I don't shop retail all that much - we all know I'm cheap. When I do shop a retail establishment, I expect that that higher price tag will bring a level of service I don't get when scrounging through random piles of cast-offs at the swap meet. I expect to have the luxury of easy (read: hassle and argument-free) returns and of easy shopping. This is what retail establishments are supposed to provide, right?

But I returned two pairs of boots to Piperlime, both delivered and signed for by them on the 5th, and I've yet to receive even an email confirmation acknowledging the process. I even emailed them, explaining that tracking information says they've received the boots, and was flat-out told that their records show they aren't there. Since then, I've received AND returned a pair of boots from Endless.com with zero confusion or delay - so I know it can be done... just not by Piperlime.

Piperlime's sister company, Gap, is just as irritating. During a 30% off sale, I searched on their website for their "Sloan" slacks and checked the filter for size 2. It brought me to the product page, and I placed my order... only to discover today - a full week later as I was checking on the tracking status - that I'd somehow ordered a 2P. I did not search in the petites section, and I did not filter for petites. How did I end up with a 2P on my order? Must have been bad luck. Good thing the sale is still going, right? Well, after work I raced to my local BR to buy my size 2s, lest my size sell out and force me to wait more multiple weeks for an online exchange, only to find out that the same pants are NOT on sale in-store... even though they are currently displayed in the back with all the other sale items.

To top it all off, I came home to a shiny new AllSaints delivery and pulled out my long-admired Stallion Dress to try on. Hm. Ok. The self-tie belt is completely missing from the garment.

Sigh. I'm even more bothered and frustrated than after an unproductive day of swap hunting - at least there, you expect shopping to be an ordeal, and you can be ready for it. I guess I am not a hardened, veteran retail shopper and have not been desensitized to poor attention to detail and slow service. I will have to wait and see what kind of solution AllSaints offers, but I know I will never shop at Banana Republic or Piperlime again. I will stick with Amazon, Endless, and Nordstrom, who have all provided excellent, speedy, friendly service through purchases, returns, exchanges, and defective item issues.

Do you all find chain stores to be equally frustrating? Can we compile a list here of the good ones, versus the ones to avoid?

UPDATE: Allsaints responded to me this morning and said they would check the warehouse for a belt to send to me. I'm going to ask about the possibility of a return as well. To their credit so far, the response time was very fast.

Gap Update: Although initially telling me that their system would not allow an exchange of my pants for the correct size, after I explained what I'd been through, the associate assured me she could return the 2Ps and then give me the sale price on the 2s. I'm about 80% happy - would be happier if my Piperlime returns had gone through and allowed me to use my gift cards for the purchase, and if I'd gotten the right size to start with.