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

567 Replies
keychange said

Daniel Scott, that was actually a really helpful post, and gave me a perspective I neglected to consider. I think it’s not the accidental overpour that upsets many of us; it’s that it seems to be a trend. Certainly I expect mistakes to be made here and there, but when it happens often enough so as to become a trend (at least as noticed by steepsterites), it stops seeming like an accident, especially when paired with reports of overly pushy employees. But yes, I can see how meticulous pouring could also lead to frustrated customers.

cuppaT said

Daniel states “People who get upset about over pour are the extreme minority.” My guess is that he is basing this on those who throw a hissy fit at the counter as opposed to those who simply never return to the store.

Pandeme said

I can’t help but compare it to my experiences with other stores as well, like David’s Tea. They always get my orders in store spot on, and quickly. If they do go over its usually minimal, for example once they got it to 51grams and asked if that was okay instead of 50. So I can’t help but feel like Teavanna does do it on purpose when they are the only place I’ve had it happen to me in such excess. But again -that’s totally just based off of my own personal experiences.

The problem is that it IS company policy to train employees to overpour on purpose and lie about health benefits of tea, and that not following these dishonest rules would lead to serious consequences. I was being trained on this and a few other dirty tactics and I inevitably quit the job before I even started working. It’s no trend, it’s mandatory.

Obviously, I don’t know who might be boycotting the store. But I can read facial expressions. I will note that I don’t think my location tends to egregiously over-pour (I really don’t think it makes sales), and I cannot control what other locations do.

There are a LOT of people on these threads who get upset about being over-poured even slightly. I kinda get it, because I tend to be one of those customers more than an easy-going one. I drink a lot of tea, so I know exactly what I want. If you’re that customer, you need to be clear about it. I have been to another tea store and been over-poured on every single tea I bought, which upset me a lot when I realized it – especially when I saw that the difference in price was an entire other tea. But I made the mistake of not watching them scoop it. I know from experience that the associate probably figured I wouldn’t care, because 99% of customers don’t care about a small over-pour, and laugh at me when I ask them if it’s okay. As customers who are that picky, we are vanishingly rare.

OMGsrsly said

Daniel, in Canada at least they are legally required to get verbal confirmation that it is OK. In a deli, if they slice 208g instead of 200g, they have to ask if it’s OK before packaging it up for you. I looked it up. :)

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What great stories! Now I want to lose my Teavana store virginity so that I, too, can kiss and tell!

keychange said

Yes, please report back after the teavana virginity loss!

I too am feeling a little left out by seeing this thread keep popping up. I just wish there was a local tea shop in my area to visit… Pushy or not.. At least a place to visit.

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Yvonne said

I’ve always found going into my local Teavana that the associates are anything but pushy – actually, it always seems like they could care less that I’m there. The employees also always look like they themselves don’t want to be there. Only once have I ever been pounced on and that was when I was visiting a different location.

As for the overpouring…personally I haven’t noticed any, although I do remember the first time I went about a year ago to buy my very first tea the employee tried to push an overpriced tin on me saying that my tea will turn rancid after so many weeks unless I keep it in one. (And I know for certain now that that’s garbage, as I still have some of that tea and it still tastes wonderful despite no tin.)

But, eh…quite honestly I do think Davids makes a better product overall, so that’s where I’d rather do my tea shopping. I enjoy Teavana but it’s often hit or miss.

VariaTEA said

They tell you that in their bags, the tea only last 2 weeks and the minimum you need to buy is 50 g. Plus their prices are exceptionally high. So they make you buy a lot of their expensive tea and then don’t even give you the proper means of storing it. Such a money-gauging policy. I also had the tins pushed on me and when I suggested to my mom that we just buy tins at DAVIDs because they were cheaper, the lady started saying how I should never shop at DAVIDs and blah, blah, blah.

That was just one of many things I disliked about my visit to the store so now if I want anything from Teavana, I just order it online.

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keychange said

Wow, the sales person outright suggested you not shop at David’s? that just looks so desperate and petty.

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On a semi related note (related because it has to do with Teavana’s sales tactics)…
While on reddit, I discovered that Teavana is offering a new yellow tea for a limited time.
Has anyone seen their new Golden Dragon Yellow Tea in person? Online, it doesn’t look like a yellow tea at all. Maybe in person it looks greener?
http://www.teavana.com/the-teas/yellow-teas/p/golden-dragon-yellow-tea
I also find it strange that they wouldn’t say where in China the tea is from. Perhaps, they are claiming it is a yellow tea to be able to mark it up?

