Speaking with your Wallet

Me on social media this week, watching the whole Tailored Sportsman Debacle unravel:

Image result for popcorn gif

Mostly because a few years ago I had the fortune (misfortune?) of seeing this kind of behavior from them up close and in person. Before that day I had always liked supporting the company, since they’re made in the US, but what I witnessed caused them to lose my business forever. Haven’t bought a single thing from their brand since. Granted, they’re the most popular h/j breech brand on the market, so I don’t think they’re hurting from losing my business in particular. Might be a little different now that a lot of other people are feeling the same way. I have to admit, I was a little bit delighted to see their craziness broadcast loud and clear all over the internet for everyone to see.

As consumers, we do at least have the power to vote with our feet, speak with our wallets, and take our business elsewhere. These days there’s plenty of competition across just about any market, so it’s rare that you have to settle for buying products from a brand you’ve had a bad experience with.

SJ3 (002)
so many of my favorite companies represented in one picture

Of course, having a bad experience with a company doesn’t always mean that someone else has or will experience the same. Sometimes mistakes just happen. Being a blogger, my opinions and preferences are readily known, and I’ve had people message or email me about a bad experience they’ve had with companies that I like. I appreciate knowing, but at the same time it doesn’t really lessen the fact that my personal experience was positive, nor can I do anything about your issue, nor am I privy to the details of what actually happened (let’s be honest, there are often two sides to everything). The opposite is also true: there are a few companies I’ve had terrible experiences with that most other people love. Tis what it tis. Luckily for all of us, there are plenty of other choices out there that we are free to utilize.

I will admit that I am fairly forgiving, as a customer. I know that mistakes can happen, so what really makes or breaks the situation for me is how the company handles it. I also try to be realistic… if I wash something incorrectly, or if I don’t communicate effectively/timely, or if my horse did something stupid and broke something because that’s what horses do, I don’t feel like it’s someone else’s fault or like someone owes me something. Some of the complaints you see from people can border on downright ludicrous. I’ve worked in enough retail situations to know that some people are just impossible to please, or out to get something for free. The customer definitely is not always right, but in this day and age companies almost have to go along with that line of thinking.

definitely always looking to get something for free

On the flip side of the coin, when you spend a lot of money on something there is an expectation of quality, and it’s nice to see a company that stands behind it’s products. This situation can be such a fine line though, and a slippery slope. Having been both a consumer and a retail associate, I can see a lot of situations both ways. Hence why I don’t want to get involved in other people’s transactions.

What’s a lot more black and white is customer service. Rudeness is never okay – from EITHER side. I strive to always be polite when things go wrong, and I expect the same in return. Any hint of rudeness and I’m out. I also expect a company to fix their mistakes immediately, if and when they happen. The same is expected of me at work, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to expect it from others.

service with a smile?

For as long as I’ve been involved in the horse world, only a few companies have made it onto my “never buy from” list. For the most part I think this industry does a really good job of trying to make sure that they have satisfied customers, and I’ve enjoyed really great relationships with many different companies. That’s what makes it so easy to speak with my wallet in regard to companies like TS… there are plenty more out there with similar products and no attitude.

What kind of expectations do you have when it comes to customer service, or basic interactions with equestrian companies? What type of behavior will automatically lose your business? And, maybe more interestingly… are you a good customer?

26 thoughts on “Speaking with your Wallet

  1. I agree with you that we need to speak with our wallets. I’m disappointed in TS. I had no idea many people have had these issues with the company until seeing this debacle play out. I think in this day and age of online reviews and social media, companies need to be cognizant of the effect negative press can have on them. I always wondered why TS doesn’t have social media, but I’m kind of realizing that its probably a good thing they don’t.

    Unfortunately for me, TS breeches fit me really well and I like how they look. However, I’m very hesitant to purchase more in the future based on the owner’s responses to a completely legitimate reason for this person selling the breeches she purchased. I understand setting prices and not allowing discounts, but a company can’t (or shouldn’t) control anything once that merchandise leaves a store.

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  2. I just don’t even think TS are that good with all the new awesome brands coming out. Granted, I haven’t tried on a pair since the old green ugly s*** that was the THING one had to show in. But, yeah, never gone back after that. Something that controls unwittingly or deliberately a market, even people’s opinion, makes me go the other way. There is another brand that does that that I do not care for.

    I think TS is trying to cling to a market they are slowly losing. And lashing out like that is a big indicator of insecurity. Inappropriate.

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  3. don’t piss me off people. As someone said about me last week I am so laidback and easy to please that if you (NOT YOU AMANDA LOL but others) piss me off you must have really done something wrong. I DO hold a grudge. If you treat me well (RW i am looking at you and Mango Bay etc) I will come back and back and back again. AND just be nice. You are right. JUST BE NICE even if there is an issue if you are nice I will probably be okay. OMG its not rocket science 😉 HA Great post!

