Hell In A Bloomingdale's Handbag Turns To Heaven, But It Takes Steering

Jack was trying to replace the second of two defective Kate Spade handbags from Bloomingdale’s.

When one customer service rep failed to fix his issue, he kicked it up to the CEO, using contact information we supplied.

Shit rolls downhill, so if you want yours to have the most potential energy, start at the top…

Jack writes on Jan 23:

Ben–wondering if you could help out here … do you have a contact, address, etc., for executive customer service at bloomingdale’s?

reason i ask is … i purchased a kate spade handbag for my wife over the phone last summer. the handle came loose and i was able to exchange it. the same defect afflicted the second bag. so i called bloomie’s last month and spoke with a csa who told me to send the bag back and a new one would be shipped out post-haste. she assured me that the bag, which is now deadstock, was still available and still in stock.

so we returned the old bag, then nothing. my most recent credit card had a credit for the bag, which was not a good sign.

i phoned them today and was told that the bag is not available, will not be available, etc. i mentioned my wife’s major disappointment, was put on hold, and the csa contacted kate spade trying to find a replacement, or to at least find the defective bag that bloomie’s sent to spade. no luck.

my only options: 10% off my next purchase OR free shipping on the same.

kind of a difficult case, especially since they issued a credit. but what rankles us is that we NEVER would have returned the bag to bloomie’s if we knew it was not in stock. we would have instead sent it to kate spade for possible repair.

any advice would be greatly appreciated. thanks. – jack

We went right for the top and got the contact info for the CEO of Bloomingdale’s. It wasn’t easy, he doesn’t exactly have a Myspace page, but with a little social engineering we were able to write back on Jan 26:

    : Jack, I think this may help

    Michael Gould CEO
    212-705-7566, ask for Mr. Gould’s office

    That should get you in touch with the executive customer service crew.

    If they’re not helpful, I wonder if you might have luck looking for the same bag on eBay. – Ben

Feb 14: Ben–brief update … mr. gould passed me to an assistant. after the usual back and forth over a couple of weeks, we were asked to select a bag from the web site and asked for details of how we would like to pay for it. i simply declined, repeating that the situation was not of our doing and that bloomie’s was at fault. left it at that. time to move on, at least for me! thank for your help. -jack

Feb 20: ben–don’t know if you received my message from last week, but after it seemed that my saga involving my wife’s handbag purchased from bloomie’s direct was over … a package arrived via fedex yesterday.

lovely box and wrapping. but what’s better is the note from the president of bloomie’s direct, franz. w. weiglein, apologizing for the situation. they had asked my wife to pick out something else she liked (and then asked for payment). this time, mr. weiglein said he hoped things would be made right by providing us with a furla bag,
free of charge.

wonderful customer service. if you’re interested, in would be happy to scan the letter and ship it off to you. bloomingdale’s direct deserves some kudos, in my humble opinion.

thanks for your help. i look forward to hearing from you. – jack

Feb 20:

    Hey Jack, that’s great! Goes to show what a little consumer proactivity can do. We would be interested in seeing the letter, yes. – Ben

Feb 20: you folks are kind of like having my mom sitting on my shoulder saying … write a letter to the president, write a letter to the president. go to the top. truer words never been spoken. -jack


Feb 21:

    Great, looks good. Could we trouble you for a shot of the bag (along with the box and wrapping if you still got it, if not, no worries)?

Feb 21: ben–i’ll try for the bag, but it’s been awful hard to pry it from my wife’s cold fingers. and the thing is she works during the day and i work at night. i’ll shoot a note to my son and get him on the case. j




We do believe this qualifies for one of them fancy “Above and Beyond” accolades. Props to Michael for pushing the issue to Franz, and to Franz for getting so involved. Would customer service improve if more executive information was publicly available instead of people squirreling through phone trees to get it? That’s our hypothesis and that’s why we’ll continue to post it. — BEN POPKEN


Edit Your Comment

  1. shoegazer says:


    That sound you hear is of Michele’s head metaphorically being separated from her body by her supervisor.

