Teavana -- If you don't want to buy something, too bad.
Since this came up, I want to post a recent online experience with Teavana. I had an issue with my shopping cart on their website, and I called, and was put on hold for 15 minutes (I write down the time when I go on hold just in case I need documentation later). I then opted to leave a callback number, and shockingly, I got a call within ten minutes. Although I still don’t know why it wouldn’t allow me to check out while logged in with own account, I worked around it on my own, with a little creative end user engineering (for some reason it allowed me to check out as an anonymous customer). When I called I simply wanted to verify the order went through, and it turns out it did; Although I was afraid they would later email me telling me that one of the teas was ‘out of stock’, all of the items are currently being shipped. Although I know some have not had pleasant experiences ordering with them, I am grateful that, in the end at least, it always seems to work out for me, and I wanted to log it as such.
Ah, but you see, they didn’t have your money yet. Of course they’ll help for that! It’s after you’ve paid that they’re going to screw you over. grumblegrumblebitterbitter
aisling of tea: I just updated my original reply (I was in the middle of eating when I posted originally, and now I am finished eating).
It turns out, my CC transaction went through before I called. This is my fourth online transaction with them in about 12 months, and with the exception of a few things that weren’t perfect, things generally worked out (meaning, I eventually got the things I ordered, for a price I was happy with). Granted, I haven’t ordered anything breakable. I really don’t think large companies do things to get at someone (another words, I don’t think it is personal), I see it more as poor, or at the very least, imperfect customer service. There are always going to be problems; I think the thing with them is that they don’t seem to be very good at handling the problems once they happen. I have worked for a number of restaurants, for example, and some were better at making the customer happy than others when things do end up going wrong.
The reality is, I don’t expect good customer service from Teavana. Which means I am taking a risk when I order from them, and I know that. If I can get pretty good tea for great prices during these sales, than it is worth the risk for me. Still, Teavana clearly has lots of work to do in the customer service department, which means that they are far from my go-to online tea retailer. I certainly understand your frustration with them, though. It is your choice, and your right, to be angry with them. I don’t know about you, but try as I might, I don’t seem to be able to avoid situations that I will sometimes choose to become angry over. When it happens, it’s a matter of what to do with all of that energy. I can use it destructively or constructively. This is a recent revelation for me. How I use the anger constructively is to do something to try to affect some change toward what I want. Writing a review, or a letter, or doing something like this can influence the change I want to happen.
I invite you to review them and write tell us there what you think of them (and don’t hold back). You opinion matters, and that is one way to make it matter. : )
Oh geez, of course it’s not a personal slight, I know that. It just amuses me that you have no trouble reaching them before payment, but the rest of us who need CS after we’ve paid receive no help at all. You have to admit, your somewhat positive experience is a rarity when it comes to this company. Frankly, there is nothing this company could do at this point that could make me want to try their teaware or nasty teas again. I’m glad it’s worth the risk to you, but as far as I’ve seen, they haven’t screwed you out of any money. Your opinion may change when that happens. As far as I’m concerned they are thieves and crooks, and I want nothing to do with them, and I’m making sure my friends and family and fully informed before they consider ordering with them.
Anyway. To each their own, and I’m glad you’ve had positive(ish) experiences with them.
I started to add to my original post, then chose to newly post this.
I want to state up front that I decided to write and post this out of my own desire to ‘speak out’ about things that are important to me. IF you do not want to read it, or respond, THEN no harm done. : – )
I certainly understand your frustration with Teavana. It is your choice, and your right, to be angry with them. I don’t know about you, but try as I might I don’t seem to be able to avoid situations that I will sometimes choose to become angry over. When I do get angry, for me it’s then a matter of what to do with all of that energy. The way I see it, I can use it destructively or constructively (This is, admittedly, a recent revelation for me). In my experience, letting the anger stew and fester, and then making angry comments to others whenever the topic comes up does little to advance my own happiness (it may feel good at the moment, but I often feel shameful for having said what I said, especially when I realized what I said changes nothing). However, doing something constructive like writing a letter to the ‘powers that be’, or writing a review that I believe others will see, helps me. Why? First off, I feel HEARD by someone with the authority to do something about it. Secondly, because something actually may get done about it. Now, whether or not someone actually ‘does something’ is out of my control, so my goal once I speak up or send the letter or write the review is to let the outcome go. Still, sometimes, I get an outcome that advances my happiness (gets me what I want). And if nothing comes of it, well, at least I felt heard.