Brent said

Could very well be a yellow tea. There’s really quite a range of oxidation. If I had to guess, I’d say this is a Wanxi yellow big tea, which is oxidized for several days. Or, maybe a Guangdong da ye qing. But, it’s pretty clearly a lower grade (big leaf) tea, which makes it overpriced. This is about what I’d expect to pay for a Junshan silver needle or similar grade tea.

Thank you for this! I was not familiar with yellow teas that undergo that level of oxidation. To be very honest, with the pricing, that is why I immediately assumed it was not a yellow tea. It looked nothing like the lightly oxidized yellows I am used to (like Yinzhen and the Huangya teas).

Brent said

Yeah, I’m not as well-versed in yellow teas as I should be. But, the Wanxi yellow big is repeatedly heated, then set out to oxidize for up to a week before being baked to stop the oxidation. The flavour isn’t what you’d expect in a yellow tea – rather strong and lacking subtlety.

I’m not at all sure that’s what this is. These were just the two yellow teas that came to mind that don’t have that needle look, and which tend toward this green-grey color.

AnnaEA select said

I picked up some of this – I don’t know anything about yellow tea in general, but it made a nice cuppa, supported a few resteeps, and is a pretty leaf. Huge and lightweight. I don’t regret the purchase, though I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it again.

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Okay, I know this thread is mainly for in-person visits to the store but my recent online order annoyed me so much that I decided to write about my experience.

I shopped at their online store because of the Heavenly Sale 75% off. I ordered 6 teas and 2 tins. That was on the 3rd of January. It took them 10 days to ship it (No kidding!). Now, I understand there was a sale going on, and bad weather, too. But 10 days??? When I asked them about it through e-mail after 7 days from ordering they blamed it on UPS and the weather ;)

So, okay, they finally shipped it and I got it today. And surprise, surprise! No tins and only 4 teas out of the 6 I ordered. They billed me accordingly, so everything’s okay there (at least), but there was no e-mail or anything warning me that it might be the case, not even any generic “we apologize but we’ve run out of these items” message in the box, nothing. I am really upset about it because, to be honest, I was the most excited about these tins ;)

Oh well, all it means is that I’m done with Teavana for good and not even the next Heavenly Sale in 2015 is going to lure me in (Steepster, remember I said that! :D).

I was so worried for my order – order confirmation, shipping confirmation, it getting lost – because the comments on Facebook make me so anxious and the website once crashed on me, but it ended up being delivered in two days (lucky me…). When I made the order I promised myself that it’s not worth the anxiety anymore. That was my last one. I’m so done with them~

Yeah, it is definitely not worth it. I could have spent these ~$20 elsewhere and in return get top-notch service and teas.

Very true, though I do like their My Morning Mate. I had bought a birthday present for someone so I was even more worried :/

I got nailed with that too. Actually, my tea package came while I was on vacation so I opened it late. No tins.
Then another package came with 3 more teas (I then realized they didn’t ship all my teas, their packing slip is vague), still no tins. So I figure I got a 3rd package coming with my tins.

Only perk so far is I got 2 free samples, one with each package.

Ha! Perhaps, somehow, I will get the rest of my order one day ;D

Kamyria said

I find this pretty ridiculous. If there was not enough stock you should have been informed at the time of purchase. I can’t even imagine ordering something, being told is in stock and then not being sent these items and wondering when they will be shipped. Very bad business practice. Thank you for the heads up guys… seems to be happening to multiple people … I will never order anything from Teavana online.

I know, right? This put me off Teavana as well. It’s not even the fact they don’t have something but the fact they said nothing about it ANYWHERE to me.

Right now I am actually pretty confused because a lot of people are getting their orders in a few shipments and I know that there are people who get their partial orders and their receipts said they were billed for everything. And I think that these are the ones who will get their stuff in a few shipments…

I, on the other hand, got only billed for what I received – the attached invoice claims so, then I am not sure if I am going to get the rest of my order… Which poses the question – why some people were chosen to receive the entire order, even if in increments, and why some were chosen to receive only half of theirs and that’s that? ;D

Cavocorax said

I’m having some issues too!

