Friday, November 03, 2006

Powell's Nastygram

The Powell's Books store in downtown Portland is really an amazing place. I even remember going there when I was little and being amused that there were different colors for each section and floor. I also remember that the area of town Powell's was in smelled vaguely like wine - there must be a reason for that but my childhood mind didn't bother filing it away.

Anyway, my parents gave Jeremy a Powells.com gift certificate for his birthday in the amount of $50, which, if you know my family, is a really big deal (Hi, Mom!). Unfortunately, we had a mildly aggravating experience with it and I ended up writing the nastygram you see below. In the interest of fairness, I promise I'll recant it if they make it up to me somehow. In the meantime, boo to them.

Hello,

My husband recently ordered three books from Powells.com using a $50.00 gift certificate given to him for his 30th birthday. I know $50 might not seem like a big deal to you, but for us, it was a rare treat to have $50 to spend at a bookstore. He thought carefully about his selections and made sure to order items that, together, would use up the $50 and also qualify for free shipping.

After he placed his order, he received notice that two of the three items were not available after all, and would not even be placed on backorder. He was given no warning that this would happen, and no chance to cancel his order and retain his $50 gift certificate in its entirety.

Although the one available item was shipped, graciously, free of charge, the gift certificate was essentially wasted. He is now left with an awkward $22 gift certificate that will not qualify him for free shipping on a future order.

We are very dissatisfied with our powells.com experience and in the future will patronize Amazon.com as we have never had a negative experience with them. This makes me sad because I am a native of Portland and have always been proud of Powell's. I hope this kind of shoddy customer service is limited to your website and not your store.

Bridget Palmer

ps - In case you're wondering, the book they did have was a set of The Chronicles of Narnia. The ones they didn't were Sergeant Nibley, PhD, and a book of classical songs for guitar.

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