Of course, one other approach is to do nothing, hoping the whole thing will go away (just don’t think about it, right?). However, for me it never just ‘goes away’, UNLESS I make some kind of effort towards forgiving the party that I feel offended me or harmed me. This can REALLY help to tie up the loose end, and enable me to truly let it go, and move on (which for you may mean NEVER ordering from Teavana again). You can do both: you can never order form them again, AND forgive them for what happened (and believe me, your NOT forgiving them does not hurt them, anyway, it’s just hurts yourself, for carrying around all of that anger isn’t very fun is it?). That way you can truly move on. I know you can because I have; and if I can, so can you.
So, as I mentioned earlier, if you are so inclined, I invite you to review them and tell what you think of them (and be honest). Just after writing this post, and before posting it, I checked Teavana’s Online Place and I see that you review them! How great that you spoke up! I included a few links below, too. The more people speak up, the more likely it is something will get done about it (just as the more that people write reviews for any one particular tea, the more likely it is they will buy it and drink it, or stay away from it). It’s not a form of control (which is an illusion, anyway), but it is a form of influence, and even influence can be very powerful. I respect what you have to say, and I feel your opinion matters (just as I know mine does, too.); and from my perspective, writing a review in a place where others can easily see it at some later date is one constructive way to use all of that energy, and to make it matter.
You could also write a letter and send it to Teavana’s corporate offices (yes, I mean snail mail). It’s kind of annoying that they don’t post the physical location for their headquarters on their website, which means I had to search for it on the web, but I finally found what seems to be their address: 3630 Peachtree Rd., NE Suite 1480 Atlanta, GA 30326. My understanding is, corporations see letters from others as representing the experiences MANY others who choose not to write (because it takes time and energy to sit down and write something). So they tend to take letters very seriously (I’m not sure about e-mail, though, because it’s easier to send it). Again, you may not get what you want, but then at least you’ll be heard (even with an e-mail. I see in your review you got no response via email, that is why I included the links below). Admittedly, I am one of those who tends to speak up. Sometimes, nothing comes of it. And yet sometimes, I get what I wanted by stepping boldly into my power and speaking up (and sometimes I even get more then I asked for).
Here’s their ‘Tell us your opinion’ link: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s.aspx?sm=i4m2beTTTIsC5PHrQZCopQ_3d_3d).
And here’s their ‘Contact Us’ link: http://www.teavana.com/contact-us.
I invite you to tell them what you think!
In the end, it’s your life, not mine, or Teavana’s or anyone else’s. So, what do you want (to do)? : – )
I don’t even know how to begin to respond to this condescending comment, so I’ll just leave it.
I am honestly at a loss if you find what I posted as condescending. That was not how it was intended at all. Still, it’s your choice to leave it, or to tell me what you found as condescending.
aisling of tea: I invite you to read the following only if you choose to, otherwise, feel free to skip it (and I realize you may not even be reading this). Whatever you chose to do is OK with me; either way, I won’t take offense. : – )
In looking back at my post, I wish to amend one paragraph (while still leaving the original paragraph in that post intact), and add one final invitation. Admittedly, when I feel wronged, my shadow wants to hold onto the anger towards the offending party, hoping it will somehow make the ‘wrong’ right again. In your writing about your feelings towards your recent experience with Teavana, I saw myself, in you. I was hoping you would be open to a suggestion, based on my own personal experiences, but I judge I poorly chose my words to attempt to convey this. I should not have used ‘you’ in the following but rather kept the focus on me, as I amend below.
Of course, one other approach is to do nothing, hoping my anger will simply go away. However, for me it never just ‘goes away’, UNLESS I make some kind of effort towards forgiving the party that I feel offended me or harmed me. This REALLY helps me to tie up the loose ends so-to-speak, by enabling me to truly let the anger go. For in my experience, I have come to realize that my choice to not forgive those whom I feel harmed me, or wronged me, does me no good; it only hurts me even more, as choosing to hold onto all of that anger only makes me bitter and resentful. When I forgive, it frees me up to move on. I have already made the choice to forgive myself for all of my past wrongs. I invite you to forgive Teavana, and to forgive me for what you feel I have done to you.
