The Michael Kors Jacket Nightmare

Source: 123rf
Image ID : 102290706
Copyright : Jonathan Weisswarm

On March 5th, when I was waiting to board the plane which would take me from LAX to Haneda, Tokyo, I walked by a Michael Kors store and saw a nice ivory puffer jacket on display.  I took it off the hanger and tried it on, and instantly loved it.  My reasoning was that since it was a puffer jacket, it would be incredibly warm and would keep me snuggly and comfortable while I was in Sapporo.  I promptly decided to purchase it, and decided to wear it out of the store.  The sales associate asked me to take it off so that she could scan the tag, whereupon another associate cut the tags off before I could stop her.  Though I was upset, I hoped that I wouldn’t have to return the item.

About 30 minutes after I purchased the jacket, I placed it in my carry on bag, deciding that I should wait until I arrived in Japan to wear my new jacket.  Then I put the jacket to the test, not in chilly and snowy Sapporo, but in Sendai, which was far more moderate in temperature, with highs in the mid-40’s.  Well, I ended up freezing in that darling jacket, and because I purchased the jacket for warmth and not to make a fashion statement, I tucked the jacket away in my luggage and vowed to return it once I was back home in the states.

I returned to Los Angeles on March 19th, and learned that the area was on full lockdown, with retail stores closed.  So began the ongoing contact with MichaelKors.com, engaging the chat function, calling local stores, and emailing them regularly, each time inquiring when they thought stores might reopen.  This was a major headache for me to deal with, but since I was in possession of a $213 jacket which conferred almost no protection against the cold, I persisted.  I was told that return windows were being extended as a result of the lockdown, and I didn’t need to worry about the return window closing on me.

Then on June 29th, I called a local MK store, and not only did someone answer the phone, but she also stated that the store was indeed open to the public. I rushed over to the store the next day, but as I was walking towards the store, I got a funny feeling in my gut that something was about to go very wrong.   I walked into the store, explained my situation, and as soon as I mentioned that I had purchased the jacket at the Michael Kors store at LAX, the salesperson grimaced and said, “Oh, I don’t think we can process the return here.  You see, the store you went to isn’t owned by Michael Kors, it’s owned by Hudson Group”.

The salesperson tried to enter the SKU, but the number was not accepted by the register, and he told me that I had to contact the phone number on the purchase receipt.  By this time, I was fuming, frantically dialing the numbers as I exited the store, cursing under my breath the entire time.  I called the number, only to be told that wasn’t the proper number, and that I had to call yet another number.

Little did I know that the second phone call would connect me to the bossiest, bitchiest, rudest woman I have encountered in years.  She was VERY nasty to me and kept interrupting me as I told her the situation.  It took everything in me to remain calm as I spoke with this witch.  She explained that Michael Kors was franchised, yadda yadda yadda…but all I cared about was, would they allow me to return the item?  Finally, she stated that the Hudson Group would issue a return, provided I sent numerous specific images of the jacket, a pic of the receipt, and proof that I had been in Japan from March 5th through March 19th.

I sent all the information over, then heard absolutely nothing.  So I re-sent the emails from a different email address, thinking maybe there was an issue with the email server.  Still nothing.  I called her once again, and she got nasty with me, stating that she hadn’t received my emails, and why was I wasting her time?  Then she provided a different email address when I implored her to do so, and I re-sent all emails from two different email servers once more.

Once again, I heard nothing.  So I sent the Hudson representative another email yesterday, marked urgent, which asked her to please get in contact with me if she received that particular email.  She called me today, stating that she had only received the one email, then started yelling at me, stating that I hadn’t followed directions, that I was wasting her time, and that she didn’t have to help me at all.  When I tried asking her to check her spam folder, she interrupted me, started yelling again, and HUNG UP ON ME.

I re-sent all the emails yet again, from both email servers, this time with hands shaking in rage.  Imagine my surprise when she responded and said that she received all my emails, FINALLY!

This battle isn’t over yet, though.  Tomorrow I will mail the jacket to her office, at my expense, and wait to see if a refund is actually granted.  This woman should NOT be in customer service.

UPDATE 8/10/2020:  I finally received a refund several days ago!

 

The Backstage Buzz

Being silly backstage with Nicole Moneer

Being silly backstage with Nicole Moneer

People often ask me what it is like to be up on stage, very scantily clad and fully cognizant of the fact that I am being scrutinized by a panel of judges. There is so much about competing that is appealing, fascinating and inspiring that I can’t imagine my life without this constant pressure I place on myself to pursue IFBB pro status. However, there are many strange and frustrating elements which competitors deal with and which can challenge their determination in the sport.

The thrill of strutting out onstage and showing off a hard-earned physique is incredibly empowering, especially when a competitor gets first call-out. The obvious physical transformation is invariably accompanied by an emotional and spiritual overhaul. The audience sees the best of this since they are attending a show. But the backstage world which they don’t see is incredibly colorful and revealing.

Before the competition, we all look like hoodlums, bums or like we just crawled out of bed, clad in baggy, dark clothing. We are all sporting dark skin hues which are more reminiscent of mahogany furniture than human skin. Our food coolers are packed with chicken, nut butter, rice cakes, and possibly booze for the celebration afterwards.

Every show starts out with a mad scramble after the morning meeting for a prime spot backstage to prep. The ladies cluster around the few full-length mirrors that have been placed around the perimeter of the room. The men cluster around the weights.

It can be maddening and stressful to be in the company of competitors who are so carb-depleted that they are cranky, forgetful and unable to focus on basic streams of conversation. Some are so weak and dehydrated that they are on the verge of passing out. A competitor may have a meltdown because his music cd was misplaced. The overpowering odor of spray tanner admixed with the telltale gaseous emissions of very high protein diets is commonplace. Some abdominals are grossly distended by a whole host of things which can cause bloat. A competitor may be freaking out because of a broken suit strap, or makeup being spilled onto a suit, now ruining it…with no backup suit on hand.

There are meltdowns with makeup and hair. There are lost earrings and shoes. The fear of water exposure is at an all-time high.
Then once everyone is prepped, there is the interminable wait. When a division and class are announced, there is a mad scramble to get in line. Individuals who bring Bikini Bite suddenly become the most popular people backstage.

Then suddenly a competitor is onstage. Somehow all the stress from being backstage, from dieting and training for months all melts away as that person now has a chance to do turns and show off a tremendous amount of hard work and dedication. Those few moments make it all worthwhile.