My experience at Teavana.

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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby MHead » Dec 3rd, '13, 13:09

I just went to Teavana last Friday because my daughter wanted to get her dad some tea for Christmas. Because the prices are so high I only wanted to buy 2 ounces of a couple of teas. When the sales lady measured out the tea she kept going WAY over the amount I asked for (like over 4 oz when I asked for 2) and then she would ask if it was ok. She did this for each of the teas I ordered and I was surprised that her weighing skills did not improve but got worse each time. Of course I said NO to the extra tea and I made her adjust the amount to close to what I had asked for. I assumed she was new and didn't know how to use a scale yet. I found this story very interesting and informative. I now know that it was most likely not a ditzy sales person that couldn't weigh correctly but was more likely a cunning ploy to trick me into buying twice as much as I wanted. I personally do not like most of their teas. I find the samples too sweet. Good quality teas can be found elsewhere for much cheaper.
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby Meenie » Jan 3rd, '14, 12:15

My problem with teavana isn't their pushy sales tactics (which I don't like but do have the ability to say no), or the price of their tea (which I do see as overpriced, but again, have the ability to say no) but the fact that they put sugar into their samples and don't tell you.
I really do love their maharaja/samurai chai blend - thats the one they give you when you hit the door. When I make it at home, I put a little splenda into it, as it was quickly noted at home that it didn't taste quite the same as in the store!
Also the blueberry/pineapple blend - in the store tastes great, at home is rather bland and the sweet taste is missing.
Not only is that false advertising, imho, but is dangerous as well. I'm diabetic and being given things to drink that are laden with hiden sugar is simple WRONG.
I'm currently getting samples from other tea companies trying to find teas that taste similar to the maharaja/samurai blend. So far Art of Tea's throat therapy is very similar while less expensive - I tried a different tea there that I thought might be similar (wasn't) and got a sample of the throat therapy just because it's winter, lol. Love it.
So I'm one of those teavana customers who has been lost by their sales tactics. Sadly.
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby needaTEAcher » Jan 9th, '14, 21:05

I needed a tea basket in less than 24 hours, long story, and after trying everywhere I could think of and never finding one, I finally caved and went to Teavana. While there, I scoped out the zisha, and acted like I didn't know anything, so as to hear their spiel. Wow. Worst. Teapots. Ever.
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby Chip » Jan 10th, '14, 13:14

... since this is tea related, I have moved the topic to General/Other Tea.
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Postby Obsydian » Jan 10th, '14, 19:58

If you find something similar Meenie please share, that's my most favorite tea blend. I went over there as a tea newbie and probably got ripped off without knowing. What a shame...
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby Ursinos » Jan 11th, '14, 13:06

Wow. Thanks for this story. My wife kept pointing out to me that one of the local stores was hiring. *cringe* I KNOW I could not cope in that kind of environment, and I'd end up trying to stick it out for a while out of a need to have a job again. That would not be good for me.

Honestly, I really get a bad feeling about Teavana anyway. I used to shop at the stores when they were still Teopia up here. They didn't seem to have the same kind of high pressure sales tactics. They also carried some teas that I just couldn't find anywhere else but really liked (oh how I miss their Cactus Fig).

anyway, again, thanks for the cautionary knowledge
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby cherrybridge » Oct 5th, '15, 17:23

I know I'm new and I'm so glad I came across this, just such a relief to know I'm not alone. So here is my venting:
I just left my job at Teavana. I only lasted 2 months. Once customers realized I wasn't going to be pushy, they just opened up and vented to me. I heard so many customers complain about previous experiences and that was only day 2. I finally got to my training and it made me so uncomfortable. I've done lots of retail before but Teavana is just different. I started looking online and I'm so glad I'm not the only one who feels that way. I also had a super strict manager so that just adds to the things that come BEFORE customer service. Its weird to say but I just felt I was too nice to work there. Mainly b/c doing what I consider normal customer service and respect for my coworkers, everyone was really surprised and would say Wow you are really nice.
Yes, every partner has a sales goal and going over it you get bonuses, this does lead to unnecessary drama with co workers. Coworkers will steal customers and even if the manager talks to them about it, at the end of the week of course they are at the top of the weekly report with the with the most sales, a bonus, and a pat on the back from corporate and the manager!
Along with the top down selling and car sales training manual where the word car had just been replaced with tea. This all leads to very bad customer service. If you want to learn how to sell anything to anyone, a glass of water to a drowning man this is the place for you. If you care about people and tea this is NOT the place for you. Like everyone else I really WANTED to like Teavana, but they just make it so you can't.

What else I found: "In other words, if you trick people into buying more than they had intended through sneaky practices, they’re not going to walk away feeling like they splurged a bit and got something they wanted in return – once they realize what just happened to them, they’re going
to feel swindled.