Apparently I don’t even have to respond to get another reply. I’d love to leave this thread behind and not deal with it anymore, but since you keep replying and it keeps showing up in my e-mail and my notices, I’ll try again.
Do not judge me. There are a lot of judgements and a lot of assumptions made in your replies here. I did not ask for your help or guidance and frankly, they are unwelcome. I’d love to let go of my anger, but you continue to reply and multiply that anger. If I want to be angry at Teavana, that is my own business. That is my right.
So if you want to think you’re the better person and so wonderful and forgiving of all ills, please feel free to do so. It has absolutely no effect on me. But I’m begging you here. Please just leave me alone. I don’t want your help, and I don’t need your help and frankly, I’m tired of constantly being reprimanded by you like I’m a child who has done something naughty.
I ordered, several times, a bunch of teas and tins when they had their big sale too and did not have a single problem. I’ve never called in for customer service, so perhaps I’ve just been lucky with them.
I went into one once because I had some time to kill, and I regretted it. The guy followed me OUT of the store. I just wanted to look at the teapots & see what they had, and he would not stop asking me questions and handing me booklets about teas. I was the only one in there & I’m pretty sure it’s because he scared everyone else out of the store.
Know what you want and don’t be persuaded to buy something you don’t want or need. With that said, I walked into Teavana, picked out an bought the single cup infuser. The whole time they tried to sell me on their Iron Teapot, their metal cups, their German Rock Sugar, and of course their teas.
I tell them I use porcelain cups and mugs. They tell me you can never fully get rid of the taste especially from strong scented teas unless you use metal teacups. I tell them I use different cups for the different types of teas that I drink and I tend to stay away from heavily scented teas. They say their pure rock sugar is great for tea. I tell them I purchase Ultra Refined Sugar from Japan and use only a quarter teaspoon when I want to sweeten my tea. They tell me they have the best Darjeelings money can buy. I ask them if they have Castleton FF SFTGFOP1 DJ5 or Namring SFTGFOP1 DJ1. They say no.
By that time, my wife is walking out the Victoria Secrets shop across the path, my time is up, it is time for me to purchase the infuser, and walk out of the store.
What a great play-by-play! I really like the last one, calling them on their, “We have the best Blah-blah-blah.” It would be great to follow up their answer of , “No”, with another question: “Really?! You don’t? Well, why on earth not?”
The way I look at anyone trying to sell me something is, I don’t have to answer their questions. Of course, asking them questions that they will struggle to answer, or will inevitably answer, “No” to, also seems to help keep them off my back.
BTW, the cool touch tea strainer/infuser that I bought that day from Teavana is a very well crafted product. Impressive. As for teas, I will stay with the ridiculously expensive Ultra Premium FF Darjeelings from Mariage Freres. Find me a tea shop that offers the body, taste, quality, aroma of the Ultra Premium MF FF Darjeelings and i would gladly jump ship. Thunderbolt, Upton, Brooke Bond, Marine de Bourbon, Lupicia, Fauchon, Fortnum & Mason, etc., all have nice teas yet pale in comparison when it comes to FF Darjeelings from MF.
Teavana does not allow returns from their online shop, even if they are brand new/never opened. I accidentally forgot to turn off my Tea-on-Time (auto-delivery) and received several pouches I know I won’t be able to get to for a while. So I contacted them via email. Never received a reply – no shock there. I went to my local B&M store and was informed they don’t consider returning ANY tea and/or sugar/honey, etc. I can understand (maybe) if it was already portioned out into a tin or one of their flimsy little bags. But these were sealed!
Meanwhile, I had to send back some teas from Adagio (sealed as well). The return was no issue at all. They received the return within a few days and credited my account promptly.
I would give Adagio one point and Teavana no points, but at this point (har-har, sorry for the pun), Teavana is rapidly earning negative points…
I’ve heard before about their no return policy. Davids Tea allows returns of any tea, opened or otherwise, even if you just don’t like it. It seems like most of the big guys EXCEPT Teavana allow returns.
