First time poster, long time lurker to this site. I love Adagio, and am glad through that site, I was able to find such a wonderful forum dedicated to tea! That said, I'd like to share my customer experience with Teavana from just the other day.
I have not bought tea from Teavana in a long time, as I did not and do not care for the pushy sales tactics, the store in my city's mall being one of the worst I've ever experienced. I used to buy online, and I would still occasionally go in for teaware and storage tins, but no more. Eh, here's a copy/paste of the letter I sent. It doesn't quite do justice to the feelings I needed to vent, though...
Two days ago, July 8, 2011 I was in the store located in the Houston Galleria Mall. As a preface to this, I would like to say I love tea. I really love tea. I have over 70 varieties of loose tea, many of which come from Teavana, some flavors of which have been discontinued, but that is beside the point.
The point is, while at the store, I was approached by one of the employees and asked if I would like any teas today. I mentioned that I had a large quantityof tea already, and I was there to look at storage tins and containers, as I found the ones I'd purchased from Teavana before to be of excellent quality for storing teas. I made my way over to the section of the store where the containers were kept, anddid not realize the employee had followed me. I was holding a box set of 4 containers, and turned it to check the price, when I realized she was standing so close to me that had I not jerked my arm, I would have hit her in the face with my elbow.
I did knock the containers down and apologized profusely for doing so, cleaning up after myself. I told her I was sorry, I didn't realize she had been that close, and I checked that the containers weren't damaged - as I would have purchased them if I had damaged them in any way. I joked that I didn't mean to drop them, and that I was clumsy. The employee looked right at me and responded with "Yes, that's why I followed you"
To say I was insulted would be an understatement. I understand that in a small shop, with many high priced items it is imperative to have a strong employee presence. However, to imply that employees have to follow a customer around so close as to risk bodily harm, and then to say right to their face they are following them to make sure they don't cause damage and to make sure someone pays if they do accidentally damage an item? I feel that to be condescending, overbearing and unprofessional.
I have long had issues in the past with Teavana store practices, especially at this one location. To begin with, when I ask for two ounces of a tea, I want two ounces. Not 2.8, not 3.1, and not 4. To overmeasure, than label as if I'd agreed to the excess is presumptive and sours the experience, not to mention I feel it an underhandedbusiness practice.
I realize this letter will most likely do no good, and change nothing as to how this store works. I know of several friends who have made similar complaints and yet each time I return to the store, hoping to see a change, nothing has been altered. I am airing my grievances, and explaining that this final act - this implication that customers cannot be trusted and are to be treated like supposed criminals - has finally soured me on Teavana. It is not in fact, a tea nirvana, it is instead a tea purgatory, and I will no longer purchase any products from this company, whether via store or website.
I received a response today, asking my full contact information (Full name, address, phone number, etc), plus receipt number, and what all I purchased, so they could better "help me". I responded saying I had walked out without purchasing anything, and I wasn't comfortable giving out my full contact information. They had all the information from the complaint, as well as a way to contact me. The woman from Customer Service who answered asked for the info, claiming it was so the Management Team could be notified and I could be contacted. Not sure for what.
This isn't the only issue I've had with the company, but the rest were with Teavana.com (not sending a correct order, charging different prices, etc, which were ALL cleared up, but only after repeated attempts and a threat of a chargeback with my bank...)
I've read the entirety of this thread. I know that with every company there are good stores, bad stores, as well as good/bad employees, managers, etc etc. I do love some of their blends, but everything I've enjoyed in the past has since been discontinued. So, I think, should my association with said company. I'm done with them. This is the proverbial straw, so :p to Teavana.