Saturday, March 13, 2010

10 Nordstrom Shopping Tips or Why We Love Nordstrom

Hi everyone! Our past few posts have focused intently on Anthropologie and it may seem to you that we only shop there. This is so false. Hahaha...I am, as I once told my sister, an equal-opportunity-shopper, and really, the same is true for Kathryn. We shop in boutiques, in discount chains (Old Navy, H&M), in mid-range chains (Gap, American Eagle - though not so much at AE now, as I feel old just stepping through the door, though I can't speak for Kathryn), in chains such as J. Crew, Banana Republic, Target, and in department stores - which is what now leads us to our all-time-favorite department store: Nordstrom.
  
There are a lot of department stores out there. There are even a lot of high end department stores out there. In fact, the Fashion Valley Mall in San Diego houses four high-end department stores - not just Nordstrom but Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue (edit: this location has since closed), and Bloomingdale's. We're not sure what it is, exactly, but of these four, we love Nordstrom the best. And it's not because it's always got what we want (Bloomingdale's and Neiman often carry items from certain lines that I lust after, or get those items much sooner than Nordstrom does for some reason), or because it's the most luxurious-looking (have you seen the new Bloomingdale's stores? They're visually gorgeous...). We love Nordstrom because of how it makes us feel.

For many reasons, Nordstrom feels very accessible and welcoming to us.  The layouts of most Nordstrom stores are open, uncrowded, and the decor is generally warm and clean.  And there are some really wonderful touches that tell me, the shopper, that someone thought about me when creating the spaces (detailed below).  Kathryn notes as well, that while being a "high end retail establishment," Nordstrom caters to a wide range of budgets.  Only have $40 to jazz up your wardrobe?  That's okay - chances are, you can find a cute top, sweater, or skirt, plus maybe some fun accessory that falls in that price range in Brass Plum.  Or, are you the chairperson of a gala fundraising event and need something to wear to it?  No worries - Collectors is sure to have something for you.  Put that with the above-and-beyond outstanding customer service, regardless of whether you're spending $40 or $40,000 and well...how can you not love Nordstrom?  The following are our top 10 shopping tips for Nordstrom department stores.  If you're already an avid Nordstrom-shopper, then you may not need these.  However, if you shop there infrequently or are a newbie to the store and its policies, here's some of the scoop:

#1  Nordstrom's Open Return Policy
Nordstrom has, arguably, the most lenient (and thereby legendary) return policy of all retail institutions.  They openly say, "If you bought it, tried it, and decided you didn't like it, bring it back in."  That's right! Let's say you bought something - a sweater perhaps, and took it home, cut off the price tag, and wore it one day.  Let's imagine that you found the wool of the sweater to be irritating to your skin, and by the end of the day, you'd just had it, despite it's cute cut and fabulous color. Well, guess what?  Had you bought it anywhere else, you'd probably be out of luck or you'd have to lie about why the tag is off.  With Nordstrom, you don't need to lie.  You can say truthfully to the sales associate who processes your return, "I wore it, and the fabric was so scratchy, I decided against keeping it."  My friend Lisa bought a Marc by Marc Jacobs Totally Turnlock handbag last year.  She carried it for a month or so, and noticed that the leather was scratching up super easily.  She took it to the store, and guess what?  They offered to exchange it for her, and when they couldn't locate the same bag in the company (she'd bought it on sale, and they'd sold out), they gave her a refund.  Just like that!

Another way the open return policy is helpful is in those cases - and we all have them - of items you purchase but never use for some reason.  You know - the shirt you bought, because you thought it would work well with your suits, but then, you got laid off from your job that required business attire and now you work at this place where it's super casual and you never wear suits, and, "man...that shirt was $78 and I've had it for a year - the tag is still on it...."  Guess what?  You can take it back!  I have done this.  I bought a fall jacket during Nordstrom's Anniversary Sale (more on the sale later) in July of 2008.  I got pregnant with my second baby later that year (fall 2008) and gained weight so quickly that I really didn't have a chance to wear that jacket.  It sat in my closet for over a year, and then finally, not being sure when, if ever, I'd shrink back down to a size 2, I took it back to the store.  They returned it for me without a murmur, and were even friendly about it.  

