A few weeks ago, I had the great fortune of rooming with a coworker for a work conference. While most people would groan about sharing a hotel room during a conference, we are not most people, so we had an absolute ball. It felt like we were college roomies, dividing up the bathroom counters to put on our make-up, and opening the window at bedtime to let the San Francisco breeze into our room. At bedtime, we stayed up way too late laughing our heads off thinking about waking up with pigeons all over our beds.
Our unique roommate situation gave us the ability to get to know each other much better, and at one point I discussed my weird body type that requires straight lines, because if I try to wear a skirt with a cinched waist that flares out, I look like the broad side of not one but two barns. One evening while my roommate was checking Facebook, she pointed out a photo of a yellow dress with a straight silhouette and said, “This would look great on you! You should get this!”
Here is the dress.
Maybe I don’t have ivory, rail thin Anne Hathway arms. I’m certainly not the size of the woman in this picture. However, this silhouette generally works for me, so I started doing the research to find the company that sells this pretty mustard yellow dress. Soon, I became hell bent on wearing this dress to my stepdaughter’s upcoming graduation.
Enter Stylewe.com, a company that sells reasonably-priced clothing online. A quick and easy search of yellow dresses, and I was in business. Several days later, the dress came in the mail, and as soon as I felt the material, I knew we had a problem. It felt like a cheap nightgown that mated with a polyester napkin from Luby’s. I yanked it out of the package and instead of the solid mustard color above, a dress that looked like the dried contents of a newborns’s diaper emerged.
I was annoyed but I didn’t lose my mind over it; I’ve ordered plenty of things in the past that didn’t quite fit the description or the image, and it’s easy enough to ship them back for a refund. I dug inside the package and instead of a return shipping label, I found a card with printed instructions on how to request an exchange. Hmm.
To request an exchange from “Stylewe.com,” you have to go through some kind of retail treasure hunt where you go back to the email order confirmation, find the return area and fill out a little survey explaining why you’re returning it. Not exactly Nordstrom, but still, it was easy enough. My responses included that the color wasn’t as advertised, and that the material was inexpensive. Both are extremely true statements to describe this sad excuse for a dress. I didn’t mention the completely askew ruching, the flared hemline, or the shoddy seams; I figured two decent reasons were plenty. When I submitted the survey, I received an auto response that I would hear something back within 24 hours. Hmm again.
Within 24 hours, I received an email from Elaine, Customer Service Rep:
Hi Amy ,
As for the color issue item, could you please help to take photos of the unsatisfied color issue item and explain the reasons to us so that we can check and handle the issue for you.
Oh, Elaine. Did you somehow miss my online survey where I clearly expressed that the color wasn’t as advertised and that the material didn’t meet my needs?
I wasn’t in the mood to play around, so I replied back.
I am sending the dress back. I hate it. Please refund me and when I send it back, you can look at the color.
The next day, I received a reply from Elaine’s colleague Royce. Either I was a little too hard on Elaine, or she made the brilliant life decision to quit her job at Stylewe.
Hi Amy ,
Royce, you are quite welcome for information. For you, I have many “question.” Question #1: Do you want to know what the “unsatisfied color issue item” is? It’s this hideous fast fashion garment that looks like someone puked up a Taco Bell crunch wrap and painted it onto a thin polyester canvas and called it a dress. Question #2: How can we expedite this terrible process? Royce, that answer is SO EASY. I will shove this heinous dress into the bag and send it to you. When you get it, you will open up the bag, look at the color, take a moment to gag over the keyboard of your 1989 desktop computer, then immediatley issue my gosh darned refund. Sound good, Royce?
Realizing we were just going in circles here, and that Royce and the Stylewe crew are holding my refund money hostage until I procure a photo, I know that if I am ever going to see a dime back from this unfortunate purchase, I’m gonna have to do what they say.
Fine. Royce, here’s your photo of this wrinkled, cheap, hideous “color issue item.”