So I dropped by the Water Tower Place Teavana in Chicago to pick up some teaware. I’ll just be honest – I’ve never tried a Teavana tea that I’ve loved; I find them mostly plain and bland and poorly executed, and it’s vile how much sugar they put in the brewed samples they offer in-store.
Their teaware, though, is a whole other story. I think they carry beautiful tins and nice utensils and I’m all for going to Teavana just for that. I needed some filters, as I wanted to drink loose tea on my flight, and my thermos needed a proper wash before getting used again. Surprisingly, Teavana were about $2 cheaper for the same number of filters than every other store I came across, including grocery stores.
As for the function – they’re filters. Bags that filter tea. In water. They work just fine and predictably manage to do their job. No funny business.
Speaking of funny business, though, corporate culture doesn’t seem to have changed a lot since Teavana were acquired by Starbucks. I was still hounded by one of the salespeople in-shop who insisted that I try the samples.
‘Would you like a sample?’
‘No, but thanks anyway.’
‘Of course you want a sample!’
‘No, not really.’
‘But it’s amazing!’
‘Has sugar been added to the sample?’
‘No, not at all!’
‘Sorry, let me rephrase that – has any kind of sweetener been added to the sample?’
‘Well… yeah, but…’
And so on.
Hilarity ensued, of course, when there were ALL THESE TEAS that I just HAD TO BUY, and I was all, ‘Oh, but I don’t like your teas. I’m here for teaware!’. What do you even say to that? I felt like the most evil customer ever, but I swear I was really very nice and smiley about the whole thing, even as the salesperson got progressively more aggressive and rude.
Then upon checking out, I was told that these filters were ‘Pretty impractical’ (Whoa! Reverse sales technique! Mind blown!), and that the salesperson swore by this new thing.
‘Oh, but I already have your travel thermoses. They’re great.’ (But they could be easier to wash so I didn’t have to buy pretty impractical filters. )
‘This is much better, let me show you!’
And she showed me this: http://www.teavana.com/tea-gift-center/tea-gift-sets/p/tea-voyager-travel-kit which I do like a lot and have considered buying, but after researching it, I knew it wouldn’t meet my standards.
’It’s a full travel kit!’
‘Yeah, I absolutely love that, I looked at it online, and I would have bought it if the holes in the infuser had been smaller.’
‘Oh, but that’s not a problem at all! I have this product myself and that’s not an issue in any way.’
‘Yeah, but if you go read the reviews on the Teavana website, you’ll note that that’s THE MAIN COMPLAINT concerning this product.’
At this point the salesperson just stopped talking directly to me altogether.
I’m all for a hard sale, and with nice execution it can be a fun time for all. But incompetent salespeople who first talk down the product you want to buy (and which is absolutely fine – don’t cry, little filters, you’re quite adequate) all the while trying to push a product that’s obviously flawed without having the first clue about the criticism raised against said flaw..? Meh. Amateur hour.