Tuesday, June 10, 2008


With 16+ years experience in the advertising business, it baffles my mind how some seemingly legitimate companies can misrepresent and mislead customers while not getting sued or run out of business.

Looking back, it's like rearranging the chairs on the Titantic when thinking of all the time and energies I've spent in legal meetings combing through statements and claim support ensuring that the truth was upheld... only for other companies to bend the truth and get away with it.

The experience I just went through with Napa Style really takes the winds out of my truth in advertising sails.

Let's Go Back

Way back, to February, 2008.

Joe and I received the newest Napa Style catalog like we had many times before. We had been on the quest for a new kitchen island for a few months and there were several to choose from in the spring catalog.

This was a big-ticket purchase for us costing $1,700 so after a few conversations debating our worthiness to spend such an amount, we placed the order for the "Heirloom Carving Block Island" (shown above).

We couldn't wait for it to arrive. Or would we?

Shortly thereafter, we received an out-of-stock alert stating that Napa Style hates it when they, too, "wait for great items to come in the mail."

Looks like this order wasn't going to go off without a hitch.

Marooned. Without Island

The part of the story that holds no water is multi-fold.

1) Napa Style has been advertising the Heirloom Carving Block Island in every monthly catalog featuring a "tutto pronte" badge which means quite literally "ready to ship," when it in fact, it was not.

The island was backordered! Had Nappy not read their own emails? I get there are lead times for print catalogs but four months? If so, how can a company make such a timely claim with such a non-timely print lead time?

2) Nappy Style must have hired former J. Peterman writers to pen clever copy for their well-poised catalog.

After re-reading the copy numerous times, I'm still confused how the piece can in fact be coming from India when the copy mentions multiple times the country of France and that the piece is imported. From France? For real? Think twice!

3) When contacting customer service, they explained the reason for the backlog was that the nearby port in California was closed for a week. Didn't I get the 4-1-1? I guess they forgot that 4 months minus one week is, um, fifteen weeks without island.

4) I placed an online order in March for five items and guess what? All five were on backorder! I wrote to customer service and never heard back. Seems Nappy is well versed in taking and making money, but not in providing good customer service.

Mistruths In Advertising

It's up to us to hold companies responsible for standing up for our consumer rights when they go wrong as they sometimes do. But in the case of Napa Style, it's a nasty reminder of how prolonged poor customer service can deteriorate the human soul.

This post is my most recent in terms of the frequency and freshness of rage - we're supposedly on the eve of receiving the island tomorrow - almost one week after it's been sitting at a Dallas FedEx facility. When it's convenient for the delivery company, I'm sure it will arrive.

In the meantime we're unsubscribing from future mistreatment from Nappy Style. Arrivederci, Chiarello!

Tutto di Annullare