KeenTeaThyme: Wow. Thanks for the comparison of return policies between Teavana and Adagio. I really don’t understand why Teavana won’t take back sealed packages. If they choose not to resell it, then they could just eat the cost in the hopes of keeping a customer. And I agree with Uniquity that it seems most of the big companies (not just tea, but food and other perishable item vendors, too) have reasonable return policies.
Does anyone else in this thread find it highly ironic that they constantly try to sell tea as “healthy” but then try to shove sugar in your basket? >: / They always look at me like a crazy person when I say that I take my tea plain.
Very good point! I was wondering myself why they don’t offer some kind of healthier sweetner, like Stevia or agave, or even honey.
They actually have honey; good stuff at that (Savannah Bee Co. which I love) but it’s never been really talked abt. to me by the staff. The price might also throw people off in comparison to the rock sugar. The Tulepo honey is $19.99 and the sugar is $8 a pound. They also always act like their teas are “better” or “incomplete” with/without sugar; which is not something I would be broadcasting!
is sugar really unhealthy even in small amounts? I use about 1/4tsp of sugar per 400ml of tea. I feel this small amount brings out more flavor of the tea, especially in FF Darjeelings. Mariage Freres sells the own branded sugar for their teas. 5.5 Euros per 300g. I buy the highly refined large granulated sugar available at most large supermarkets in Japan. As for Japanese Green, Oolong, and Rooibos, I drink these plain without any sugar.
I get that same incredulous look when I used to order tea without sugar at the local bodega. In fact, they add the sugar by default and the few times I forgot to tell them I don’t want sugar, I’m surprised by a mouthful of syrup. It seems that we non-sugar tea drinkers are the minority here, which explains why Teavana employees are surprised that you don’t sweeten your tea.
Also, I’m not sure how their German rock sugar is different from Sugar in the Raw, which you can get much cheaper in the supermarket. As far as I know, both are simply unprocessed cane sugar. Thoughts?
Funny thing about rock sugar. While I was in Germany, it was advertised as British, and while I was in Britain, I only ever saw white sugar in use. What is the true source of unprocessed rock sugar?
Excelsior, the only reason I brought it up is they use and promote more sugar use than just 1/4 tsp. I don’t think I’d shell out extra money for “special” sugar if I was only using it for tea and in such a small quantity. I really don’t think some sugar is going to kill a person. But I personally avoid it in tea b/c I know I eat it in fruit and such and recently I realized that even though I wasn’t drinking soda or eating sweets I was eating more sugar than I probably should.
On the contrary. I use special sugar and pay a premium on the price since I’m only using small amounts at a time. I buy 1 kg of sugar each year when I am in Japan. The 1 kg will last me 800-1000 cups of tea. Since my wife and I both drink tea, that is enough to last about one year. It would not make sense to use premium sugar by the tablespoon or ounce. I would be spending more and would be constantly buying more sugar.
Sorry. Off topic so i will end my replies here.
teavana is not terrible for pure leaf teas… i stay away from their crazy mixes though… never been to a store but my experience shopping online hasnt been bad!
My first experience at Teavana was pretty awful – the same pushy stuff others have mentioned. I had to look the salesman in the eye and tell him to back off. Still got the rock sugar pressure at checkout, but one pointed look from me shut him up again. ;)
Now, the most recent time I went was with my brother. He had purchased a tea pot for his girlfriend, and we were back to get matching cups for her. The salesman was polite and helpful, but left us to do our thing. When we checked out, he wrapped the cups in two separate gift boxes for us so that we could gift them separately, which was a nice touch. We got offered multiple add-ons at checkout (poor guy rattled them off like he knew he had to but didn’t really want to engage in the pressure tactics), but he made it easy to smile and say “no, thank you.” I’m more inclined to return now, but their prices are steep compared to my usual local haunts…
Thank you for sharing the positive experience. Teavana’s not ALLLLLL bad, after all. I’ve had a few relatively pleasant experiences myself.
Looking a salesperson in the eye and saying, ‘No,’ or, ‘No, but thank you just the same,’ seems to work for me too.
