Chuckle, chuckle, it's all in the game

And so we leave the secretive back-stabbing world of Oscar nominations and Oscar party invitations, and return to the world of retailing and e-tailing. Plus ├ža change, right?

There is some speculation as to whether or not the US apparel company, J.Crew, is for sale. People who might be expected to know, well, something about this are blushing modestly and hanging their heads, but not talking.

Here's a snippet from yesterday's Bloomberg news:
  • Fast Retailing may consider $5 billion a fair price for J. Crew, whose merchandise, real estate and e-commerce expertise will help the Japanese company achieve its U.S. expansion goals, Zox said.
OK, the emphasis is mine, and the delightfully named Zox is held out as an expert on what makes an apparel company desirable, although judging by my experiences, he is not a frequent shopper.

Speaking of e-tailing expertise, here is a link to a heated discussion of the inadequacies of the J.Crew retail website, published this past week on J.Crew Aficionada, where "all aspects of J.Crew" are regularly discussed, often at an undeservedly polite and elevated level.

And here is an invitation from some nice ladies at J.Crew itself that I found in my inbox a few days ago:
We’d like to invite you to help us improve our online shopping experience! Come speak with one of our online user experience experts in a 60-minute one-on-one meeting—we’ll compensate you for your time with a $100 J.Crew gift card.
Here’s what you can expect:
● Duration: 60 Minutes
● Location: Manhattan. Exact location will be provided once your appointment is confirmed. Participants are responsible for their own transportation. Participant will be required to sign a consent form upon arrival.
● Compensation: This meeting is completely voluntary, and you may opt out at any time. Upon successful completion, we’ll compensate you for your time with a $100 J.Crew gift card (subject to the terms and conditions on the gift card).
If you’re interested in participating, please respond to this email with your availability for the following dates and times. We’ll get back to you soon to confirm your 60-minute appointment and provide you with meeting details.
 And here is last night's message from another department within the J.Crew structure:

Please know that the item that will not be mine was referred to WWFU at the behest of a JCrew staffer. I would never do this independently, since I believe it is a sure way to make sure you'll never see your merch. This belief is rooted in experience. WWFU promptly advised me that the item is sold out.

Naturally I growled, having prowled the website in good faith, found my item, placed an order... At least on sites like Gilt and RueLaLa, they tell you up front that they keep very limited stock of everything, so that if you do succeed in capturing something, you feel that you have won a (very limited) lottery. As opposed to feeling relief.

As you might expect, I was not selected to discuss the J.Crew website.

It did occur to me while I was trying to browse the J.Crew website sale section that Zox may be the nom de web of a gamer or game designer, and that his knowledge of J.Crew may stem from his work on their recent website improvements. Who but a gamer would be able to surprise the hapless shopper with so many unlooked-for obstacles and levels of frustration? I ask you.

Heading for the west coast tonight, hoping for warmer weather and wishing you the same.


14 comments:

  1. Maybe Zox did design the game!
    West Coast I am very jealous. Please have fun not just for you but for me too. Safe travels Fred.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Dani, we're leaving the cold for the wet - family weekend on Seattle, and it looks like it'll be raining every day.

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    2. Ooooh, I love Seattle. I know you get NY pizza but I love Serious Pie in Seattle.

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    3. You will be in my neck of the woods! This weekend it will be rainy and dark even by NW standards, so bring your goretex.

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  2. have a great trip! I am very un-enamoured of the new J Crew website. It's woefully bad on an ipad.

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    Replies
    1. Hi, Ruth, what a mess! It's like the webmaster was tasked with deterrence. Fooey !

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  3. I went, I saw, I ordered, fingers crossed. Was kind of hoping J Crew would go public just not sure about being bought out.

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    Replies
    1. Just me but I'd prefer a benevolent despot with a fashion background to a board of directors who are worried about obligations to those other than customers.

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  4. I haven't even looked. I think you should buy the company, Fred. Tell us what Himself says.

    Well, it will be a warm rain, maybe? I am enjoying the H#@% out of my little S FL place. MLane just txted another big storm on the way for later next week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. 1- no capital . 2 - only thing riskier than a restaurant is an apparel company.

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  5. The new website is a mess but at the same time, it is helping to keep the credit card safe. That might actually be a plus! Have a great trip! I love Seattle - the West Coast is my happy place.

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    Replies
    1. You're right, I didn't buy anything all weekend.

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  6. I got the Wish We Had Enough email and phone call this week. During the phone call, on which I was told the item was not available, the person told me now it is available and do I want to place an order. My item was available and not available at the same time lol! So I placed an order for the item that I had already placed an order for. And then they (surprise) shipped it by what must have been overnight mail and it was perfect. Their inventory system is very strange but sometimes you win. It's like Vegas but less seedy (probably not less costly!). I hope you have a good trip in spite of the predicted weather.

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    Replies
    1. That gives me hope for my vanishing Blah Blah shirt (size M)!

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