    Still, good on Bloomingdale’s.

  2. lore says:

    Wow, that’s fantastic. Another reason to buy haute couture stuff from stores like Bloomingdale’s instead of off eBay or through third-party vendors.

  3. lore says:

    @shoegazer: Nah, I doubt it.

    If management fired everyone because their customers were put through an unsatisfactory situation, then they’d have no one working for them.

    And it wasn’t like Michele purposefully – like that Lycos e-mail customer service snake – tried to deceive Jack and his wife. She was doing what she thought was in good faith (allowing the exchange that long after purchase is already a pretty generous policy) but was screwed when Kate Spade decided to discontinue the bag.

    Like the letter writer said, this was a good learning experience for her.

  4. thejbs says:

    should Mrs. Bell’s name be blacked out too?

  5. LAGirl says:

    i love Kate Spade bags. collect them, in fact. i would have been VERY p.o’d if i sent a bag in for replacement and never saw it again. KS fans are pretty hardcore.

    it’s nice that they sent you a bag, for free….but…it ain’t no Kate Spade. just curious as to which bag you sent back? wondering if i have the same one. also, if she was very attached to the original bag, there is a very good chance she can find another one on EBay.

  6. zl9600 says:

    All this time I thought shit floated. Now I’m told here that it rolls downhill.

    I think I need some of the Wild Turkey in the background of that photo (?)

  7. soj17 says:

    Not really sure you deserved a free anything. Seems like you were treated fairly as they did refund the purchase price without any issues. But I guess if your wife is happy with a shit brown bag while drinking her mocha latte frappawhatever and running over people in her H2 and talking on her cell phone, so be it.

  8. TaxChick says:

    I disagree that it “ain’t no KS.” I too am a KS fanatic. Preppiness is in the blood. But come on, a FURLA? Italian leathergoods? FURLA tends to be at the same price point, if not higher, than KS. I think Bloomie’s did a great job here at the end and am frankly not surprised. It was my favorite as a teenager and is still in the top 3 now!

  9. klondikedog says:

    My wife loves the Kate Spade too. We have had excellent experiences with returning a bag to Nordstrom after a year. The leather started to fade, called Nordstrom, brought in the bag and they handed me a new one.

    Sadly, it is often the higher-priced places more willing to help (Saks, Nordstrom, Neiman Marcus, etc…). I recently had excellent luck with a Saks store in Ct. (I’m in Ohio). When Saks was out of the item I was looking for, they called some stores for me, transferred me to the store and I had a package on my desk the next day.


  10. MeOhMy says:

    That replacement bag is horrendously ugly. I don’t care if it’s a $1000 bag…it’s awful.

    Frankly, after the second one had broken I would have skipped Bloomies and screamed directly at Kate Spade. $400 for a purse it better be TOP NOTCH.

  11. The Unicorn says:

    The letter mentions that the Furla bag was “of interest” to the submitter’s wife, so presumably they didn’t just randomly pick a bag out of their warehouse to send to her.

    I think this is really great of them, & I also appreciate the tone the letter takes toward Michelle — it’s not “heads will roll,” but vindicates her while simultaneously placating the customer. The best managers will do this, rather than sell out the lower-level employees in an effort to make things right for the customer; too often, you’re just given the “well, so-and-so screwed up” explanation, which doesn’t do much to restore one’s confidence that it won’t happen again.

  12. AcidReign says:

    …..I’m a manager, and I firmly believe that I wouldn’t have a job if everyone under me would do their jobs like they’re supposed to. People don’t, though. There are all sorts of options for keeping screw-ups down, from decapitation, write-ups, tirades, docking pay, etc. Or maybe having set, easy to understand policies, and pay good enough to hire people with an IQ over 70….

    …..But, bad stuff’s still going to happen from time to time. Part the manager’s job is to fix it, and I’d say the Bloomingdale’s Prez did that pretty well!