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Let me tell you a story about customer service.
This story begins last month, when Racked’s Elana Fishman ever-so-poignantly dubbed velvet as the Beyoncé of fabrics: fancy and flawless.
Elana sold me on the idea of buying a pair of velvet shoes, so I began browsing. After eyeing a few not-quite-right pairs from Prada (way out of my budget), Rebecca Minkoff (too tall), M.Gemi (not practical enough), and Anthropologie (too twee), I headed to J.Crew — an oldie but goodie.
I generally try to avoid buying shoes at J.Crew in order to dodge the awkward moment of showing up to synagogue wearing the same shoes as five other women, but I do have a credit card with the brand and know it’s reliable. So I wasn’t all that surprised to find the perfect pair of velvet heels on the site in an amber-gold color, with an ankle strap and a 1.4-inch heel.
The shoes were gorgeous and came with a tolerable price tag — $248, which isn’t so bad for shoes made in Italy, right? I made a mental note to buy them, but quickly got sidetracked by work, school, and life in general. Then I left the country to travel in India with some friends for two weeks and had way more pressing things to worry about over there than a pair of velvet block heels.
When I got back last week, though, I was still thinking about those heels, so I headed to the J.Crew site only to find that they were completely sold out. Because, of course they were. I took to Twitter to lament about my dream shoe that never was. There was probably a snackable lesson to learn about my situation, like how alacrity is a learned trait and not a mindset, or something like that.
But this is a story about customer service — not about sad shopping excursions or cheesy life lessons you can print on yoga tees. Tyler McCall over at Fashionista saw my tweet, and pinged J.Crew’s help account on Twitter. Tyler recently had a miraculous J.Crew shoe adventure of her own, and maybe they could help me out too?
The folks at the J.Crew help account wrote to me that the shoes I wanted “sold out very quickly, but it's always worth a shot,” and asked me for my size. Less than two hours later, the J.Crew search squad tweeted at me that they had found the last pair of the shoes in the company (??!!) at a store in Princeton, New Jersey, and that they were in my size. We took to Twitter DM, where they let me know that, because I already had a credit card with them, my shipping and billing information was all set. They let me know they’d call the store for me to place the order and no worries, shipping was on them. And oh, also, would I care to include any promo codes laying around?
After digging up some coupons in my email, I bought the shoes through Twitter for $200, and they arrived to my office this morning — just four days after the prospect of owning them was nothing but a quick social media grievance.
Perhaps it’s all the new direct-to-consumer competition out there, or maybe it’s done enough business with Nordstrom that the department store’s tendencies have begun to rub off, but J.Crew has seriously delighted me with this attention to customer service, to borrow the calculated phrase every modern-day company wishes to imprint on consumers. Everlane hitting me with my order information via Facebook messenger was pretty cool, but this is outstanding. If only J.Crew could make a beret that actually stays on your head — now that would be truly next level.