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    1. I’ve had people tell me that a lot, too. I’m super easy-going, but they’ve said I’ve been scary if you do enough to piss me off. And just like you, it takes a LOT to piss me off. Less if it’s about my animals. I always try to be a kind consumer because I’ve been there and know that customer service/being a retail worker is really hard when you have people yelling at you a lot. But when I put that kindness forward, I expect it back. And if they don’t – well, then goodbye. Yeah, totally not rocket science!

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  4. I haven’t heard about the TS debacle online yet but I’m not surprised that an issue has cropped up. When I worked at the local tack shop dealing with TS was a big pain in everyone’s ass bc the lady was batshit crazy. If she found out that a store put her products on sale without her permission (which rarely happened, usually right before she’d up the prices) she’d flip out and no longer let that store sell TS. The store was always polite and did what she required bc the pants sold like hot cakes and were a big money maker. Now I’m going to go read what the hell is going on bc I’m curious as hell!!

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    1. I should probably add that only a few people in the store were allowed to talk to her bc they didn’t want a newer associate asking about a product and saying something that would make her mad, so all in all the store had a very good working relationship with TS but it was something that was monitored very closely bc she would get testy if she thought something was being sold incorrectly. I probably shouldn’t of said she was batshit crazy but her intensity can come across very strong and obviously escalated into her accusing the person of bootlegging her product!

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  5. I had to read the post you cited – I hadn’t known anything about this. Then again, I’ve never bought Tailored Sportsman. From your suggestions on fit I didn’t think they’d do well with my body type, but I’ve stuck with companies that I’ve known forever and have always gotten along with – rj classics, ariat, wrangler, and others. I just couldn’t get myself to pay that much money for breeches (the rj gulfs are probably as high as I can go) and for some reason I just never liked them. This whole debacle, though, is really why I’ve loved reading your small business spotlights. I’ve been introduced to so many good companies that I would have never known about, and while sometimes the prices are a little higher for small businesses, they make their business about customer service, and it really really pays off in the end. I’d more readily spend a few extra dollars because I like the experience than pay less yet have a hassle. I hadn’t planned on buying TS breeches, but now I don’t think I ever will. Customer service means a lot, and I agree – we can speak with our wallets, and I think that’s just what most of us are going to do.

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  6. So weird. That is really bizarre behavior from a CEO of a large and successful brand….I almost want to give her the benefit of the doubt and say she was being impersonated by a bot or catfished or something, but then again there are some truly clueless people out there, who have somehow become successful in life despite themselves.

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  7. From a consumer standpoint, we as a barn made a decision to put our money where our mouth is when it comes to shows. One of the places where we used to attend EVERY single show is no longer in our rotation at all- that’s a solid 8-10 horses they’re now missing. Sure, that’s a drop in the bucket compared to the hundreds of entries, but we’re not the only barn doing that. I think it’s important to vote with your wallet when it comes to products or experiences- often it’s the most direct and effective way we have to communicate with these brands.

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  8. I try to give retailers the benefit of the doubt, to a point where I am hesitant to contact them about something going wrong with a product because I assume I didn’t follow the care/washing instructions or something like that. But when a business owner steps in to a private, post-retail sale because their goods are being sold second-hand and they just don’t like that … I’m sorry, what?? Get a life.

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  9. I mean, I do put my money where my mouth is. TS doesn’t make my size so they were never getting my business in the first place but I do go out of my way to support retailers and companies that provide products for me to use in a discipline that does not favor my body type.

    Reading that exchange just solidifies that even if I ever get to a point where I’d be able to fit into and afford TS, I won’t. I’ll keep supporting the other companies who are more accessible.

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  10. I’ve never personally had an issue with TS, but yikes! I’m currently trying to sell some new w/ tags TS on the same facebook group as Brianna… surprised Susan didn’t come after me! I have a ton of pairs and they fit really well, so I’ll continue to wear them. Definitely gives me pause about buying more in the future though.

    I do try to put my money where my mouth is though. I’ve had quite a few negative experiences with Smartpak’s customer service, and I now refuse to buy anything from them unless I’m literally desperate. Basically the last straw for me was when they told me that a nameplate they installed on my horse’s UNWORN $150 show halter couldn’t be removed and I should just buy a new halter… why tf they would install nameplates that can’t be removed, I have no earthly idea. Hillary and I managed to finally wrangle it off with some very dedicated team work haha.

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  11. Having also done my stint working in retail for a few years, I am super forgiving if I order something and there is a simple error in stock pulling the wrong product or a slight delay in shipping. However, WEEKS of a shipping delay while being told it will ‘just be a few more days’ from a well-known UK company made me just throw my hands up and cancel the order and I no longer shop with them – there are just too many other better options out there. I also am obsessive about having back-ups for everything (blankets, bell boots, fly spray etc) so I’m never in a pinch where I need to freak out over an order being slightly late. So on the whole, I’ve had good experiences with online shopping.

