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Mickey Drexler Defends J.Crew, the Internet From NY Times

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Mickey Drexler, J.Crew's famously outspoken CEO, has penned a response to Delia Ephron's recent New York Times op-ed, in which she slams online shopping and makes an example out of a screwy delivery experience she had this Christmas with some J.Crew gifts.

In a nutshell, a sparkly sweater intended for Ephron's girlfriend ended up addressed to her brother-in-law, boxes arrived unwrapped, cards went missing, and orders went to the wrong place. A tedious customer service call and some inconclusive package tracking followed, and a $50 gift certificate was finally offered in apology. From the experience, Ephron draws the following conclusion:

"Ordering Christmas presents on the Web, regardless of the dubious ease, has obliterated the idea that there should be some grace to a present, some beauty, and that the receiver should experience it. Instead it's become as mundane and problematic as all our Web purchases, which in my family include paper towels and toilet paper," she writes.

Try not to think about the Ephron family's toilet paper needs for a moment and focus on the writer's grand finale:

So this is my New Year's resolution: I am never ordering another Christmas present on the Web again. Next year I am wrapping all my gifts myself and standing in line at the local post office for an hour or two to mail them. It's the least I can do for the people I love.

Obviously, this is not the kind of press J.Crew wants, and Drexler personally responded to the article by writing an articulate and relatively unbiased letter to the editor on Christmas Eve, which was published in yesterday's Times along with some other reader responses to the piece.

While we are not excusing mistakes that were made in Ms. Ephron's case, since Thanksgiving J. Crew has shipped more than a million packages around the world, and her experience is hardly the norm," Drexler writes.

Slightly more snarkily, he adds:

While online shopping may not always offer the precise level of personalization Ms. Ephron requires, it is a growing part of retailing—and for good reason. It offers convenience, saves time, adds value, and provides access to goods and services that might otherwise be difficult to obtain.


We're curious: Did you run into any trouble with gift orders this holiday season? Do you prefer to do your gift shopping online or in person? Speak your mind in the comments.
· Rating the Online Shopping Experience [NYT]
· 'Jenna's Picks' Have Returned to J.Crew [Racked]