Reading some of the more recent posts to this thread have made me quite sad. I was quite familiar with SpecialTeas, which was bought by (?) or which assimilated into the beast that is Teavana … and I really have nothing but good to say about the customer service from SpecialTeas. They have always been very kind on the telephone and prompt with their shipping (exception: once, right around the holidays, when they happened to be sold out of the teapot I wanted, but it was on back order, and they held my order – at my request – until the teapot had been restocked … this added maybe 2 weeks onto my receipt time, but I was OK with it because I had requested being put on back-order status). Reading that Teavana had not adopted SpecialTeas customer service practices sadden me.
Hey, new person here! And…this is the first thread I post in, geeze. I work for Teavana on a very part time basis, and…
I’ve been told (considering the sales process we’re forced to go through), quite frankly, that if I don’t have someone walking out on me at some point, I’m not doing it right.
Yup. That being said, I try to personally be chill and help whoever I can with whatever seems best for them. I dunno what to say—maybe try calling a local-ish store? The brick and mortar places can take orders just as well as the website, and you might have a bit more luck dealing with an actual humanthing on the line? Then again, all the from-store shipping is actually from a central warehouse now…
Sigh. So many changes in the last six months…
“Honestly, we make enough money that it doesn’t matter that people walk out. "
Well, that’s what my manager told me after he’d moved on to another store. timeskips, one thing you must realise as a salesperson and a tea enthusiast is that our sales process assumes we are tea enthusiasts. It doesn’t come across as a sales pitch when we’re sincere about it. I honestly love my cast iron (collection is up to eleven now. Bought a few non-iwachu and non-wazuku teapots, and I’m not impressed.) and I do buy tea by the lb. It’s all in how you present it. I laugh about the sales process with longtime tea drinkers, but I still show cast iron and sample them teas, and still show them a pound of tea, while laughing about it with them. I then pour down to two ounces of whatever they want, and usually they enjoy the experince enough they come back in. It’s an in-joke I have with some of my regulars, who just come in and buy 2-4 oz. of lower end teas. 1. The managers see I’m following thier process. 2. The customer feels like they are understood, they’re having a good time, and feel comfortable in thier Teavana Experience 3. I get to take home a bonus check more often than my coworkers.
There’s also a way to sell without being pushy. I’ve worked for two years at teavana, and only had one complaint about my being pushy. (It was an off day, I had a headache, and the woman had this misconception that somehow, tea was jesus’s elixir.) I recommend reading the One Minute Salesperson. There’s a way to read people to do it right, and if you don’t have that gift… don’t work in retail. The way we’re pressured right now to hire people in as fast as we can, (what with our huge growth and everything) we tend to hire in a big bushel and throw out the rotten apples. If it’s not for you, that’s your call. That said, I think everyone can do it, it’s a matter of finding a balance where you can sell, and feel comfortable with it, and make the customer feel comfortable, too.
And sometimes, they do buy a pound when they realise they can sample eight of our teas and essentially get one for free. (2oz. times 8 teas yields 16 oz. due to price variance, usually they get 2-4 ounces of tea for free.)
As for the shipping issue, you can still ship from the store. The big cheese realised that they screwed up the stupid shipping thing. Big. So ship from your store!
““Honestly, we make enough money that it doesn’t matter that people walk out. "" That literally made me a little ill to read. It should matter. It should always matter when people choose not to buy a product because of you behavior. If I was a regular and the salepeople continued to pushily try to upsell me every time, I would find somewhere else to shop. Teavana’s teas are not so amazing that they cannot be matched or surpassed elsewhere.
I hate that you get a bonus check for selling teas. It should not in any way be commission-based and it just makes the pushier people pushier while the poor souls who aren’t willing to annoy their customers don’t make as much money and that’s not fair. In my current job, I was working at a location where they asked me to do a lot of upselling about products I don’t believe in. I eventually asked them to move me to another location where the pressure to sell isn’t as high. I don’t have the heart to try and convince people to spend their money on a product that is just as good as the product found and cheaper and less pushy locations.
You say you’ve only had one complaint, but what about all the people who just walked out without buying anything and didn’t bother to expend the energy to complain? I know that our local Teavana wannabe, Teaopia gets just as pushy, and I just walk out. I can’t really stand to be in the store for very long.
It’s obvious you have a passion for tea, but it really reads like you have more of a passion for Teavana.
