Off the Rack

He returned home from the department store to find five items in the bag. There should have been six. It was New Year’s Eve day and the young man who was the unhappy customer was perplexed.

The young man, who is a friend of mine, was from out of town. Way out of town. In fact he is from a tiny island nation out in the Indian Ocean. This was going to require some way of proving to the store in a foreign country that they had made an error.

He called the store, which in this case was the Nordstrom Rack in Roseville. The clerk who handled his purchase told him unequivocally that she had put all the items in the bag. My friend’s English is good, but not so good that he felt comfortable arguing his case over the phone.

That’s when I took over. I called the store and asked to speak to the manager. It took a few tries to get through, but eventually I reached Cindy. She was polite and remarkably cordial in taking my call, especially given this had to be one of the store’s busiest days of the year.

I stated my case that the missing item was nowhere to be found and that I hoped Nordstrom Rack lived up to the reputation of its parent company for putting the customer first.

She asked for a little time to investigate the situation and promised to call me back in a few hours. She did as promised and gave my friend the benefit of the doubt (and reimbursement for the missing item).

Tales of Nordstrom’s customer service are legendary. My favorite is of the guy who wanted to return a set of tires to Nordstrom, because the building where he purchased the tires was now occupied by Nordstrom. They honored his request.

But it begs the question as to where Nordstrom is going with the Rack. How do you balance customer service with discounted everything? I’m not sure. And it seems they are figuring it out as they go. Nordstrom Racks now outnumber the traditional stores.

But I do hope it works. It appears my experience might be the new model, and they might just have a winning combination.

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