Nordstrom Complaint - Loyal Customer has Terrible Nordstrom Experience
PORTLAND, OREGON -- I am writing today to unfortunately complain about Nordstrom’s customer service for the first time in the 20 years I have been shopping at their stores. Yesterday evening I had one of the worst shopping experiences of my life at the Downtown Portland Nordstrom location and thought everyone should be aware of this. One of the reasons I have always respected, admired, and above all shopped at Nordstrom was because of the exceptional customer service. This is exactly why when I was treated so poorly yesterday I was exceedingly disappointed. At Warren Buffet once stated “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it,” sadly, this is exactly what happened last night.
My mother lives in Boise, Idaho where there is no Nordstrom. I live in Portland Oregon. So, my mom comes over here at least 5 or 6 times a year to visit and more importantly, to shop. We ALWAYS shop the Washington Square Nordstrom, Downtown Portland Nordstrom and The Nordstrom Rack at Tanasbourne. Not only has she been shopping at Nordie’s since before I was even born (and I am 26) but also, it is rare that she leaves to go back to Boise without spending at LEAST $1000 between the three locations. This past weekend was one of these weekends. On Saturday we visited Washington Square and made some purchases, then Sunday we went to Nordstrom Rack where we collectively spent over $700. As it was a Sunday and we were crunched for time, we raced from the Rack to the Downtown Portland Nordstrom for some last minute shopping before heading to the airport.
We arrived at the Downtown Portland Nordstrom at approximately 5:20 – 40 minutes before the store closed. I have been looking for a new handbag and was debating between a Chloe Paratey handbag and a new Tory Burch speedy type purse. As time was limited and we did not have the time to stand around while I thought, my mother decided she was going to return a couple of the items she had purchased at the Rack and purchase some Jo Malone perfume instead. The salesperson in handbags told her she would not do the return, that she could not return Rack items at a regular Nordstrom. This caught my mom and I both off guard as I had made a Rack return at a regular Nordstrom just a week or two before at Washington Square (I returned a pair of men’s True Religion jeans from the Rack and then bought a couple of full priced items in The Rail). We figured she just couldn’t do the Rack return there in handbags so we went upstairs to customer service.
In customer service there was one employee working and she was with a customer. It was apparent she was going to be working with her for a while; she looked at us and told us that it would be a bit of a wait, we told her that was okay we just needed to make a return. She looked at the Nordstrom Rack bag and said “well if that is Rack return you can’t do it here.” We were again, caught off guard, but we told her that my mom was from out of town and was leaving that night after first making some last minute purchases at this store. We asked if she could make an exception for us. She then rolled her eyes, said fine but that someone else would have to help us. She then called for the “Manager In Charge.”
The “Manager In Charge,” her card stated her name was Aimee Pickerd, came upstairs and asked us what she could do for us. We explained the situation and she just stared at us blankly and nodded continuously stating “I am sorry but we do not typically do Rack returns here as they have a different policy than us.” I said, okay, I understand that, they have a 30 day return policy but we just bought these items 2 hours ago.” She continued to nod, in a VERY condescending way, and just said “I am sorry, like I said we do not typically do this, the Downtown Rack is just 2 blocks away you can go there and make the return.” As a Portland native, the Rack is in fact more like 4 blocks away and it was POURING rain. Moreover, we now only had about 20 minutes to get down there to make the return, thus leaving us NO time to shop at the Downtown store. I said to her, “I understand you don’t typically do this, but does that mean you sometimes make exceptions?” she said “yes that is true.” To this I replied, “Okay, well then can you please make an exception today as I would like to buy some stuff at your store and will not have time if we have to go to the Downtown Rack.” To this she just said, “No, I cannot help you, I am sorry you’re on a time crunch but that isn’t my fault.” That just floored me.
Ms. Pickerd’s response was the type I would have expected from a salesperson at Macy’s, NOT Nordstrom. I then said “So you’re really willing to say no to our return and lose a customer who is going to spend a lot of money?” And she just again stated, “I am sorry I cannot help you.” We then asked for her business card and left. I was baffled that, A) ANY store (especially in this economy) would turn down a customer about to spend over $1000 on their store on a handbag alone, not to mention also purchase some perfume, and that B) she was so rude. Both of these actions are something I have NEVER experienced in a Nordstrom store. So, we left the Downtown store with nothing more than Ms. Picker’s business card and a lot of anger, frustration, confusion and disappointment, then proceeded to get soaking wet running down to the Downtown Rack where my mom was able to return her items before heading off to the airport.
Our experience last night completely made me rethink my loyalty to Nordstrom. I purchased the handbag that I have been looking for from the Bloomingdales website this morning. Not only does Bloomingdales have a product variety superior to Nordstrom, but also have way more sales, promotions and all around prices that are significantly more competitive. Frequently I can get the exact same product much cheaper from Bloomy’s than from Nordies, I have just always loved the “Nordstrom Experience” which is why I was willing to pay a little extra. This is no longer the case. And the same for my mom. She flies here to see me and shop at Nordstrom’s, now she will fly to Seattle where I will drive up and meet her and we will shop Nieman Marcus. Or we will fly to San Francisco or LA where I have sisters and we can shop at Bloomingdales. Or we will both just shop online, but definitely NOT from Nordstrom.
To bring this full circle, what I have found even more baffling is the fact that this morning my mom went to the Nordstrom website and did the “Live Chat” with a customer service representative She asked if she could return Rack items at a regular Nordstrom store. The representative said that yes, of course she could, however they would follow The Rack 30 day return policy. I have also talked with a couple of my friends who are current Nordstrom employees both at the Washington Square location and the Lloyd Center location, and they have all confirmed that they can in fact take a Rack return with no problem