I’m almost eager for Teavana to open here in Canada, because I don’t think they’ll have a leg to stand on. With Davids popping up everywhere and Teaopia and all kinds of local shops, Teavana’s pushy sales tactics will make them an outcast real quick.
My brother lives in New York and has easy access to a Teavana. He went once, felt screwed out of his money and time, felt pressured to buy things he didn’t want or need, and now he comes to see me in Toronto and does his tea shopping here or he orders online from Davids.
The icing on the cake for me was when we ordered from the Heavenly Sale, received broken and missing product and had to wait two months to get any kind of reply. Then we were sent a “gift” of two crappy teas in a cheap tin with a note thanking us for our kind words about the company. It wasn’t even an apology for screwing us over. Never again. Teavana teas have no place in our home, and I’ve since gotten rid of everything I purchased from them.
Teavana is a poor example of what the tea world should be.
I’m going to restrain myself from replying to some of the things said here, but Aisling, I could not agree with you more. I finally put in my two weeks notice last week and even trying to be as chill and non-pushy as possible, I still have people who turn toe when I start talking about cast-iron (and I do love it). I used to get compliments (usually from other sales people) that I was a great/natural sales woman, I could be an AGM at my pick of stores right now, but lately I just feel ill thinking about work. I won’t be purging their tea, tins, or tea ware from our house, but I’m sorry that some feel the need to do so. I’m not apologizing for the company, I only worked there just shy of a year, but I won’t defend them either.
Autumn, that’s the point I reached with my current job, so I definitely feel your pain. I’m glad you’re able to put in your notice and hope you can find a job you love!
Sooo…I work at one of those soap-and-lotion stores. I won’t say which one, but anyone vaguely familiar with them might be able to guess when I say I’ve heard us compared to Teavana multiple times. A comparison which has really made me cringe… I see where it’s coming from, because the store I work for is indeed high sales pressure. But I don’t think we’re quite as bad. Certainly most of the people who leave us for other jobs don’t endlessly bad-mouth us once they’re gone, and we’ve had more than one person change their mind and come back.
The “hound people until some are ready to leave” thing in particular really blows my mind. At my store, we do try to avoid that by communicating with each other via walkie-talkie which customers have been spoken with (so they don’t get approached repeatedly in a short time span) and which ones have communicated (verbally or non-verbally) that they want to be left alone to quietly shop. If someone outright complains to us about our approach, that’s pretty much a red alert on the walkie, because it means we’ve already really screwed up and are probably losing sales we could have kept if we’d given more space to the customers that wanted it.
If you’re working for a store that doesn’t care if people walk out, that seems to tell me that you’re working under the assumption that you’re going to be making large individual sales frequently enough to absorb the loss of someone walking out…or a ridiculous number of smaller sales (think fast food). The latter can’t be true, because there’s not enough public interest in tea. The former…there’s no way that should be happening in consumable products unless you’re either catering or essentially scamming people.
Also, I wanted to add that I’ve absolutely never had a problem at my local Teaopia. If anything, they’re less pushy than my local David’s (although sometimes it’s actually hard to get served at Teaopia, so that’s the flip side). I’m absolutely crushed Teavana bought them out.
My, that’s what I get for not checking my spam filter.
Please don’t get me wrong, xhado, I love what we sell. I’ve gotten my cast iron teapot, my Zojirushi, and I have tins of tea coming out of my ears. I just don’t particularly like how we operate sometimes and can definitely see where people come from when they say that Teavana salespeople are pushy.
…as for everything else, it’s late and my brain isn’t kicked into any kind of gear. Perhaps tomorrow I can manage more of a response.
“Honestly, we make enough money that it doesn’t matter that people walk out. "
That’s ridiculous. Loyal customers mean money, and now it may not matter, but in the future it definitely could.
At my (non-tea) store, we’re told that the customer should leave happy with us, whether they buy something or not. Because of this, we help them find stores that have what they want if we don’t, and if we’re told the customer doesn’t want help, we back off immediately. It’s how you build a reputation and success that lasts for years.
Not that it’s your fault what your manager told you and not that other managers in other companies haven’t thought the same way, but it really does bother me to see.
Timeskips, have you noticed our new policies on returns? Teavana is finally listening! (I may or may not have been writing letters to my area managers…)