Update: Macy's Apologizes For Confiscating Your Item Because Another Customer Wants It

Dyan says that Macy’s contacted her with the apology she was looking for.

Here it is:

I wanted to apologize personally for the way you were treated in our store. I’m very sorry that you were dismissed so rudely. I have looked into the situation you described and have discovered that there is no policy that outlines customer service in this kind of situation. We like to think that we give our employees enough training and flexibility to make smart customer service decisions even without direct guidance, but unfortunately (as you have experienced) this isn’t always the case. There were many alternatives that our employee could have chosen to make sure that both customers in this situation went home happy, and our employee failed in that regard. Although I have not heard our employee’s side of the story, there’s simply never an excuse for that kind of rude behavior, especially from a manager (if that was, in fact, the identity of the employee in question).

With your permission, I would like to take corrective action so that this employee can learn from his mistake. Do you happen to recall the employee’s name, and/or the location of the store you were visiting that day? Rest assured that the employee will not be terminated – I’ll simply recommend that he be given more training when it comes to customer service so that we can avoid problems like this in the future.

Once again, please accept my sincerest apologies; thank you for bringing this to my attention, and I hope we can convince you to shop at Macy’s again.

It seems that anarchy will no longer rule at that particular Macy’s.

(Photo:Ben Popken)


Edit Your Comment

  1. Smooooth says:

    “Rest assured that the employee will not be terminated”

    Phew, now I can get a good night’s sleep!

    But, it is good to see Macy’s admitting the problem and taking some initiative to correct it.

  2. BlondeGrlz says:

    Please find enclosed a $20 gift card so you can purchase that pot you wanted?? No?

  3. Juggernaut says:

    @BlondeGrlz: Yeah, what about the obligatory coupon?

  4. dorianh49 says:

    a href=”#c5331626″>BlondeGrlz: You can use gift cards? Oh, cookware.@<

  5. dorianh49 says:

    Yeah; that worked.

    @BlondeGrlz: You can use gift cards? Oh, cookware.

  6. Geminijinx07 says:

    @Smooooth: I think it’s an important thing to include though – a lot of people don’t want to complain about things because they don’t want to get someone fired.

  7. velvetjones says:

    Thank you Macy’s for skirting the issue. Would it kill them to get her that freaking pan?

    Also, I think adding “Be nice” to the policy handbook might cover this one.

  8. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    Nothing, absolutely nothing, infuriates me more than this sort of cheap, insincere apology. It sounds good, sure, but a real apology comes with an assurance that the wrong will be undone somehow. Did this? No. All it really says is , “Sorry, ma’am, we’ll talk to him and make sure he doesn’t screw someone else. You, however, can twist in the wind.” Inept, clueless non-apologies like this don’t make me any readier to go back to shopping at Macy’s. Piss on them.

  9. brianala says:

    A similar thing happened to me at GameStop. It was right after Paper Mario came out for Wii, and I managed to walk in and find the very last copy on the shelf. I picked it up and was looking at the back of it when an employee came up and said, “I need that,” and reached out and grabbed the game from me. He took it back up to the front counter with him and promptly sold it to someone.

    I was so stunned I couldn’t say anything except, “Excuse me?!”

    On the way out I may or may not have accidentally knocked over a row of games on the shelf I’d been looking at.

    I still can’t believe the audacity, to just come up and grab something out of a customer’s hands. I’ve not gone back to that store since.

  10. b612markt says:

    It doesn’t sound like an insincere apology to me, it sounds pretty good to me. The customer wasn’t out any money or ripped off. It does suck that they didn’t get the pan, but maybe the customer can work it out with this head honcho guy.

    Rogue employees tick me off. Glad Macy’s will give ’em a talking to.

  11. stephenjames716 says:

    an apology is nice, but a gift card is nicer.

  12. mrjimbo19 says:

    “I sent them an email, but haven’t heard anything back yet. I’m not looking for anything from Macy’s, except maybe the apology I didn’t get Saturday.”

    This is her last comment in the message she sent in. She is not looking for a handout she was looking for an apology which she received promptly from them. Perhaps they will send more or a gift card when she responds back to their additional questions as they still have an open dialog with the customer.

  13. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    @b612markt: It’s no good. A sincere apology consists of, “I feel personally responsible for the harm I did to you (through the people who represent me), and this is what I am going to do to make sure the right thing happens instead. I can’t pretend the harm did not happen, but I would like to help by doing what I can to regain your trust and confidence.”

  14. sgodun says:

    I have looked into the situation you described and have discovered that there is no policy that outlines customer service in this kind of situation.

    And there, in a nutshell, is the problem with customer service: If there’s no policy, employees are not allowed to THINK FOR THEMSELVES and INVENT A REASONABLE POSITIVE CUSTOMER SERVICE EXPERIENCE.

  15. ThunderRoad says:

    The OP’s email was ignored. Only getting it to Consumerist raised it to “give-a-shit” levels at Macy’s.

  16. I also dislike these thin little policies. Recently my privacy was violated (basically my improperly packaged prescription made incredibly obvious to everyone in the vicinity of the pharmacy area) by a foolish and unapologetic pharmacist at Rite Aid. After a lengthy e-mail complaint, someone at corporate promised a quick response from a regional manager. No response came, so I e-mailed the person from corporate back asking what had happened. S/he (name was ambiguous, and it was e-mail after all) expressed surprise. Eventually, a regional manager called and left me a message saying he was sorry, and that I’d be receiving something in my e-mail. What I received in my e-mail was a pretty basic form letter. Even worse, the subject line was “Sample Complaint Letter11.doc”. They didn’t have to give me a coupon or a gift card, but a little actual attention would have made all the difference. Rite Aid lost a customer for life.

