A Bone to Chew with Meow

I debated writing this.  I went back and worth, but in the end I felt like it would be dishonest if I didn’t.

Apparently Meow was closed for three weeks over the Holidays.  However, the store front was still open and they were taking orders.

So for three weeks, even though (in my estimation) no one was around to maintain things, they continued to accept orders and payments.  I don’t think that’s a very responsible way to run a small business.  If you’re closed, you’re closed.

So, now you could argue with me, but they TOLD people they were closed and it was still up to the individual to order during that time or not.  Well, they did not tell ME.  But, now you’ll say, it was posted on the front page of the site!!  Was it?  I didn’t see it, nor did about half a dozen other people I’ve talked to.

  • Apparently they posted it on the website, but even though I went to the site and placed an order, I never saw it.
  • Apparently it was also mentioned in their newsletter.  But I shouldn’t have to subscribe to a newsletter to know your shop is closed, it should just be closed.
  • Apparently, it was also mentioned in their forums.  Ok, I shouldn’t ALSO have to create an account on every-place-I-shop’s forums to know when or if I’m going to get my order.
  • Apparently they also sent out confirmation emails after you placed the order stating they were closed.  AFTER you placed the order.  One person I talked to said she had no idea until she got the email AFTER she placed her order that they were closed.

But, she was lucky to get an email at all.  I did not, and apparently the three I sent to them never went through their system, no one replied.  So I was left wondering where my order was.  It wasn’t until a friend of mine emailed them FOR me yesterday that I got a reply.  And then it so happened that I got my order that afternoon.  No shipping notice, nothing that would have assured me.  In fact after they contacted me for my order information to double check for me, I never heard back until I emailed them AGAIN, telling them I got my order.

From what I understand there was a death in the family, and while I am sympathetic (I’ve lost so much of my family in the last few years I can’t even stand to think about it) I didn’t know that, because, as I mentioned, I don’t subscribe to any newsletter and I don’t frequent the forum.  And while it should make no difference what the circumstances, a death in the family would warrant you to CLOSE the store properly, and not have to worry about the accumulation of orders that piled up while you were mourning.  Would you like to argue with me that while you’re grieving that you don’t think about stuff like that?  Ok, I’ll accept that, BUT it’s not a one person operation, surely someone else at Meow should have had the forethought to properly run things.

In the end I was not pleased at all with the way my order was handled.  I’ve talked, as I mentioned, to a few other people who had similar experiences, so I really don’t feel like I’m being unreasonable here.  I’ve been told countless times by a friend (someone I trust) that this is unlike them, and they’ve always got good customer service.  Perhaps it was just a fluke?

In the end, yes, I did get my order.

My suggestion for the future to any of the small indie shops, when you’re closed, don’t continue to take orders you can’t fulfill and do so on time.  Over the Holidays I encountered quite a few shops that were closed, and properly so, so that no orders could be placed.  I personally find it slightly offensive to go away on ‘vacation’ and yet still take my money.

Will I continue to order from Meow?  I’ll think about it.

The products I received were the quality I expected.

But in the end it is always the customer service that wins me over…

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22 Responses to “A Bone to Chew with Meow”

  1. I’ve noticed with a lot of independent companies, family emergencies have become a valid excuse to fall out of touch with your customer. To me, this is unacceptable. No one is saying that your business is more important than your family, but when you run a business, you have an obligation to your customers. They should be a priority, not a secondary thought.

    I have also lost people close to me when I’ve been involved in transactions (like my dad), and while I don’t have a shop, I still sent out my end of the bargain in a timely manner. If I was unable to, I immediately let someone know.

    It really irritates me when people say, “Well, this and this was happening. Stop being so mean,” blah blah blaaaah. I didn’t buy from a company because they were my friend. I bought from them because they had a product I wanted. Buying independent doesn’t mean that the owners can skirt their obligations. Don’t take someone’s money if you can’t fulfill your end of the bargain.

    It’s a pity that so many small business owners don’t comprehend this. You don’t run your business like you’re someone’s friend. You run a business like a business.

    • I agree. Small business often don’t get as much respect as they should as legitimate companies who often rival the “big names” in quality. But it all boils down to customer service.

      While I would consider myself friends with a few business owners, I greatly respect the fact they are able to organize things to run their business effectively.

