Disappointed Retractions: Kate Spade 'Randi' Rain Boots & HousexGuest

When the boy and I buy a sweater, try a new restaurant or ogle a gadget covetously, sometimes I'll turn to him and say teasingly, "We're such consumers." What can I say? We like to buy things and spend money. And as I said in this blog post, when I try or buy something that I like, I'll sing its praises on this blog in the hopes that you, dear readers, will also find it exciting stuff. So it is with a glum heart that I have to post a retraction about two things that I was heretofore crazy about.

First retraction: my Kate Spade 'Randi' rain boots. After less than a year, the left boot began to crack around the ankle. What a huge disappointment, especially considering that these boots cost as much as a pair of Hunters. I contacted their customer service, who to their credit were just as dismayed as I was and told me to send them back to the manufacturer. (The boots were covered under a one-year warranty.) While I'm not happy about the quality of the boots, at least Kate Spade has pretty decent customer service and seems to stand behind their product.

My second retraction concerns HousexGuest, about whom I had nothing but nice things to say after attending their media and VIP supper club event. Evidently they were on their best behaviour that evening because the service that the boy and I received at brunch today was a complete 180.

After being seated at a relatively secluded table, we were ignored by wait staff for 10-15 minutes. Our water glasses stayed unfilled while we looked up expectantly at the servers who passed by. I counted three servers whose eyes panned across the room without seeing us or approaching us. I saw the owner sit down in a booth to chat with friends. Still nobody came to take our order or at least ask us if we wanted drinks.

"I feel neglected," the boy said. He wasn't impressed and neither was I. My patience wore thin as I fumed silently. I was hangry enough to stab someone with a fork.

"What time is it?" I asked him. He checked his phone and showed me: 12:26. I told him we were waiting 5 more minutes, and if nobody had checked on us by then we were walking out the door.

At 12:31 exactly (just as I asked the boy the time again and began reaching for my coat), our server appeared at our table. "Thank you for waiting," she said glibly without apologizing and put down a cup of coffee. After she took our order (in which I had to explicitly ask for water), another 5 minutes passed before she reappeared with a second coffee and a water pitcher.

The much-hyped chicken and waffles were reasonably good; however, they did nothing to erase the bad taste that the sub-par service left in our mouths. HousexGuest is supposed to be a hip place for pretty young things. I just had no idea that, in this case, hip was shorthand for "hipper than thou" and "too hip to offer decent service." Maybe it's a sign of restaurant growing pains (it is relatively new, after all), or maybe social media puffery on Twitter and in the blogosphere has gone to the owners' heads. In the future, I think I'll stick to my standby brunch spot, where the staff are personable, the food is good, and our water glasses are filled right when we sit down.

13 comments

  1. Awww such a bummer. Can't believe Kate Spade makes anything bad.

    http://www.thegirlieblog.com

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  2. Re. House Guest

    That's why the bloggers behind Vancouver Slop insist on going somewhere twice before deciding on a review. Consistency is one of the hardest things to keep up with, especially with new restaurants. Everything has to flow just right.

    Here's a review from Sam Sifton from NY Times that talks about the importance of consistency. (Note that in the end, he gives an address to a restaurant across the street -- ouch!)

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/08/dining/reviews/imperial-no-nine-nyc-restaurant-review.html

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  3. I hate when customer service at restaurants are not only showing bad service, but to show it without apology or reasoning. I hate experiences like that and it seems lately many restaurants I go to are like that. Still, like you, I am a consumer :p

    Hope you can get a return on your rain boots. It should't be showing signs of damage!

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  4. Anya, I'm looking forward to seeing what Vancouver Slop has to say about House Guest.

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  5. Yikes! That really stinks about the rain boots, but it's great that Kate Spade has such good customer service!

    That's too bad about HousexGuest - I had looked forward to trying it! Maybe you're right and it's just growing pains. I'll wait for a while before I try it to give it the opportunity to iron out wrinkles...but I agree, bad service is the worst and food quality rarely makes up for it.

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  6. That's too bad that House Guest was so disappointing the second time. I haven't had the chance to check it out yet, but all the super positive reviews had (note: past) me excited.

    I always find it so disappointing when I am going somewhere and the service and/or food turn out so bad. I recently had that experience when I had brunch in Yaletown. For months I was planning on going to this relatively new restaurant, but in the end it turned out to be awful. The service was good, but the food was terrible.

    That's why I enjoy reading (honest) reviews online - so thank you for this post! ;-)

    www.thesignaturebow.com

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  7. I don't care how good the food is slow and shitty service will ruin it for me. and i don't really care how busy the restaurant is, that's their problem and they should hire more servers (and the servers should complain about that to their managers if they can't handle the traffic!)

    nice to know about those boots, cuz I really want the red kate spade rainboots!

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  8. Oh no that's terrible!

    I really appreciate the fact that you posted updates for this-it's always good to hear when something didn't end up as good as you thought!

    WIll you be getting a new pair then? Hopefully you just got a bad one! If customer service sounded that surprised, then hopefully it isn't something that happens that often.

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  9. Megan, I found a replacement pair of bow-adorned rain boots which the boy ordered for me as my Christmas present. They are en route to Canada from the UK!

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  10. I was really sad to read your review on House Guest. Are you pretty much set that you won't ever go back?

    The Randi rainboots are a bummer too, but kudos to their customer service?!

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  11. I actually haven't had a good experience with Kate Spade customer service. I had ordering issues on the website and was told they would follow-up within a time frame, but they never did. For both times I tried to inquire about the same issue. Which was never really resolved or dealt with in a satisfactory manner -- I felt like I had to push too hard to get my answers so I just gave up. I was going to great lengths to purchase something but it was like they just shrugged their shoulders and said, Meh. Oh well!

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  12. Elisse, I wouldn't say I'd never go back, but I don't see myself returning anytime soon. Someone from HousexGuest DM'd me on Twitter and apologized, inviting me to return next weekend so they could "make it up to me." I declined. I'm not a super fussy person when it comes to restaurant service, but waiting almost 30 minutes for someone to simply fill your water glass is too much.

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  13. Mica, I just heard back from Kate Spade's corporate HQ customer relations department. They're offering to refund me the full amount of my rain boots since they can't repair the boots, so I'm satisfied.

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