What’s really a shame here is that Teavana has some fantastic tea. I
recognize that traditional tea has yet to really go mainstream in the
U.S. and comes nowhere close to sales of coffee, soft drinks, etc., so
the business of selling it requires being creative. But when customers
tell stories like my wife’s and hear from others “I know, whenever I
leave there I just feel dirty”, you would think that might give
business owners some pause. Put simply, if your sales strategy
revolves around underhanded upselling, you’ve got a bigger problem
than sales."

Basically buyers remorse, which is what I was getting from the customers my first two days there! When I was there it wasn't just my co workers that left for the same reason I did, there was a regional manager that left too. Everyone talked about it like he was a traitor. He apparently wasn't there long either. The new one that took his place, came by to visit and said they are changing things b/c Teavana realizes it makes people feel bad when they visit the store. BUT then she said he did the same sales and he kept asking "What could you have done differently to close that sale?" Apparently no, they still don't get it.

I've seen three customers complain about this and others tickets I
think I've seen it on others but I wasn't able to figure it out either. Just shady!

If you have worked there I encourage you to post a review on glassdoor website b/c they are a pretty good review there. If I had known the truth I would not have worked there!
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby teaformeplease » Oct 5th, '15, 19:04

I have to say that my experience working at Teavana has been quite the opposite. There are a few things to keep in mind:

-They are a company in transition. The Starbucks acquisition was not that long ago and it takes a while to completely change company culture
-Just as with any company, there are good managers and bad managers. The employee experience has more to do with this than the company itself. From what I've heard, it is managers who were part of the old regime that are the problem.
-The sneaky practices that you are referring to are no longer company policy

Now, I work at a Tea Bar rather than a mall store so things do run a bit differently. We make slightly more per hour but don't get commission. Hours are more of a guaranteed thing because they need people there to serve food and beverages even if retail is slow.

I've worked at several different kinds of tea establishments over the last few years (including direct competitors like David's Tea). I've been with Teavana for about six months now and it has been the best experience out of all of them so far. I have health insurance, 401K, tuition reimbursement, earned paid time off and other benefits too. I'm a tea writer in my free time and everyone at corporate has been incredibly encouraging and supportive. They want people who have knowledge and passion! I'm not saying this to discredit your experience. It sounds like your store was one of those that needs to change.

In regards to buyer's remorse, I run into this too. That being said no one can force any one else to make a purchase. We all have the power to say no. If we don't, is that really the sales person's fault? People are impulsive and make big purchases and then regret it later. That is how the economy moves along :)
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby Chip » Oct 6th, '15, 14:21

Oddly, when I walk into a Teavana, I am virtually always left alone ... going back years all the way up to today. And then someone else walks in, and they are slammed by the same BS lines I have overheard numerous times.

True be told, I feel like I am being rude, but I avoid eye contact at all cost. 8) 8) 8) It seems to make me ... invisible. :wink: This is hard for me, because I like to say hi to just about anyone, but I feel compelled to avoid any appearance of interest whatsoever.

But I still overhear some of the same old lines ... and I want to jump in and say, "wait a minute ... !"
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby Chip » Oct 6th, '15, 14:42

It is much like when I am walking down a mall, I simply refuse to make eye contact with the kiosk hucksters ...

Yes, I could allow eye contact and then go through the whole routine of explaining repeatedly that I am not interested in anything they have to say or sell. Makes me ... sad to be this way.

I don't have interest in buying from Teavana either, just morbid curiosity, I guess.
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Re: My experience at Teavana.

Postby NateHevens » Oct 6th, '15, 22:23

Chip wrote:It is much like when I am walking down a mall, I simply refuse to make eye contact with the kiosk hucksters ...

Yes, I could allow eye contact and then go through the whole routine of explaining repeatedly that I am not interested in anything they have to say or sell. Makes me ... sad to be this way.

I don't have interest in buying from Teavana either, just morbid curiosity, I guess.

I wear headphones. Sadly, this doesn't often work.

Eventually I hope to be able to share my thoughts here. I currently work for Teavana, so I'm not going to say anything. There's a lot I want to say, but will save that for when I've moved on...

ETA: I will say this, however, in terms of sales. I work at a mall location, not a tea bar. Also, I'm stock and the weekend barrista. But I do watch the sales people I work with, and they don't make it a habit of being overly pushy. They do the usual "do you need some help?", but if a customer says "no" or "just looking" or any of those variations, the sales rep will drop their name and move on.

Now, I think this is actually getting our store into some trouble, but on the other hand, it does make for a slightly more pleasant experience for customers (I imagine). But we're all also very much aware of the fact that we work in an area with old money, which means the people here are wealthy precisely because they don't spend their money. I've watched people pushed into spending money they didn't want to spend only to return the stuff the very next day, sometimes to the person who sold it to them in the first place. Most don't spend a dollar more than they planned to. If we get a big sale, the vast majority of the time it's because the customer fully planned and budgeted for it.

So the hustle is rather pointless at our store, and we largely know that... even if our corporate overlords don't...
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