I ordered the 12 days of christmas sampler, as well as a few other teas. They sent me an email saying 2 of the teas were backordered, and then shipped the 2 that were not. Nowhere does it mention this 12 day sampler – either as backordered or shipped. It just fell off my order? And that’s a shame as it was the MAIN reason I placed my order! I’m going to email then with a copy of my original receipt to show that it was there. :|

Cavocorax said

I just sent an email requesting an update, as well as confirmation that I WILL get that 12 Days of Tea sampler.

It might take 2-3 days to get a reply as they are busier than normal. Ok, fine.

But, pro tip: DON’T advertise more crap in your automated support emails. I’m already upset with your company. Don’t shove your product down my throat.

When I log in and look at my order history, it shows the two teas that I didn’t get but it doesn’t show the tins that I ordered (and didn’t get). What a mess :D

I’m still waiting for the rest of my Teavana order. Any luck Kat Maria?

No… I don’t think I am going to get it :|

update – after 3 emails they finally responded saying the tins are discontinued and their system said I got them. Yeahhh no. They are willing to credit me or replace. I’d harass them more if you haven’t already. I figure I’m not ordering from them again.

That really sucks, Awkward Soul!

Since they haven’t billed me for the tins, I don’t really care anymore. I will definitely never get anything from Teavana again, it’s just not worth the trouble.

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keychange said

Kat_maria, that’s so disappointing. They should have sent a generic email saying certain items were out of stock or what have you, or even remedy the situation for everyone by having an option on the order page that asks you what you’d like to see happen if a certain tea/product isn’t available (although frankly I don’t know who would say they wouldn’t want to be told).

I know! I mean, I could really understand they ran out but it would be nice if they somehow informed me about it. Because the way they did it was more like “Here’s the things you’re getting and that’s it for you, get stuffed” ;D

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Gianna said

There are a couple of Teavana stores in my area. I know very well what people here mean about the “overpour.” It’s happened to me every time I shop there. It didn’t bother me much, but now I’ll think of it in a different way. The salespersons in these two locations are not pushy although at one of the stores they were a bit condescending (I guess I don’t exude a lot of consumer confidence or it was just the personality of this particular salesperson). Their samples are over-sweetened for my taste. I’ve never asked for or received samples from them.

Having said that, I have found that their flavored teas are really good. I’ve been on a shopping spree lately, ordering a lot of flavored teas online (not Teavana), and some—okay, many— have been a disappointment. I have several Teavana teas, like Cacao Mint, the Jasmine Pearls, Maharajah Chai Oolong plus a few others, and the scent and flavors are simply wonderful. I wish Teavana would start offering organic teas, though. After I read about the pesticides in their tea, I am not so eager to go back. Pesticides would be a more serious deterrent to me than the practices of their salespeople. (But, then, that would apply to other companies….)

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Ambelleina said

Here are the three reasons why I will no longer buy tea from Teavana (I still like the tins):

1. Mandatory overpour. You’re not kidding anyone.

2. Extremely pushy salespeople who incessantly try to sell me sugar, even as I’m telling them I don’t consume sugar.

3. Artificial flavoring in their teas. I’ve shopped at Teavana for years and just found this out a few months ago when I ordered blends online and they come with ingredients. Tea for health isn’t exactly healthy when chemical artificial crap is added.

I’ll still buy my tins/other “equipment” there, but I’ve signed off on buying tea from Teavana.

Chell said

(I work for Teavana)

- In my store, we give the customers what they want. We want to give the amount of tea that’s right for the customer. A lot of the associates really do have a hard time determining what 3oz is from 8oz, (each tea has a different density) so instead of over-pouring and tagging it with a bar code, the associate is supposed to ask if you wanted more or less; that way, we pour out tea until you’re satisfied with the price. The tea scale is kind of like a deli scale—you decide if you want more or less.

-Yes, for EVERY business, the associates are taught to upsell, but we definitely want our customers to leave happy. (It’s too bad for your local Teavana. Our store would never push sugar onto you if you’ve already told us you don’t use sweeteners).

-And lastly, yes, some of our flavored teas DO contain artificial flavoring, but being that the ingredients used to flavor our teas are not grown with the tea leaves and not a natural flavor of the tea leaves, we HAVE to list the flavors as artificial. But, all ingredients used to flavor the teas are obtained from natural sources. For example, if we wanted the tea to have a more vibrant and peachy flavor, we would add in natural flavors like plums or apples to brighten the peach flavor. So there aren’t chemicals or preservatives in our teas.

