Williams-Sonoma

Discussion in 'The Late Night Cafe (off-topic)' started by brook, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. brook

    brook

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    It seems that, in the past, if Williams-Sonoma carried a product line (I'm mostly thinking about pots and pans, small appliances, and knives rather than food), you could count on the fact that it would be both of high quality and reliable, and W-S would stand behind it if something went wrong. The mere fact something was being sold in the store meant that it met fairly high standards of excellence.  My impression is that the standards of the store have dropped so that some things are mediocre. Furthermore, the return policy has become much more restrictive and the store no longer particularly helpful if the purchase is a lemon. What has your experience been? 
     
  2. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    In a nutshell, W-S, in my experience, has the second worst customer service in the industry. Only All-Clad surpasses them when it comes to not-caring.
     
  3. jim berman

    jim berman

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    I can't really shed much light on their customer service changing, but when I was in the employ of W-S, their return/replacement was solid: lifetime warranty on anything purchased in the store was returned for exchange, no questions. Sorry to hear that has changed. 
     
  4. tylerm713

    tylerm713

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    W-S has been very hit-or-miss for me. Half the time, the people working there have been extremely helpful and knowledgeable, and the other half they have been a step from incompetant. I expect those who work there to know about the products that they are selling. The last time I was in a W-S, I overheard a sales person explaining to a customer that they absolutely needed a $200 Shun 7" Santoku, and how it was made of the finest steel and wouldn't need sharpening for years. I was beyond appalled.
     
  5. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Sorry to hear that has changed. 

    I've no idea if that's officially changed or not. But, apparently, the retail stores aren't required to follow corporate policies.

    More to the point, W-S has it's own Catch 22 of customer service. If you have a problem, and contact corporate customer service, you get an email that basically says, "it's not our concern, take it up with the store."

    Yeah, right!  Ever since then I do take it up with the store. Only the store is called Bed Bath & Beyond---which does know what customer service is all about.
     
  6. jazzcook

    jazzcook

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    I bought a Henckel santoku knife from them for my GF for Xmas, hopefully it won't be a problem returning it.  It has been replaced by what is in our opinion the far superior Shun model.

    I realize that often a store is only as good as its help, but I'm a little annoyed at the fact that when I went there to purchase the santoku, I was not even shown the Shun even though it's the same price as the Henckel.  Bad on me for not doing my research and relying on the employee, I realize...but I'm thinking there was incentive to "push" the Henckels.
     
  7. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    Jazzcook, weren't all their knives on view in display cases? I've never been to a W-S that didn't.

    In fact, one of my peeves is that if you're looking at knives they point to the display, and then you're on your own. Once you've decided on a possibility you have to search for a clerk to unlock the case. Just what, I have to wonder, did she think you wanted to look at knives for in the first place? The last time I went through that she was all put out because she had to first find the manager, who was the only one with the keys.

    Hell of a way to run a railroad.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2011
  8. jazzcook

    jazzcook

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    Indeed they were, I just didn't look hard enough I suppose.  Again, it's my fault that I was unprepared and apparently not being very observant...it was last-minute Xmas shopping and very spontaneous.

    The first santoku I saw in the case was $400; when I joked that I didn't like that one, and asked for something closer to $100, she led me to the opposite end of the cases and basically said the Henckel was my only choice.  I should have examined the cases more closely, it just strikes me as odd that I was "sold on" the Henckel and not even shown the Shun, even though they are the same price..
     
  9. chefedb

    chefedb

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    WS charges full retail and no discount , same as Macy's. Most things you buy there can be purchased on line or elsewhere for less. Those of you seeking pots, pans, knives, and small wares  try a store called HomeGoods, its a chain.
     
  10. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    it just strikes me as odd that I was "sold on" the Henckel and not even shown the Shun, even though they are the same price..

    More than odd, I'd say. If you tell a clerk you're looking for a knife in the hundred dollar range, you have every right to expect that she'll show you everything available. While it's nice of you to take the blame, I think it's more a matter of the clerk not knowing the stock. Doesn't surprise me one bit; not with that group.
     
  11. kyheirloomer

    kyheirloomer

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    WS charges full retail and no discount

    And sometimes more than that, Ed, because so many products are "custom made" for them "exclusively." But it turns out the customization is only a special color, or a slight change in the configuration. But they charge as much as twice what the product otherwise costs.

    That aside, I wouldn't mind their general pricing so much if the service was there. When I'm paying top dollar, though, in a specialty store, I feel it only reasonable that the clerks be familiar with their stock. Not just what they carry, but that they can discuss it knowledgeably. And I haven't found that to be true at W-S. There clerks are ill-trained and, sometimes, ill-mannered as well.

    Bed Bath & Beyond, on the other hand, has better starting prices, discounts heavily from there, and believes in service. Indeed, BB&B sets the bar for customer service, and they set it pretty high.

    I don't know much about the Homegoods chain overall. But the one here in Lexington stocks only junk. Personally, I wouldn't waste my time going in the place a second time.
     
  12. chefedb

    chefedb

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    I guess this being Palm Beach they would not get away with selling junk. Yes BBB is very good also. I once went into WS and asked for a lemon zester, the girl did not know what I was talking about???