My first visit to Teavana...


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My first visit to Teavana...

Postby bearsbearsbears » Jan 5th, '11, 20:54

There's a new, very small, Teavana in the mall close to the office building where I work. Because my coworkers know I like tea, I received a $25 gift card as a Christmas gift from a well meaning officemate.

Thus, for the first time, I set foot in a Teavana. Their selection of teas and teawares fit the size of their store, which is to say they had as much tea and accessories as could comfortably fit, but not much. Cutting out the non-camellia teas and the flavored teas, I had about 8 teas to choose from. I went for oolongs, and here I had two choices: a "monkey picked" TGY that did not look like the traditional medium roast that "monkey picked" describes, and a dancong that looked surprisingly roasted and promising. I went for 2 ounces of dancong for $25.

Here are the three problems I encountered:

1. The oolong was only nice looking at the surface layer of the tin.
When scooping my tea, the salesperson jabbed an enormous metal scoop into the tin; I could hear the leaves breaking. As he lifted the scoop up, I could see that the bottom third or so of the tin was full of broken leaves and dust from the broken leaves. I'm pretty certain that the bottom third of my bag is filled with that dust, too, though I haven't opened it yet.

2. I was advised that the tea would "go bad in 2 weeks" if not kept airtight.
Now, aside from the fact that the dancong tea probably spent 2 months on a boat from China and another few days, weeks, or months in the Teavana warehouse and thus would already have staled by their calculations, and in addition to the fact that they open and close (aerate) the tin holding the dancong several times per day to show it to customers, oolong doesn't "go bad" in 2 weeks, if at all.

They repeated this to all customers for all kinds of tea.

This misinformation would appear to accomplish two things: one, manufacture an urgency in the customer to purchase a tea tin and two, create an urgency in the customer to purchase tea more often to have "fresh" tea.

3. The salesperson asked: "Is that all you want to spend?"
Next, I'm understanding when companies want to cross-market me products related to my purchase that I might or might not find helpful, useful, neat, etc. If someone at McDonald's asks me if I want to supersize, I feel no insult directed at my thrifty nature. But "is that all you want to spend?" rubbed me the wrong way. Not: "would you like to look at any other teas?" or "if you like that oolong, you'd like this," or "do you need anything to help you brew this tea?"

The salesperson was smiling as he said it, and I didn't feel I needed to direct any nasty retort to him, but it does appear to underline a corporate philosophy that departs from customer service and into waddles into vampiric sales practice.

Anyway, I'll post pics of my purchase and maybe some thoughts about it once I have a chance to taste it.

While part of me believes that if Teavana is the inspiration for someone to delve into the world of fine teas, or to switch from an unhealthy beverage to tea, the business is still doing "good" despite these myths and sales practices. I just hope that Teavana's problems, as I perceive them, don't give tea vendors a bad reputation on the whole.
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Re: My first visit to Teavana...

Postby Bryan_drinks_te... » Jan 13th, '11, 00:15

there is another poster who wrote about their experience at teavana, except that they worked there. I'm personally biased against them due to the fact that they pressured me to buy lots and lots of tea, among other things. it's how they were trained, and it's sad that something that should be enjoyed and taken slowly has to be shoved aside for means of profit.
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Re: My first visit to Teavana...

Postby Marco » Jan 13th, '11, 13:18

bearsbearsbears wrote:3. The salesperson asked: "Is that all you want to spend?"


Thats a great one - made me laugh a lot :)

Hey Mr. Scrooge don't be so cheap - open your wallet again :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Re: My first visit to Teavana...

Postby dsebs » Jan 13th, '11, 22:18

I think the only reason they say the tea will go bad is so that you buy their $20 tins. I went in there about a year ago and bought two teas. After buying the first the girl said it would go bad after a week or two and asked if I wanted to buy a tin. I replied no I have tins at home. After picking another tea she asked me if I wanted to buy some tins. I wasn't sure if she wasn't listening or just really wanted to sell me some tins. I don't have too many other complaints besides the totally broken up leaves and the fact that they purposely over scoop to sell you more tea. I asked for 2oz both times and she wound up giving me about 4oz. Oh well, last time I went there.
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Re: My first visit to Teavana...

Postby bearsbearsbears » Jan 18th, '11, 15:35

dsebs wrote:they purposely over scoop to sell you more tea. I asked for 2oz both times and she wound up giving me about 4oz.


Their repeat customers are cluing into this. When I bought my tea, they tried to overscoop by quite a bit to a woman buying tea who appeared to know the salesperson from previous sales. They asked, "is 3 oz ok?" to which the woman sternly replied, "No."

I've since tried the dancong, and it's higher quality than I expected. Still very much commercial grade, but it could have been much worse. It is subtle, thin, and flowery, but not perfumed. Still, at $12.50/oz I'd rather have other teas.
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Re: My first visit to Teavana...

Postby Chip » Jan 20th, '11, 23:45

:lol: Stopped in a newer Teavana today (they are popping up like weeds around here, but seem to be getting smaller and smaller), the sales rep asked if this other couple were interested in flavored or straight green tea. They said it did not matter ... the reps eyes instantly had $ signs.
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Re: My first visit to Teavana...

Postby bearsbearsbears » Jan 21st, '11, 14:08

Chip wrote::lol: Stopped in a newer Teavana today (they are popping up like weeds around here, but seem to be getting smaller and smaller)


The one near to me is tiny, smaller than the Lupicia in the same mall. I'm sad to say it's taken most of Lupicia's business.

Expanding too fast is a business mistake. It's possible they'll collapse if they keep opening stores at the current rate. Even Starbucks had to pull way back to keep profitable!
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Re: My first visit to Teavana...

Postby Owlie » Jan 21st, '11, 19:39

Is that all you want to spend?

:shock: Wow.

Last time I went in there to pick up some Earl Grey for my sister, I decided to get myself something too. And yes, she tried to give me an extra ounce. It helped my case that it was a rather fluffy tea--I told her I wanted to be able to get the tea out of the tin without making a mess. She was rather careful with the amount for the EG. :lol:
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