      Customers might not be your friend, but as a small company you should learn to value them, especially when there are SO many other alternative places I could spend my money.

  2. I still think that their mail server is having issues. Any time you email them, or order from them, they send an automated message in addition to the email receipt from them and the email receipt from PayPal. I think if you didn’t get those, their system is having issues. Unfortunately, I think that probably multiple people must have had this problem 😦

    I’m just sorry that you and whoever else were affected by this didn’t get the customer service that you should have.

    Normally Meow has had great customer service in my nearly 2 years of experience with them.

  3. I’ve had a problem with them lately, too. I knew they were on a holiday, but they were still taking orders, or at least no one said that they wouldn’t take them. So, I placed my order on January 6th and got the confirmation email (“your order has been received blah blah”). After that… nothing. It’s January 26th and my order hasn’t even been shipped. It says on their website that all orders that were placed during their holiday have been shipped, and the last ones were shipped on January 19th. Well, mine wasn’t, or at least I haven’t got a shipment notice.

    My order contained some samples and one full size item, which means that I paid a fortune for the shipping. That would be a lot of money gone to waste. I emailed them today. I’ll be really disappointed if they don’t answer.

    • …wow, I actually got an email from them half an hour ago! It says:

      “Hello,

      I am sorry to hear that you did not receive your shipment notification email. Your order was shipped on January 20th. It should be arriving very soon.”

      Now I can sigh and relax and start waiting for my order, haha.

  4. I think Judith summed it up quite well. I’ve had problems with Meow and have never had an answer to my e-mails. I’m actually out $10. They messed up an order and have never fixed it. Indie businesses that run themselves like a big or store front business are few and far between. I think Aromaleigh ditching their Angel program is another example. You don’t solicit donations with one promise, then change the rules after the fact. Bad customer service, changing programs after the money has been paid, etc. are all just plain ole’ tacky and don’t help the reputation of small online business. I’m sure lots of people will think I’m heartless or mean for saying this. However, you don’t see large companies doing things like this and the reason is clear. Its’ bad for business and the reputation. I won’t order from Meow or Aromaleigh again.

    • On the Angel collection being discontinued, while I don’t like it, either, I understand completely why Kristen is doing it.

      For one, her order volume is pretty darn big – my January 7th order was # 102821, and my January 16th order was #103226 – that averages to around 45 orders a day in that period, just based on my order numbers, and this is after the holiday shopping season. Now, taking that into account, when she decided to end it, she had only sold 50 jars since starting the program, and 50 jars figures out to about 8 per week since the colors started being sold. Based on a 45 order/day average, figure 315 orders in a week – that’s 1 jar per every almost 40 orders. And being that those first three weeks were before Christmas, where Kristen admitted that they were being slammed with orders, figure that the real numbers are probably much worse – my average is a very forgiving estimate.

      For another, the samples weren’t included in the donation, which was made very clear from the beginning that it would be only jars that were, so people are buying samples, not buying jars, and the point of the program was sort of being defeated.

      And lastly, there were too many people who pretty much treated it like the chance to get some eyeshadow was a million times more important than the charity/public service/helping others aspect, which was the point of the program – the custom shadows were meant as a small thank you for being so self-less, they were not the central purpose. That attitude about the program was a bit of a slap in the face to Kristen, and the other people who did genuinely want to help.

      (Yep Grey, my darn f and l kept making a capital L there.)

      • Once again, bleh, bleh, bleh. In the spirit of charity….who told Kristen to expect x amount of sales of jars? When she first posted the offer, she should have set limits. She made an offer/promise to her customers and now that it isn’t working out the way she projected or expected she’s breaking that promise. While this may be the best solution for her, the fact remains. She’s another small indie business that has not delivered. It hurts the reputation of small/indie business, the charity involved, and all women owned and operated business. Defend her practices and decisions all you want, it doesn’t change the fact that its a tacky thing to do.

    • the first time I’ve heard about it, I was sympathetic. Well, I’m not taking any side, just speaking from my point of view. Now that I’ve read yours; I can see why you’re upset. At least she gave a notice, didn’t she? Is it the right thing to do? After all, she’s running the business and she will have to deal with whatever happenes. She did state that she will continue giving donations and people who got their custom eyeshadows will continue to receive them.

