First off, I love West Elm. If I had to take a guess, I would say that about 70% of the larger furniture pieces in our home are from the mid-century modern millennial merchant (I also love some alliteration!). I’ll also say that the present day world we are living in is wild and unpredictable. I know that supply chains are all over the place. Okay, those are my disclaimers! But, the one thing I can’t handle is the false setting of expectations. You know, when a store has your money and your faith and they sort of just string you along? That’s what West Elm lead times have recently done to me and I’m kind of over it.
I’ve recently run into a couple of snafus with the furniture retailer and know other’s who have had similar experiences. I posted some of this on my Instagram stories and was floored by the number of you who had similar scenarios! In this case, I’m not saving the drama for the llama. Get the scoop below.
West Elm Lead Times: The Saga
By the way, these are all first world problems. If this is the biggest worry we have, then we are doing all right. I also probably would be less upset had their customer service team been slightly kinder and less crass. I tried to be kind and patient over the phone but understand that they are probably getting all sorts of yahoos who are downright awful.
It started back in September. I helped my mom exhange some of her American Express points to purchase the ultimate in designer kitchen appliances *enter Smeg*. “In Stock + Ready to Ship” it said on West Elm’s website (for each product, mind you!). We hit the purchase button on a Smeg Blender, Smeg Mixer, Smeg Toaster, and Smeg Coffee Maker. All “free” with her credit card points, yess!
A few days went by and the email came. “Shipped” it read. The toaster and the coffee maker eventually came. Yay! What about the mixer and the blender? They got caught in some UPS limbo, I guess. Every day my mom would get an email saying “Out for delivery”. Many, many days went by with these emails but the appliances never came. Hmmm.
Finally, we decided to call into West Elm. They insisted that the appliances were on the truck for delivery. After a few more weeks of this happening, we called in again. The customer rep finally agreed to cancel the order and place a new order. Unfortunately, this didn’t help and the appliances ended up in the same cycle as before. After about 4 months of waiting, we decided to cancel the order entirely. The West Elm lead time estimates were totally out of wack!
My mom ended up purchasing her Smeg Mixer and Smeg Blender on Amazon. They showed up the next day. Fast forward to just last week…my mom received two mixers and two blenders on her doorstep…from West Elm. She called in and they had no record of the delivery. Don’t worry, she did the right thing and returned them! The other crazy part? When they arrived it would have been about 6 months since she placed her first order.
Sofa-r So Bad
Not too long ago, we decided to give our living room a makeover. We designed a lot of it around the West Elm Haven Sectional. It was a perfect fit! We bit the bullet and pulled the trigger on the $4,000 option that was, you guessed it, “In Stock + Ready to Ship”.
It was a matter of days for the email to come. It read (roughly): the product you ordered was falsely advertised as in stock and it is actually backordered. I went to their website and found another comparable fabric that read “In Stock”. So, I called in to cancel my order and re-placed it for the one that was in stock. No big deal – it would be delivered in 1-2 weeks.
A week went by and I went to track my order only to see the words “backordered”. I decided to call in and get the scoop. My conversation went like this “I know supply chains are crazy, this product was advertised as in stock but now it’s backordered, can you give me a realistic idea of when it might actually be here?”. The agent was not friendly and said he didn’t know. He told me you couldn’t get a sofa delivered anywhere right now in less than 6-9 weeks.
After that call I popped on over to Living Spaces. A certain sofa caught my eyes. It was cozy looking and read “in stock”. This time I was smarter and called into our local store. They confirmed that the items I wanted were in stock. Get this…they could deliver them TODAY. The person who took my call was beyond nice and informative. I told her I didn’t need them that day and scheduled my delivery for that weekend. I called into West Elm and happily cancelled my order.
Bench Better Have My Shipment
The other kicker with a lot of these stories is that, when you go to cancel, West Elm refunds your gift cards as gift cards. So, you’re kind of stuck in a cycle. My mom decided to take the gift cards from her Smeg order and put them towards a storage bench for the end of her bed. I will say, when she placed the order in December, it did give her an estimated delivery of the end of March. We aren’t there yet but we are hoping the come through. Are we losing it yet? Nope because that’s the expectation that was set for us so we are holding strong! Fingers crossed!
Are We All Being Taken For A Ride on Elm?
As I mentioned above, I took to Instagram stories to share my frustrations when all of this was happening. I was blown away by the number of responses I got from followers with similar, and even worse, stories. People who had waited an entire year for an item from West Elm only to have it cancelled. A YEAR! Other people were 6-8 months deep into their wait for a furniture item that they were hoping would come. I came to realize that this whole saga wasn’t just a fluke but an entire logistics mess within West Elm’s walls.
I shared my frustrations with the West Elm customer care team (though I don’t think they cared to hear them) and asked of them only to be honest with their customers. “In Stock” should mean it’s in a domestic warehouse and can be shipped out relatively soon. Come to find out “In Stock” to them means that they have ordered the items from overseas and they are on a container somewhere with an estimated date of delivery to their warehouse.
I will say that since I’ve had this entire experience, many of their items have super long lead times listed. They also have not run a sale in quite some time which tells me they are pumping the breaks on increasing their volume until they get their logistics sorted out for this new era. For now, I’ll only be shopping West Elm in stores and purchasing products that I can take home with me that same day.
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