Friday, December 12, 2008

I'm Sorry, We Only Sell Tea, Not Tea

Today was a rather mind-numbingly odd experience for me.

My better half and I had a craving for some cupcakes from Sprinkles and a hot tea from Teavana, so we headed over to Stanford Shopping Center in Palo Alto, CA.

After getting the cupcakes (Strawberry, Pumpkin, Vanilla Peppermint and Red Velvet), we headed over to Teavana.  They had recently released some new tea flavors, and I was anxious to try them.  With the temperature here today being quite chilly, and with a winter storm blowing in, tea was definitely the beverage of choice.

Imagine my surprise when I found out that Teavana wouldn't be brewing any hot tea for their customers, due to their being "busier due to the holiday season."  You could buy loose tea, but not hot tea.

As I stood there sniffing teas, trying to figure out if I was willing to part with my cash for loose tea I hadn't even tasted, several people came in and asked for a cup of tea, and all were turned down.  None of those people stayed to buy loose tea.  I actually did buy some, but I would have bought more.

So the store has three employees working, all of whom are standing around looking mighty bored because the only thing they can do is sell loose tea or mugs or whatever.  But the customer doesn't seem to want that.  Can you imagine if Starbucks decided one day that they were too busy to sell hot coffee, and you could only buy beans or ground coffee?  Would they be in business very long? Would people come back.

I spent $38 on my tea.  There's no way I paid their rent, payroll, etc. with my purchase.  What if all of those people who had wanted tea had gotten their cup, really liked it and bought loose? Heck, with this economy, wouldn't it be better to at least get the $3 or whatever from the customer, rather than have them walk out spending nothing?

Very poor direction to take your company during the cold holidays, Teavana.