Tuesday, September 21, 2010

American Apparel, Never again

A little while back I had to go to California for my Grandmother's Unveiling Ceremony, and afterwards we went to an outlet mall to take our minds off of the day.

My sister and I walked into an American Apparel store, because she had gotten a shirt/skirt thing there last year, and I had thought it was cute.  We walked in, where the hipsters working there got busy ignoring us, causing us to have to basically trip one for help.  We found the item, I tried on a couple of them, and decided on one.  At this point my sister had found 3 items she wanted to try on, so I gave her my room and made my way to the counter.

My sister was done with her room before I could get anyone to come to the front to sell me my item.  It put me off almost to the point where I really should have walked out.  The girl checking me out stuffed the skirt into a bag, then informed me that because it was an outlet, this was a final sale item.  I agreed and paid and left.

Upon arriving back in Vegas, I took the skirt out to put on, and noticed there was a red marker stain on the skirt.  I checked the receipt, and though it was a final sale, I could exchange it for another skirt, which is basically all that I wanted.

Sadly, the only American Apparel outlet store in Vegas is located in the smack dab middle of the outdoor Charleston Outlet Mall.

So, in 114 degree weather, I downed an entire bottle of water and set out to exchange my skirt.  By the time I made it there I was covered in sweat, tired and irritated.  I walked right up to the counter and explained my situation.

At first, they tried to tell me that I couldn't exchange it because it was from a different store.  Because I was hot and irritated, I immediately asked if they expected me to haul this defective skirt all the way back to Gilroy, California in order to exchange it.

Sensing my irritation, the hipsters took me over to pick up a new skirt.  They didn't have one in the color I wanted, so I choose another color.  He checked the tag for my size, then exchanged it and I took off running into the heat.

The next day I took it out to wear it, and noticed the price tag and the actual tag had two different sizes on it.  It was, of course, the wrong size.  So again I ventured into the heat and went straight to the skirts to pick out my own so that I'd never have to come back again.  It was then I noticed they had one in my original color and my size!  Excited, I grabbed for it and pulled it out.

My eyes wandered down the skirt and suddenly I saw it: the red mark.  This was my original skirt.  They took my defective skirt, and put it back on the rack like it was fine.  I was floored.  Who would do something like that?  Was it a mistake?  Maybe a misunderstanding between the hipsters, and it suddenly got back on the rack.  Should I take it back up there and let them know the mistake?

I decided to leave it on the rack and go up for the exchange.  Head Hipster mentioned he remembered me, and I so I couldn't help but point out that the skirt I returned was on the rack, and did he know that?  At this point another employee has come up and pipes in with "Oh yeah, we do that all the time.  People know it's an outlet, so they expect something to be wrong with it when they buy it.  I'm sure someone will buy that skirt."

I was floored.  Is this really what people expect when they buy things from outlet stores?  Am I out of touch with reality?  I always thought outlets were for things that were last season, or they made too many.  I never expected to buy anything from an outlet that was out and out defective or stained.  I wouldn't pay anything for something that was stained.

It's for this reason I will no longer be shopping at American Apparel.  Until their standards are up to...well, any standard, I won't be there.
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