    HOWEVER – local tack stores are a different story. I’ve had so many mixed experiences where sometimes the help is wonderful and knowledgeable, other times where I have been 100% ignored while they look bored and chat among themselves. As much as I love supporting small, local businesses I cant stand poor customer service. Its as simple as saying hello to a customer when they walk in the door. I get it, retail can suck and doesn’t pay well, but you are surrounded by horse stuff ALL DAY – you should be interested in it and want to talk about your products. There are certain brands I wont buy for poor quality, and certain stores I wont go to just due to their poor customer service from their sales associates.

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  12. Ohhh… I missed this drama! I’ll have to go check it out. I am 100% in agreement about everything you said here. I don’t have unrealistic expectations, and I think often times I don’t bother trying to get a refund or replacement when I probably should on some things. But when there’s a real defect or whatever, I’m going to ask nicely and expect to be treated the same way. I’ll admit though, once I’m treated with an attitude mine comes out too… And I’m the child of a crazy little woman from Brooklyn so you can probably imagine how big that attitude might get.

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  13. This is the first I heard about the TS debacle. It was an interesting read. I don’t like the way TS fits me (however I only have tried on a single used pair, so probably not the best thing to judge them on). That is appalling behavior from the owner though. Good customer service is incredibly important to me. I very rarely have ever found a company that I downright won’t work with or go back to, but of the handful that I no longer buy from – they were all due to horrible customer service.

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  14. OMG! I had to laugh reading that whole exchange! People are crazy! Once you’ve bought something, it’s yours to do what you want with! And it’s never ok to hassle people online. I do kind of wonder, though, if Brianna had just said “I bought them from ABC tack store in October and they only allow returns for 60 days” instead of being vague if it would have made a difference. Most likely the TS lady would have commenced hassling the store.

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  15. Wow. Just wow. I have never been a fan of TS anyway because they just seemed too trendy/faddish to me (and the side zip, cockeyed belt buckle thing just didn’t do it for me haha), and this crazy unprofessionalism just solidifies to me that I will never own a pair. Good gravy.

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  16. I missed that drama … sadly TS trophies hunters fit me like they were made for me 🙈 Soooooo as much as I don’t want to support someone like that, I’ll still wear and show in the pairs I have. When I need to buy new breeches, I’ll have to go try some new brands.

    I am definitely a loyal good customer till you screw me over, then I want nothing to do with you. I am more then willing to shovel out good change for something I like too- I’d rather have good quality over quantity.

    Also, I am not happy when the company ‘makes it right’ but then treats you like crap… your mess up it’s my fault folks.

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  17. This stuff from the owner of TS doesn’t surprise me in the least. I’ve honestly been glad to see other brands start to take market share because it’s just not worth the hassle.

    I wanted made in the USA breeches. So I learned to make my own. I’m still figuring out fabrics but I’m pretty close and have a couple pairs done for myself now. Maybe someday I’ll market them? Who knows. But at least I know where the fabric and the labor came from.

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  18. I remember seeing Brianna post those screenshots . . . yikes to say the least. Not really sure if the CEO knows the definition of bootlegging, but that’s another issue. If a company sends me what I asked for in the time frame specified, I have no complaints. I’ve always been in a weird situation with Equestrian Collections though. They’re my main place to buy from, and I’ve NEVER even had a small issue with them. They’re absolutely squeaky clean with me, but to other people? The company is a certified hellstorm. Tomayto, tomahto, I’m still a loyal customer. I take every review with a grain of salt, usually a couple grains if what I’m buying isn’t that pricey and I can take the financial risk.

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  19. I’ve been following along with the debacle also- the comments have gotten me through many a slow day at work. I don’t own/never have owned TS, but after this I’ll never buy anything from them for sure.

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  20. Quite frankly, I had the reseller in question in this story try to defraud me (bought one of my items for resale–which I don’t care about, have at it if that’s what you want to do–then filed a Paypal claim demanding that I refund her money AND she gets to keep the item). Needless to say, she lost that claim, but I don’t have blanket trust in her statements…

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  21. I definitely am one that will speak with my wallet and as a plus sized rider that can be tough since we already don’t have a lot of options! I have been meaning to do a post on my blog about the customer service I recently received from Fuller Fillies. I purchased their boots and I had an issue with the zipper. I was not upset at all that the zipper was broken what upset me was the response that I got where the owner blamed it on me stating that in her almost 8 years of business they only had 1 instance of a customer having an issue with their boots so she knew that this was my fault. She went as far as to say I was lying. I am one that will use my wallet AND my voice and let me tell you EVERYONE at my barn knows of her response and while my blog doesn’t have as many followers as yours does I will still be letting my followers know! It really kills me though because the boots really are great and it was a very quick and cheap fix but because of her customer service I will never buy anything from Fuller Fillies again.

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