Gwynnie Bee Month 3: Shipping Problems, Customer Service, and Angry Postal Workers
Month number three of my Gwynnie Bee subscription turned out to be stellar, even though I had a few odd issues with late shipping and the post office. Due to a slight downward adjustment in size and nothing to wear, I upped my number of garments per month to five, but with freebies and gifts it equated to a seven garment subscription for the entire holiday season. Now I have a better idea of how each brand fits me and what looks good on me from each brand. I had a total of 22 garments out during this month, two of them very fancy holiday dresses. One of those I bought on the spot as one of the best looking dresses I’ve ever worn while the other was too long for me to pull it off, figuratively speaking.
A seven garment subscription yielded roughly the same number of garments in a month as the previous month’s five garment subscription had, but I’m satisfied the holidays were part of the reason for the unexpected lower number. For two weeks in December, I took time off from work so it wasn’t necessary to have a different work outfit every day, or even a repeated one. I did, however, have several holiday dinners, parties, and gatherings to attend during those two weeks. But the pressure wasn’t on to dress up every day, as it normally is.
With two weeks out of the office, I wasn’t as quick to wear garments or send them back in. I did notice that shipping time from Gwynnie Bee was lagging by several days right around the holidays. This, I thought, was understandable. Slightly annoying, yes. But understandable. It was during this time frame that Gwynnie Bee launched a campaign to encourage subscribers to package more than one garment in the returnable blue bags. I was already sending back items two or three at a time, so the campaign really had no effect on me.
I had learned early on that I couldn’t just shove a blue bag into my mailbox and expect my mailman to pick it up. I had to actually take it into the post office. Okay, a little less convenient but I understand rules. Normally, I drop my blue bags at the post office about 1000 feet from my office, but on occasion I have been known to return my Gwynnie Bee garments via any number of post offices between my home and work, as well as two that were out of state because I was traveling at the time. One small satellite post office, which is contractor-run, sees me coming and says, “Just drop it in the bag over there.” They’ve never given me a receipt, but I had always thought it was because they don’t have a working printer right now. Every other post office I’ve gone to has printed out a receipt and handed it to me. Of course, it is a receipt for zero dollars because the blue bags are pre-paid.
Several days before Christmas, I returned a holiday dress, one that was worth over $300, and I didn’t want to have to pay for it if it were lost or misplaced. I stood in a long, pre-Christmas line in the main post office in my area (Niceville Post Office) . Up until then, I’d been having a great day, even standing in line, chatting with the people in front of and behind me. I guess the postal worker behind the counter, one of several, was not having a good day. He chided me when I handed the bag to him for pausing to wait and told me that I could’ve just thrown it into the outgoing box and been done with it. I explained that it was an expensive item and I wanted to make sure I had the receipt to show that I had handed it off to the post office. He began quoting regs angrily at me and telling me that he would give me a receipt only if I paid him for one. I tried to explain that I wasn’t asking for a delivery confirmation, I just wanted something showing I had given it to the post office, to which he quoted more regulations until he was turning red in the face. As I was there with nothing but my ID, my phone, and my blue Gwynnie Bee bag and no cash whatsoever, I left a pricey party dress, and two other dresses bundled with it, easily over $500 worth of garments in a blue bag in their drop box, and left without a receipt. I worried for days until it disappeared from my Gwynne Bee website screen.
If the regs he quoted me were correct, then the other three post offices who regularly hand me a receipt, smile, and say thanks are in error. I was nice but must’ve won the lottery to earn his wrath.
Maybe I’ve just been lucky, but Gwynnie Bee’s customer service has always been very good to me and they had some good suggestions when I talked to them about the situation. They told me that if I didn’t get a receipt, that they could still trace a package based on the prepaid postage account number. So, if I would keep track of my account numbers when I dropped a package in the mail, we would have a way to track it down if anything happened.
So here’s my big tip for subscribers: when I package garments in the blue bag for return, I take a picture of the prepaid label and send it to myself with the dress names in the subject line. That way, I know exactly which dresses I sent back when and under what prepaid number. I’ve not had any problems or any need to track dresses this way, except for a few times when I wanted to see if Gwynnie Bee had actually received the package in a timely manner.
And, no, I’ve not been back to that particular post office.
UPDATE: Gwynnie Bee’s phone app now includes a barcode scanner for the blue bag, so I no longer have to take a pic of the bag and keep up with which dresses were in it.