      In the end, she’s an indie business – she tries to do what the best for her company. If a product does not sell fast, i can’t expect her to cover losses from her other better selling lines. She’s not a big companies, which they can cover losses from their other bigger selling products and bigger companies are more well-known. If that works for her and keeps her business going, then she can keep on doing this. I respect your decision of not wanting to deal with her; I’m sure there are other companies that suit your better. like Fyrinnae, right?

  5. i just ordered from them (got my stuff today) and did not notice anything about being closed. if i had i would have waited, like i am doing with fyrinnae. no shipping notice either, which i hate. i did get a paypal receipt and an order confirmation; and at least i didn’t have to wait too long.

    since i did REALLY like the products i received i’m willing to give them another shot.

  6. I’m sorry to hear that a bunch of people got jipped on the customer service recently. I had ordered on Thanksgiving or something like that, and had a pleasant experience, but I haven’t been to their site lately and completely missed that they had “closed.” Honestly, I can understand announcing that you won’t be shipping orders for the weekend, but you’ll be back on it Monday or whatever, that’s okay by me, but if you’re looking at a week or longer, you should be shutting down completely, and you should be very clear about the fact that you are temporarily closed.

    If they had time to announce they’d be closed that long, had time to get it in a newsletter (really, a death, and they had time to put it in a newsletter?), had time to get it on their forums (which, btw, are those Delphi forums, which I absolutely hate because they are not any kind of easy to use), they had time to disable their freakin’ cart and put a big fat notice on the front page! I’m miffed.

    • The death wasn’t mentioned in the newsletter, but it was mentioned on the forums. While I absolutely hate the Delphi forum system, I do go check their forums out regularly. (which I can understand people not wanting to do).

      I tend to not have a problem with people taking orders while they’re closed, provided that they notify me that the orders will not be filled until they’re open again, which was done in this case.

      If I’m in communication with a seller and I know that I will get my product, and there is a delay, for whatever reason, I tend to be ok. When I cannot get any response from the seller at all is when I start to worry.

      In an ideal world, all companies would at least have a voice mail box or something that you could call, leave your information, and then get an email or phone call back. I’ve noticed that very few companies list a phone number though. When I was going through sending email after email after email and then written letter to Archetype, I kept wishing they had a phone number. No response was ever received from them, even after my written letter.

  7. I’ve never tried Meow, and reading this means I’m probably unlikely to.

    I placed a Morgana order on 14th January, 8 business days later (the long end of their estimate) I get an e-mail telling me it will “ship soon”. What the hell does that mean? “Soon”? In comparison to what?

    • My order from Morgana Minerals also had a delay. I took about two weeks. I think its because the weather is so bad, pretty much everywhere in the US where it snows. 🙂

  8. Anastasia – I don’t go to the post office everyday. So, soon can mean the same day or within the next couple days. Your order is shipping today. If you need to know exactly when your package ships then you can always e-mail me.

    Amazon.com is another company that sends e-mails saying “shipping soon”.

  9. Hmmm… Interesting blog, this. Oddly enough, there has been another death in the Meow family, and after reading your blog here that makes me wonder. I completely understand about deaths in the family and know just how hard it is to lose a loved one. That isn’t my issue with Meow… my issue is that apparently they’ve been closed for several days now, without putting a notice on the website, and still accepting orders and payments from customers. There was no automated email letting me know that they were closed and that order turnaround times would be slow. I didn’t find out about them being closed until I wrote a complaint email, wondering where my order was and why it hasn’t even been processed yet, let alone shipped. I am a bit miffed because I had to choose between 2 expensive shipping methods and now having to wait indefinitely for the order. Plus, I had no idea they were closed — and I agree with the original blog post, I think it’s a bit wrong for a business to continue to accept orders and payments when they are closed, without notifying customers that they are, in fact, closed. Customers should not have to join and check forums or subscribe to a newsletter just to find out a business is closed, for whatever reason. It should be placed on a main page of the main website and clearly visible.

    To sum it all up, I agree with this post totally. Thanks for letting me comment/rant!! I sure do hope things get better with Meow’s service and that this really is just a fluke.

    • Whoops, I forgot to add in that comment that Meow has been closed for several days due to moving to a new facility (apparently before the death in the family). The rest of my comment still stands. Thanks!

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