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Teavana -- If you don't want to buy something, too bad.

510 Replies

I’ve been reading these posts for a while and had to sign up and add in my two cents. I can absolutely understand where everyone is coming from (the company I work for has very similar sales tactics) however, I’ve been in the store a few time and have not had an issue with pushy people. I’m from New York and my trips to the store are always around christmas time, a would be high-sales-pitch time of the year, i would think. I can tell from most of the experiences that it’s most likely the store itself, as it’s always filled with happy customers.

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I’ve been reading a lot of these posts and have to whole-heartedly agree with the “ex” Teavana Salespeople. I’ve had an affinity for loose leaf teas of all sorts almost all my life and have worked retail for a few years, but I’m not the kind of person to push products on people; much less sell products that I do not fully believe in (some of teavana’s teas). I have an interview with my local Teavana on Tuesday but I’m not sure if I should cancel it altogether or ask for a position like a barista. As a lover of tea I would find it most difficult to be a salesperson as implied above, and it goes against my sales knowledge and experience. Any tips or suggestions and possibly info about their baristas?

I don’t have time for a full reply on my phone, but you should know that the baristas while they do make the samples and customer drinks, are mostly stock people, working in the back room, unloading shipments and what not. A baristas job gets really hectic around the holidays, some stores (at least used to) stop making drinks right around Christmas and I doubt they would hire a new barista for the holidays, unless the position just became vacant. They would most likely hire you to be on the sales floor sampling and selling merchandise then passing the customers off to the tea counter. Most of the seasonal people didn’t like how they were treated, but this was two years ago at just one store. Good luck in whatever decision you make.

Thanks for the info. Ive done a lot of “back room” work so I doubt anything here will be too crazy. I just hope that they have a spot available because sales would demoralize me and waste my time.

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When I go to Teavana…. It is not a happy experience. EVER! The sales people drive me crazy! When you finally select a tea and say you want 2 oz of it, they pour 3 or 4 oz and say, “Is this amount ok?”
You shouldn’t have anxiety about walking into a tea shop! UGH!

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Teavana is the epitomy of the americanization of tea

Over priced tea
Tins that you have to have
Expensive pots you don’t even need

And the general public buy into this nonsense believing everything they are told. Then Starbucks wades in and buys it

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Ha next time I’m in the states that might just be my tactic too

I give tea a shelf life of about a year, everyone I’ve bought from usually suggests that too as a best before date. Maybe there is something in there tins that makes it miraculously last longer

This company really annoys me that it sucks in a gullible public into buying overpriced low quality tea. God forbid they ever step foot in the UK they would get slaughtered

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cuppaT said

Their Cool Touch stainless steel tea infusers are wonderful; they even keep rooibus from escaping. That’s about it, though…

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Kat said

Since I like some of Teavana’s teas, I go into the store sometimes. I’ve found that if I don’t take samples, and order right away with exactly what I want and how much I want, they usually leave me alone. Some of the sales people are actually pretty great and knowledgable, and sometimes they will give you advice that is actually good for you as an individual.

However, the commission issue and sales goals are a problem. I don’t mind the sales people being pushy if they know what they are talking about and offer me good suggestions and good advice (at least I don’t mind that as much.) But once I was in there, and every suggestion the girl made sounded like she was reciting information directly from the website. (I remember thinking: I’ve been on your website, and every fact you are telling me about this tea, including the way it tastes, is pulled from there.) I didn’t feel like she had tried any of the tea or knew anything about tea. (She tried to sell me one of the cast iron pots, and she clearly did not know why one would want to use a tetsubin at all. Instead of talking about the way it regulates temperature and keeps tea warm, she kept harking on the symbolic significance of the symbols, but she didn’t even know that. She said the elephant pot meant wisdom, which I don’t believe is the case.)

I’ve also found to never let them talk to you about teaware or water temperature. If they ask you how you brew your tea, be really curt and say something like—I have a kettle with customizable temperature settings and I always double check with a tea thermometer.

If the person treats me well, understands my price point, and offers me suggestions that sound personal and informed by knowledge of tea and having actually tasted enough of it to have built up a palate, I’m more likely to buy tea that day, maybe even a bit more than I went into the store for. If the person is spouting crap at me, I’ll just leave without buying anything.

I wish the store in general had a better focus on costumers and education and also hiring people that know and love tea. I don’t know why they favor hiring sales people over tea drinkers. I can’t believe people who don’t love tea are good at selling tea.

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I’m just thinking what would happen if you went in Whittards and they poured more in and tried flogging you pots and tins.

Its like buying from HMV and then finding a nice little indie record shop around the corner

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Kat said

The cast iron pot pushing is ridiculous. Whenever it happens, I’m like—really? You expect me to spend 120$ more than I would spend? You think I have that kind of money to drop without intention?

I’m very surprised that selling tactic works ever. There’s a difference between going in for a few ounces of tea and going in asking for help buying an upscale pot. I had one of the attendants try to sell me the Breville One Touch Tea Maker, which don’t get me wrong, I’d love to own. But it retails at 250$, and the idea of someone trying to sell me something so expensive when I went in to spend under 30$ in the store was baffling. It was like they expected me to have no sense and a huge disposable income. But even someone with a whole lot of money would think twice before dropping 250$ on an appliance they didn’t set out to buy.

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I actually had a (probably not so) surprisingly nice trip to Teavana today. And I didn’t even buy any tea. Close to the end of the day, store was empty and I really wanted the purple cast iron teapot they had (saw it online). If you come in knowing what you want, and emitting an aura of such (and it doesn’t hurt that my normal face expression when I’m not currently engaged in an actual emotion is (I’m told) a scowl)). Probably helped meet this guy’s daily quota or something but we had a super nice conversation about tea in general and cast iron in particular.

Kat said

My only halfway decent Black Friday experience was at Teavana, so it’s not always bad. It was a similar situation. I went in, knew what I wanted, and chatted to the sales girl about how bad the rest of the mall was. It was quiet and warm in there, and while they were busy, it wasn’t horrible, and even though they were busy, the sales people were kind and gracious and willing to chat since I was obviously there to well…hide.

I’ve noticed though that the Teavana near me here is much better than my old location near my parents’ house. I think location and the kind of cliental really changes the feeling in the store. (The one near my parents’ is always a really scarily hard sell.)

Which pot did you buy, may I ask? I really want a cast iron pot, and I’m totally jealous.

Kat said

It’s a pretty color! I like the spout on it as well.

The purple is what sold me. I’d never really NEEDED a cast iron pot before I saw this purple one.

I just took a look at your pot—it’s gorgeous!!!!

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