I should write terrible "shopping" experience, because I didn't end up buying anything from Dandelion Vintage. I'll tell you why after I acknowledge this fact: I realize that my writing about the shop gives it more traffic. A double-edged sword, I know, but I was planning a review anyway.
First, some background info: we plus ladies know how hard it is to find vintage clothes in extended sizing, and I am always on the search for new places. I went to DandelionVintage.com, which has low-priced pieces dating back 100 years or more. I checked it out; they have some larger pieces, and I put a review note on my editorial calendar. Then, as anyone would do, I starting shopping for myself.
Cut to a few days later: I had been emailing back and forth with the owner of the shop, trying to decide what I wanted to buy and how much it would cost to ship it. I asked about a hat, but I decided to buy a bag and said that I would like to purchase the bag (verbatim) as long as the shipping quote was reasonable. The shipping prices were sent, but two days later, the bag was sold to someone else. I only found out because I realized that I had not received my invoice and had contacted the seller.
What happened? The website, run by one person to whom I was writing, claims that one can either email to purchase or to "add to cart" in the system, although one can't actually pay on the website. I chose the first option; I asked to get a shipping quote so that I know how much to pay, but I suppose my correspondence was trumped by the online check-out system.
As a customer, it's not enjoyable to be told "I had a customer today order the purse and 3 other items" in defense, as if a smaller purchase is automatically not worth the bother. That's a reprehensible way of doing business, because one happy customer, big or small, brings others.
How did I expect to be treated? I wish I had received a courtesy email before the other person bought my piece out from under me, nothing more. I said I would be buying the bag two days before it was sold; per shop policy, I have seven days to submit payment. I thought my bag was on hold, and wouldn't you?
Even if I don't understand the nuances of doing business with Dandelion Vintage, I expect things to be put right in some way. I don't want to hear justification of shop practices/policy when I am upset; it's distasteful and not in the tradition of small business. I am a loyal and trustworthy customer, as you ladies know, and my patronage of shops goes back years. (It also stretches across three continents, which is part of the reason I'm in Brazil right now.) Trust me, it's better to shop somewhere that values all customers, big and small, and that uses an up-to-date checkout system that's convenient and clear.
With all the low-cost e-commerce solutions out there, you'd think you wouldn't have to deal with a company on the internet that doesn't feature some form of immediate payment and an easy shipping chart. If it's going to be antiquated and fiddly, then you expect to have personalized service as you muddle through. Emailing back and forth causes communication issues, plain and simple.
I'm somewhat glad I didn't give my money to Dandelion Vintage. Why support a company that leaves customers feeling cheated and belittled? I literally imagined the shopkeeper looking at someone else's order form with the bag and laughing because she sold it to someone else--that's how bad my experience was. (When fashion's your life, these things get personal!) I also find it hard to believe that she didn't think of our correspondence when she processed the payment for the other customer. Were there any red flags?
This leaves a terrible taste in my mouth, but at least you've been warned about DandelionVintage.com. I feel like I've done my duty. Shop at your own risk! The formal review on this site will be published next week. I'm wavering between two and two-and-a-half stars.
Oh, and don't forget: share your terrible shopping experience here. I double-posted by accident, but that second one should be going away soon.
I would almost bet that the FAQs were updated because of me; see second asterisk in "How do I place an order?" It sounds *very familiar*. Also, as an FYI, the website notes that "I've only ever received a few letters telling me that I suck, so I guess I am doing a pretty good job!"