And of course, our pure teas (Silver Needle/Monkey Picked Oolong/Gyokuro Imperial/etc.) will always just be pure tea leaves. No artificial anything.

I hope some of this helps. I’m sorry to hear that your local Teavana kind of…sucks… So I don’t blame you for shopping elsewhere for tea. The customer should always come first. If you were in my Teavana store, you’d be treated respectfully and in a friendly manner. Our employees are sweet, kind, informative, and actually LISTEN to our customers.

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Brent said

I try to cut Teavana some slack. They serve a purpose, and I’m glad they exist. When selling tea, you have to decide who your customer is. If you cater to the connoisseur, you’re going to lose entry-level tea drinkers. Conversely, if you cater to newcomers, you won’t command much interest among experienced tea drinker. It is marketing suicide to try to be everything to everyone.

Teavana has made the decision to sell to newcomers and intermediates. They fill the gap between grocery store tea bags and what I would call “serious tea”. They are selling a low to mid-grade product with slick branding to appeal to consumers with enough disposable income to warrant spending a too much for what they get, and with not enough experience to know the difference.

When you shop at Teavana, you are buying, marketing, branding and convenience. These things cost money, and they are necessary if a company is going to do well selling to entry and mid-level tea drinkers.

The key element here is convenience. The fact is that you can go to your local mall (many people can), walk into your local Teavana, and buy something which you will take home today. Teavana did not expand into virtually every upscale mall in America without some aggressive tactics.

The mere fact that they exist everywhere should tell you that they probably run a pretty tight ship and are all about maximizing profit. Unfortunately, these are buy-products of this level of convenience, particularly with a company that has grown so fast:
- You will get the least expensive product possible sold to you at the greatest possible profit.
- Employees will be trained as inexpensively as possible (i.e. as little as possible).
- Company policies and procedures will emphasize profit over quality.
- The company will maximize profit up to the point that they believe any more would alienate customers and harm the bottom line. Rapid growth companies, like Teavana, tend to be too focused on growth, and only become aware of problems when it becomes too late.

And, the unfortunate truth is this:
Since Teavana’s demographic focuses on new and intermediate tea drinkers, they actually can assume customer turnover. They actually don’t need to be too worried about losing customers, since their business practices are strongly focused on recruiting new tea enthusiasts. They can actually be reasonably assured that once a person knows their tea, they won’t buy from Teavana anyway.

As a tea retailer, I am actually glad they exist. They do attract new people to specialty teas, and, ironically, do their part to create a steady stream of people who are hooked on tea, but who are dissatisfied with the big national McTea companies. It makes the job of catering to more discerning drinkers a much more viable business. And, since they tend to overprice their tea, it means that I don’t have to worry much about being undersold.

So, my take on Teavana is that you have to be aware of who you are dealing with. It’s Teavana – a mass-market company that has grown really aggressively. So, you kind of have to expect a certain amount of less-than-ideal service and quality. Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to tolerate it. There are plenty of alternatives.

Cheers.

PaddyB said

You, sir, made a really good point here! If I think about it, we have a tea store in Slovenia which functions quite the same. To be fair, they prices are low, their employees are well edjucated and kind, but the quality of their teas is so-so and they fill the “niche” described in your comment. If you want to dive into pu erh teas, all they can offer you is a generic weirdly smelling shu. But they do help to hook up new loose leaf tea drinkers, so that is really good, I suppose.

Kamyria said

I don’t think there is a single thing in this post that I don’t agree with. Brent, I think you’ve nailed it. Personally, I think I’ve outgrown Teavana and hearing of their poor customer service just solidifies my decision. I still pop into their store if I happen to be at the mall (which is very rarely anyways… lol I don’t like malls) because I love looking at the teas and tea related stuff. I only really keep them in the back of my mind for tea emergencies but I would never order from them online (and from some of the comments in this thread I see that is a great decision). I do have to say that they were the ones that opened the world of loose teas to me though. In their store I found that Silver Needle that I heard so much about but didn’t know who to order from online (yet). Overall, yes I’m glad they exist to fill that specific niche of the market but the more I hear about their business practices the more appalled I am. David’s Tea is in the malls as well and they have very different approach to their customers. There is a totally different vibe in their stores. They also have great online service.

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