What does it say about me when I am completely shaken up by a phone call to Pottery Barn's sales department? And it wasn't due to their prices.
I called Pottery Barn to order a piece of furniture, which should have been simple and straightforward. There was a small twist, which was the I had a paper gift certificate, so following their protocol I need to place the order via the phone (or in the store, but the item is higher priced at the local store), then they give an address to mail the gift certificate. An elderly sounding man answered Pottery Barn's 1-800 number and told me he had never heard of such a process, and when I told him I had done this before and that the address was in Las Vegas, he said he had no Las Vegas address and that this was simply not done, all while making me feel like an asshole for even suggesting such a scam. He proceeds to tell me what I need to do with the paper certificate, including going to the store and having it changed into a plastic gift card, then returning home and calling back (very efficient!) to place the order, and the options finally end with...placing the order with him, then mailing the gift certificate in for a refund. I politely said that that was what I had asked about initially and he barked that "it's not always clear!" The old man scared me! I said that I should just call back later, he agreed, and I hung up. I wish that I had gotten his name, but it was a combination of feeling scared and really wanting to end the call.
I didn't know what to do so I called my husband who said to call the number back and if I got the old man again, to hang up. I finally worked up the courage to call and got a nice older lady on the phone (is their customer service set up in an old folks' home?). She was empathetic and made me feel better. When I explained what I had wanted to do to her, she said of course it was possible and the address is in Las Vegas. It took about three minutes for her to handle the transaction, almost the same amount of time I spent talking to the angry man. The crappy part of that call was that my item is backordered, meaning it won't be here for a month.