will be a big number).
I’ve never been to a Teavana store myself but I’ve heard a ton of bad things about then, both in the way they treat their employeees (which is REALLY bad voodoo for me) and in the way they deal with customers. And frankly there have been too many of these accounts from so many different people to dismiss them as just ‘bad luck’ or ‘disgruntled ex-employees’.
There’s a thread on Adagio’s TeaChat on the subject if anyone wants to have a look: http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=7509
Here is another account of the high-pressure sales practices at the store. Fairly recent, Summer, 2009
I’ve never had the chance to shop at one, they haven’t made it to where I live. Though, frankly, I’ve never been turned on by their marketing message – I’m actually put off a great deal by marketing tea as a health product.
We have a slogan on our site: Drinking tea for the health benefits is like having sex for the exercise. Kinda sums up my opinion about pushing tea by telling people its good for them.
Yes! Exactly! That is precisely how I feel about the matter. Good things shouldn’t be pushed on people for the health benefits. Rather, one should luxuriate in the sensual pleasures, especially those which have no significant downsides (like tea).
Teavana says their tea is “healthy”? What a joke! Taste their samples sometime; they are unusually sweet. All of them. This leads me to believe they either add something into their tea leaves to make it flavored, or they add some kind of sweetener to the brewed samples.
They sweeten their samples with that special rock sugar that they try to market as being somehow better than normal sugar.
I agree that drinking tea for the health benefits alone is not what tea is about. Having said that, I also understand using health benefits as a marketing strategy. To some first timers, health benefits may be an attractive point that sparks their interest in tea. Growing up, I hated vegetables but ate them anyway because my parents said they were good for me. As I grew older, I learned to love most vegetables and now I can’t get enough. I think the same could be true for tea and if someone begins drinking tea just for the health benefits and learns to love it for it’s taste, I fully support them.
I have a friend that works for Teavana. They do sweeten their samples with their german rock sugar. Sugar is sugar, and your body reacts to all sugars the same, but I’ve compared it to all other sweeteners and it is the only sweetener I’ve tried that only enhances the tea’s flavor without imparting it’s own flavor. So I do keep some around.
And in reply to that link – Oh man. I have read several accounts of Teavana “accidentally” pouring more tea than requested. The more and more you read, you start to wonder how can these all be “accidental” over-pours. Eek. Shady. :/
I agree Ashley. Now I’m not going to ask someone to pick out 4 tea leaves to get the exact ounceage I desire. But I’ve heard of some cases where 2oz was rounded up to 6… I don’t think so!
Because there are so many people (customers) in the Teavana I have visited most of the associates are behind the counter with the tea and dealing with those customers. There is a greeter but they aren’t too interactive…just says HI and that’s it…basically…
The experience in my “local” Teavana is similar to TeaEqualsBliss. The store is so busy that getting someone’s attention is pretty difficult (the nearest store is about an hour away, but we end up at that mall about once every month or two).
I was in a Boston suburb (forget which one) for a business trip some time ago and ended up in their mall twice that week, the Teavana was empty. I went once myself and then took a coworker once. The sales there were low-pressure and the store was empty and calm. I liked it, especially compared to my “home” store!
I had a decent experience at Teavana, they weren’t too pushy. My friend in Florida, though, came into the one by her and pointed at the reasonably priced Earl Grey she was looking for. The salesperson pretty much ignored this and pushed her into buying a much more expensive one, as well as buying a tin she didn’t need. She said she felt shamed into buying it. They must have been pretty intimidating, because she’s not easily sold on items. She’s ordering from online companies from now on.
Teavana is the only store in my general vicinity that sells anything besides Lipton, Tazo, Bigelow, etc. I’m pretty sure that commission is a large part of their paycheck. There’s this one transvestite that always pours in an ounce or two more than you ask for and says, “Is that alright?” like you’re actually going to say, “No, that’s not alright! Do it again!”, but I’m sure some people probably do. Though she is a little pushy about buying those $7 tins for everything, she’s alright. From what I’ve seen, the rest of the employees are consistently mild mannered and respectful.
to clarify: they do not receive commission. if the store does well enough during the month, employees occasionally receive a small bonus.
We receive 2% of our sales if we make a certain dollar amount per hour, averaged over a month. AGMs get .25% of the store’s sales if the store reaches its goal, plus 1% of his own sales if he reaches his. GMs receive 1% of the store’s sales if the entire store reaches a certain level, and many stores are 1,000,000+ a year. The goal varies by store.
I’ve never worried about it. I’ve found that forgetting about the sales aspect and just helping people find what they need have been my better days, both in how happy I am when I clock out and in the bonus check I get almost every month.
I remember going in once somewhat recently, and watching as an employee managed to convince a woman to buy a pound of a tea she had never tried – and a tin to go with it, in case she liked it and wanted to buy more.
I got familiar enough with the employees that they didn’t bother heckling me, and as the employees shifted over the years, I kept the attitude of non-naiveté and they don’t try too hard with me.
I have only been to the Teavana here once (so far, I plan to go again later this week). They were really helpful about our tea questions and informative, but not pushy. The tea guy told us about the buy more, get a bigger discount deal, but he let it go as soon as he finished. Also, was offered a tin, but it was no big deal when I said no thanks. I bought some brewed tea and some in a bag to make later. I liked it there, but one trip doesn’t always tell you the whole story.
O_O i found a Teavana near me in the mall that i have avoided for 3 years but couldnt find anything else to do with a friend and we were in the area…well we walked in and were swarmed by 2 employees this was VERY overwhelming for me so i had a sample and left. because of them acting like guard dogs they lost a sale because the sample of tea i had i would have bought…i may go back and stake out the store until its busy and run in and buy it or buy online.
The best way to deal with them is to go check out the tea wall on the website, pick a few you would like to try, and then strut in there like a regular who knows exactly what they’re doing, even if you aren’t and/or don’t. Be sure to grab one of the little catalog booklets on the way out. It’s a real time saver for this sort of thing.
:D Thank you!! ill have to try that out :) the mall does have a godiva in it too so i will be back there once i finish my tin of hot cocoa :p (another one of a vices!!)
i frequenlty wait until i have a large enough order to buy online, or do as suggested above and strut in with a specific list and fire it off "2 oz rooibos tropica, 1 pound rock sugar, 4 oz snow geisha, i already have the tins, thank you)
I hate to burst your Teavana bubble here, but dealing w/Teavana online is also a nightmare. There seems to be constant problems with trying to order on the website without any snafus. I was entitled to free shipping, based on the amount spent, and my current account wouldn’t show it, so I had to create an ADDITIONAL account. I first tried calling customer service, but I was on-hold for over 1/2 hour. I left a message on Teavana’s company voicemial…NO return call. I sent written messages on their website…NO response. I e-mailed customer servicece …NO reponse. I left a message on their voicemail…NO repsonse. One of the items I wanted to order was a tea that was on special (good discount), but since they never responded, the tea was no longer on sale. My second order, from the additional account I was forced to create, included a damaged item, 2 "out out-if-stock items that were suppose to be “in stock”, and NEITHER order contained the “free sample” as promised online and in their brochure. While “on hold” to speak to a customer service rep, the on-hold message offers (almost every minute) the ability to leave your phone number so a Teavana customer service rep can call you back. After 1-hour of holding, I decided to go with the offer (BUT had little faith that I would ACTUALLY receive a return call as nobody fron the company ever responded previously), but I attempted to do this, and was just disconnected. I’m fairly certain that had I remained holding all day, my call would have never been picked up. This company has HORRIBLE customer service!