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Teavana - I am really really stupid. *UPDATE / RESOLVED*

37 Replies

Returned successfully. The manager was the only person there when I went in.

He had immense sympathy for me actually and also mentioned that the sales person yesterday had been bragging about the ‘$1,000 sale’ (as he probably should!). Nevertheless, he was not bothered at all about me returning all the product, and ultimately I got what I wanted at a price worth paying.

This is all worth pointing out, because Teavana clearly has updated their return policy since all the scathing reviews about them on the internet appeared. Honestly, if they were more up front with what they were selling customers, and perhaps asking ‘Do you really need this much tea?!’ – they would probably have a far better reputation than they do.

For what it’s worth, the tea that we did get, has been really good so far.

What’s funny, is that in this mall is another tea shop (I only discovered it today, the Century City mall is pretty big) I will also shop around next time (and online).

Finally, this website seems pretty cool, I will dip in and out from time to time.

The true irony of all of this is that I’m British, and we’re supposed to know about tea. Oh well!

Kiaharii said

So glad it worked out! I can’t believe no one really said anything when you checked out. :(

Excellent! And it’s a plus that you’re enjoying their tea (would’ve been a drag if you didn’t). Wonder how that sales person will react when they find their sale was mostly returned.

Also, welcome to Steepster! :D

tperez said

Yay! That’s great

Chizakura said

Oh good, super glad you were able to return it! That would’ve been awful, having that much out of your account, and the worry of it just getting stale after all that.

Also nice to hear that there wasn’t any push-back. Having them do it for you without having them try to talk you out of it is much better service!

Ellen said

Yay!! Wow I can’t believe the employee was gloating about it.. I’d feel so upset if I did that to someone.

@Ellen – “Did” what? The OP did say he paid, after all. Not that I don’t sympathize with the OP – I, too, have been in the position of being shell-shocked by the total at a till because the price was not clear, but I paid for it and returned stuff later because there was a huge line-up behind me.

But generally, people pay when they think they want what they’re paying for, and speak up when they’re shocked by the price. I think most people here would agree that 5lbs+ of tea is a lot, but it might not be if you were planning to, say, split it with others.

So glad this all worked out! :)

Ellen said

“Did” = when the customer says they are buying gifts for a loved one, flashes 5 lbs of tea in their face and doesn’t educate them on how much tea is typically used in 1 cup. Not cool.

shrugs Except that the OP said that he drinks matcha, and I see an 80g matcha tin on his bill. So…he undoubtedly mentioned to the employee that he drinks matcha? You go through matcha even more slowly than full-leaf tea, plus there are potentially at least two people drinking what he bought. I could understand this a lot better if the OP looked completely new to tea, but he doesn’t. And from this post, he clearly actually knows how much tea it is, so lack of awareness of the amount of tea was NOT the problem here.

I just went to DAVIDsTEA this weekend and bought pounds of their summer collection. They didn’t try to stop me! In fact, when I winced a little at the price (I knew roughly how much it would be, but I was hoping it would be just a bit cheaper than it was), the person serving me rushed to assure me that the tea would last long enough to drink it all in their re-sealable bags. They aren’t even on commission, and they still didn’t want to lose that sale by telling me I’d never drink it all!

Not completely new to tea, but have never purchased tea in this manner before (don’t normally buy loose leafs, and am unfamiliar with quantities).

My request for matcha happened long after all of the other stuff was put together. The order of events was:

- I went in to get 1) a tea pot and 2) oolong tea for my GF
- Salesperson offered me oolong.
- Salesperson offers me various other teas, and goes on about discounts, etc… I happily go along with the charming man, not really keeping track of things.
- After the 5 loose leaf teas have been put together, I request the matcha.
- After that, I request to look at the pots. Salesperson tries to also sell me $600 worth of cups/saucers/accessories. This was the only time that I asked for a price and was given an answer. I still have no idea why I didn’t do this with the tea. Brain-freeze.

Honestly, I had a total brain freeze because the guy selling to me seemed very genuine and he knew what he was talking about. In my profession I work with a lot of people whose expertise I have to trust, and so I am easily trusting of other people to make good decisions for me. I actually pointed this out to the salesman.

A good salesman (what I personally regard as good) will/should recognise when he/she is being deferred to, and at that point should do everything possible to make sure the customer knows what they are getting. I’m sure my attitude is naive, but that’s how I run my business. This salesman did not, and in hindsight, seemed driven by the fact that he could sell me a lot of merchandise. The manager who I spoke to the next day that told me of the salesman bragging about this sale, sort of confirms this.

The matcha was the only thing that seemed reasonably priced at the store (and came in a reasonable amount as it comes in a tin). I’m sure if he could have put powder into his own giant tin, the salesman would have filled it up to the brim and I’d be buying $250 (or more) worth of matcha.

I knew it was a lot of tea, but I honestly did not think or realize it would cost THAT much. The way the display the prices at Teavana in my opinion is quite confusing to the buyer. The weighing scales / price display doesn’t show a total, it just shows a per ounce price (I think) and it’s left up to you to do the math. Not cool.

This whole issue is the result of:

1) Me having a brain fade and then just getting to the checkout and getting out of there.

2) A salesman who – in my opinion – did not have the customers’ best interests at heart and was only interested in generating maximum sales for himself. He was helpful, and nice to talk to, but on reflection, I am not sure it was genuine.

Combines these two, and you end up with someone who gets charmed into spending $1,000 at checkout without even realising it.

Ah! Thank you for clarifying. You mentioned drinking matcha, so I figured that would have been one of the first things you picked up. My bad.

