Friday, September 3, 2010

If we tell you that, we have to kill you

 Restoration Hardware has long since abandoned its whimsical side (toys, tools, sock monkeys)  to concentrate on Belgian linen bedding and sofas the size of minivans; the fat new catalog actually says, on its cover, "BEHOLD OUR FALL COLLECTION." I should have put it straight into the recycle bin. But no -- I had to skim, and there amid the beige was -- behold indeed! -- a table that interested me. But what was the finish on the (almost-nude-looking) wood?

Reluctant to face a phone menu, I e-mailed to ask. And soon the answer came back:
Thank you for contacting Restoration Hardware. My name is Angela, and I will be happy to assist you with your inquiry regarding our [semi-affordable line of furniture]. I can confirm that these items have a hand applied patina.
Well, thank you, Angela, or "Angela," but ... a patina of what? Varnish, polyurethane, shellac, earwax, olive oil, Love Potion No. 9? I tried again, and today another reply arrived:
Thank you for contacting [blah blah etc.] … I can confirm that we do not have the information regarding the finish readily available.
I have submitted Product Information Request #156221 on your behalf. Please allow me 1-2 business days to update you on the status of this request.
Yeah, I should just phone the local store (surely they're trusted with this information?), but now I'm hooked; I want to know how many more layers of bureaucracy are defending the Secret of the Invisible Wood Finish from the scrutiny of potential customers.

6 comments:

empty said...

Good lord! Now I'm looking at their website, trying to guess which table. They have moved beyond hardware, haven't they? I like the names of the items. New Distressed Rectory Console Grand may be my favorite.

Paula said...

That's the kind of thing that'll send a "recovering nitpicker" on a serious backward slide!

Anonymous said...

Patina comes naturally with age. Obviously they have sent the table back a couple hundred years in time and let it naturally develop.

Anonymous said...

The local store will know less than Angela, who, by the way, seems pretty helpful. She's lost in the same wilderness of modern ad-speak, and she's trying to slash her way through.
Or maybe she's just going through the motions.

Mr. T said...

Did you add the "[semi-affordable line of furniture]"? Or did the ever-cheerful Angela? If you;funny! If her; what's the end of her sentence?

Anonymous said...

I think its very rude to pick on someone for doing their job. Personally, I think the answer sounded nice and I think the girl was just trying to be helpful.

Some companies won't even both to respond or look into things at all. I've emailed companies before and never heard back.

I think this whole post just makes you look ungrateful and mean spirited.