  17. Froggmann says:

    Hey, at least they are taking it seriously.

  18. dks76 says:

    @mrjimbo19: Exactly. I did reply back to him, and him to me, after the apology email. I’m not being given anything, but that wasn’t my intent in the first place.

  19. azntg says:

    The letter is a decent start.

    Couldn’t they also have sent her a raincheck so that she can just buy the pot she wanted at the same price (unless the price of the pot is even lower now due to a sale, etc.)

  20. BlondeGrlz says:

    @sgodun: I think the problem in this case is the employee was expected to think for himself, and the hampster fell off the wheel.

  21. Craig says:

    I thought this was nicely handled on Macy’s part. For all those who expect more, have we really come to the point as a society where we expect monetary compensation every time someone treats us rudely?

  22. Nicholas_schaulsohn says:

    This whole thing is a joke.

    The other customer asked for the pot first, the Manager was looking in the back before taking the display copy.

    I would have felt worst for the other person had this woman been given the last pot over the person who was there first.

  23. Nicholas_schaulsohn says:



  24. Buran says:

    @Nicholas_schaulsohn: You don’t know that, and it’s also a violation of personal space and just plain REALLY RUDE and unacceptable to just yank things out of peoples’ hands or walk up to someone and demand that they give you something, out of the blue, AFTER they already got permission from a store employee to buy the display pot!

  25. Buran says:

    @Craig: Blame the fact that big business only pays attention when money is involved. You want to change? You’ve got to affect it in a way that’ll actually get noticed.

    The corporations got themselves into that fix.

  26. FoxintheSnow says:

    @Craig: Agreed. I thought this was a nice response letter. Doesn’t sound like a form letter that they added her name to and printed out.

    It would have been nice if they had sent out the letter from her first email complaint tho.

  27. DrGirlfriend says:

    Why must Macy’s grovel? this letter appeas to have been written expressly to the OP, and is not a form letter. It says they are sorry, what the employee did was wrong, and says what will be done to correct the mistake.

    Every store and every company will always have someone who is not the sharpest knife in the drawer working for them.

    I agree a raincheck for the pan would have been nice. However, in terms of the letter itself, it seems fine to me.

  28. Roxie says:

    @speedwell: Personally, I think Macys’s response was sincere. I understand taking responsibility for what your people have done, but my thing is…well, just like the Macy’s rep who wrote the apology, you were never there. Just like the Macy’s rep who wrote the apology, you weren’t the offending employee who snatched that $19.99 cast-iron pot from the OP, and you don’t personally know the people involved. If you, personally, were not there and you don’t know the people involved, then how can you make that kind of apology that you’ve written and sincerely, truly mean it? :S Don’t get me wrong here–I’m glad that you feel for the OP so strongly and I wish that there were more PEOPLE in general who are as sympathetic as you have shown you can be. On the other hand, I also feel there are limits to how sorry these people should feel, especially if they were never there, didn’t personally see what had happened, and don’t know the people involved. How willing are you to take the fall and the blame for some miscellaneous person in the company, no matter how high up in the system you are? And are you obligated to live/breathe/eat/sleep your job to the point where you’re that personally offended and hurt when something like this happens? This is what I’m considering here, and with all this in mind, I think the Macy’s rep who wrote this apology was very sincere and did a great job. I think the Macy’s rep could do an even better job and just give the OP the pan she had wanted, or else give her a gift card that would cover the amount of said pan, but the apology given to the OP is a good start, I think. :)

  29. impetus says:

    “It seems that anarchy will no longer rule at that particular Macy’s.”

    Madness? This… Is… MACYYYYYYY’S!”

  30. Vanvi says:

    @speedwell: Some people complain so that others won’t have similar bad experiences in the future, not just for their own benefit.

  31. roopesh says:

    To me a better response would’ve been “Rest assured the employee will be disciplined and retrained. We take the matter seriously and will consider termination if our investigation warrants the outcome.”

  32. howie_in_az says:

    @generalhousewifery: Did you send a response with the subject line of “CompanyLosesCustomer.doc”, complete with “I will no longer patron *INSERT COMPANY NAME HERE*” somewhere in the body?

  33. @howie_in_az: Actually, I sent a note to the regional manager, which I will reproduce below. I wish I’d been been more imaginative with my subject line. Incidentally, he responded with the same wishy-washy nonsense a little later.

    Here’s a tip: next time you want to keep a customer rather than further alienate one, try having your secretary/assistant/whoever [redacted] is change the subject of the e-mail from “sample complaint letter 11.doc” to something that sounds real (“We’re Sorry”, “About Your Complaint/Issue” or “Response to Complaint #XXXXX” are suitable options). While I appreciate your telephone call, I have to say, I cannot help but feel as though my concerns have been largely ignored and this meaningless form letter has been thrust at me in an attempt to pacify me. You might as well have addressed it “Dear Customer”.

  34. thalia says:

    What is everyone’s damage here? We all bitched for an apology, and she got one, and now we’re bitching about how much we hate insincere apologies. WTF people? And demanding a gift card over a situation that really wasn’t that big of a deal anyways…come on.

  35. deleterious says:

    @nursethalia: Been here long? Bitching and general discontentedness is pretty much all that ever happens here.

  36. cerbie says:

    @stephenjames716: Wow. You’ve just summed up every retail-related class action lawsuit in history, I think!