And yes, I agree with your basic philosophy about selling, there is definitely a point where I stop upselling to some people because it is TOO easy. You really cannot count on that, though – like I said above, no one at DT tried to find out if I knew how much a pound of tea is! (I do, so it’s fine, but…retailers are in it to make money, why should they try to stop you from spending it? You need to look out for yourself.)

FYI, for future reference…if the scales at the store you went to are anything like ours, it should at some point display a final price right before they print the ticket. Off the top of my head, I cannot recall how it looks on the customer side…on our scales, I think the tare is on the left, the price per 100g (that’s 4 ounces to you, I’m in a Canadian store) should be in the middle, and I guess the final price is…on the right? I’m sure it has to display the final price, I think not doing so might be illegal. Sometimes the tins on the counter get bumped into the way of the display, so feel free to move them so you can see it clearly.

If you don’t see the final price before they print the ticket for the zone card, just ask to see the ticket.

Lynxiebrat said

It can depend on the store too. The Teavana that I go to, right from the get go (And I was pretty green too, pun only slightly intended;)) has always been friendly, non invasive or pushy. Answered my questions about price per ounce. Never kept the canister side that has the label of tea and price turned away from my site. And has never overtalked so much that I cannot focus on what they are doing. The ONLY thing I they have done to me and to others: Is overpour. Is 2.6 ok? a pretty common question, but if I am getting more then 1 tea they never ask more then once, but even if they did, it wouldn’t bother me to much if they ask, after all I would rather they ask then assume. I detest assumptions. I kind of wish I could get more, budget and space wise, but given those 2 factors combined with the fact that I loooooove variety so much everytime that I’ve gotten more then 2 ounces of a particular tea it either goes stale or I get bored with it.

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teapot1 said

I’m really glad to hear it worked out too…I think YOU should not go shopping alone though! :) ! Just sayin’ with a big smile

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scribbles said

AWESOME!!! Have been victim of upsell as well – not to your degree, but thanks to this site and thread, now know how to handle.

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Serenity said

Glad you took care of things! And you are not stupid!

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Lala said

What did you end up keeping?

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ifjuly said

So glad to hear you were able to resolve this. And you shouldn’t feel stupid, it made me glad you brought it up here—I’ve never been to Teavana but between all the groaning about it here and this story I’m pretty confident I will not be visiting it anytime soon, ugh. Even if you didn’t have a problem returning the tea I would be dead meat in a stressful aggressive upselling social situation like that, and am glad I know to avoid.

Hope your gf’s birthday is wonderful for both of you. And that you stick around; the more the merrier!

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A GRAND!! Holy slushballs! That’s a lot of tea.

One thing I do have to say for the partner that served you, he must have nerves/balls of platinum to have pulled off that sale without blinking. I currently work at Teavana, and when the sale of the tea alone (not counting merch here, because people usually check the price tags on that stuff themselves and know what they’re getting) starts to roll up over $100, that’s usually when I pause and check in with the customer that they REALLY understand what they are buying and how much it will cost. Usually they do, and cost is no object…but sometimes they don’t, and it’s always better to catch that (IMO) rather than do an ugly return like this one later, or have someone melt down in rage/shock at the till.

A few notes about Teavana returns:

-To the best of my knowledge, there shouldn’t be a problem returning tea with a pound discount on it. Tea which is clearance has always (in the time I’ve worked there) had a red sticker on the tin, and merch items have individual red “sale” stickers. I’m pretty sure the merch stickers have a “final sale, no returns”-type fine print on them. (And no, they really can’t be returned – as soon as they are sold out, Teavana has a tendency to immediately remove those items from the till and teas from the scale, so there is no way to enter them into the system for a return even if we were willing).

-Yes, we are on commission, but if a return is done “properly” it is rung under the “name” of the store, not the name of the person who sold it to you. Regardless of whether or not you return things, the partner still gets the commission for the sale, so they shouldn’t be adverse to returning stuff for you.

…Well, that’s how it’s supposed to work. In reality, you CAN return things against an employee’s name. The thing about this system is that, while it might make employees less reluctant in general to do returns (it will only count against the store’s sales, not the partner’s), it could potentially make less scrupulous salespeople reckless – all they have to do is convince you to pay for it while you’re standing there, and then it’s not their problem.

You say that this partner was helpful, and HOPEFULLY he was just genuinely under the impression they you had a lot of money to spend and were totally on board, and wasn’t actually trying to trick you…but sometimes there are situations where stuff really should be returned under the employee’s name to teach them a lesson. Just my opinion, but I know my location actually did that once.

teapot1 said

Your comment was informative and I agree with your point of returning certain sales to the employee Id that sold it…1000k is a HUGE tea sale, and that associate should have been very careful to make sure the buyer was aware of the rapidly growing tab…sounded like a greedy salesperson to me…

Hi Daniel, a good post. See my longer response above in the thread.

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Hey there – first off, you’re not stupid! I’ve probably spent that much over time there.

Secondly, I have been somewhat successful at returning items – or at the very least returning for store credit. You could then sell that here or on eBay. ;) I’m just saying there should be options for you – and I go to a very snobby one in Bethesda. If I go at all. I’m all about stocking up online.

Speaking of online, if you aren’t able to return – and you don’t feel comfortable “lying” about an allergy to an item in the tea – you can always try to sell the tea online, with eBay or here. This way you could reap some of the return $$.

Bottom line, don’t feel too bad that you got “tricked” for lack of a better word. I ended up forcing myself to shop online when I need their blends, so save myself from grabbing overpriced tea ware items I don’t need or falling victim to a sale price that ends up not particularly being on sale.

Hang in there! And welcome to the tea world – most of the shops out there are NOT like this!

Dustin said

The other upside to buying online from them is that when you say you only want 2oz, that is exactly what you get. No extras adding up at check out!

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