Kathryn has an even better Magic-of-the-Nordstrom-Return-Policy story.  She purchased the cardi Ugg boots at an Anniverary Sale in 2007.  She wore the boots for two years, noting regularly, that one boot felt distinctly larger than the other, even though it was printed and labeled with the same size.  She mentioned it once, in passing, to Kelly, our Personal Stylist (see tip #10) who told her, without hesitation, to bring them back.  "Bring them back.  We'll get you a new pair."  Kathryn was floored.  She stammered out that she'd worn them for 2 years.  That...well, they were worn. Kelly didn't care. "Bring them back.  We'll do an exchange for you."  And guess what?  Kathryn brought them in, Kelly processed the exchange, and Kathryn is now the happy owner of a pair of Uggs that fit properly.

For returns, you don't need your receipt.  You just need the tag.  On the tag, there will be two bar codes - the bar code for the item, and a second bar code - either printed directly on the tag, or added to the tag in the form of a Nordstrom sticker that is coded with information about your purchase.  You need to have that second bar coded tag to get your item returned without the receipt.  The tag doesn't need to be attached, but you should always hang onto it for a while, in case you're feeling ambivalent about an item.

AN IMPORTANT EDIT: Please let us clarify something - we do not at all endorse abusing the return policy. We do not suggest that anyone should buy an item, wear it for a season and then take it back for a refund or exchange it for an "update" for the new season. That sort of behavior is bad form at best and fraudulent at worst, and we strongly frown on it. And yes, it does impact the commission of employees who make the sales (though from what I understand, commission is not docked on items returned after a year has passed since the sale, due to income tax-related issues). The examples of times we've utilized the return policy to illustrate the point above were exceptions to our shopping habits, not the rule. That's how this policy should be utilized. 

#2  It's sold out online!
Sometimes, you may come across an item online that you've been wanting, but suddenly realize it's sold out.  If you find an item that's sold out online, you may still be able to find it somewhere in the company - meaning, in the stock available inside the stores themselves.  Here's what you do.  Take the item number down from the website, and call or go to a store.  Once you get a sales associate on the line or in front of you, tell them you're looking for a particular item, but are having trouble finding it.  Give them the number, and tell the what size, color, etc. you'd like it in.  Then cross your fingers.  The sales associates will be able to enter the information into their registers, and pull up information regarding stock availability for that item in just about every Nordstrom in the country.  If the list shows that one exists, they can - on the spot - call that store, and place an order for you for that item.  You'll have to provide a credit or debit card to which the item's cost can be charged, and soon, that item will be on it's merry way to your home (also known as a DTC: direct-to-customer sale).  Of course, that item may just be completely sold out in the stores as well, but it never hurts to try!

#3  On sale, but not in my size!
So, I have these really cute Burberry rain boots which I'd been searching for everywhere.  It was late in the winter season by the time I'd decided I really wanted to buy them and not just think about buying them, so I was starting to despair of finding them, because I'd noticed they'd disappeared from the displays in the shoe departments.  One day, I walked into a Nordstrom, and happened to notice they had some sale racks out in the shoe section, and lo and behold, there were the Burberry rain boots!  Exactly one pair left!  On sale!  In a size...10?  I wear a size 6, but now that I had the boots in my hands, I wasn't going to give up.  I took them to a sales associate and said, "You've only got these in a 10 on the floor - is it possible to find them for me in a 6, somewhere?"  Turns out the answer to that was a resounding, "Yes."  Again, the magic of the DTC sale.  It's true that I live in San Diego - sunny San Diego.  But it's also true that whenever it rains, I am both chic and prepared.  

Now, sales associates will warn you that if you wait for something to go on sale, you run the risk of it selling out in your size.  We all know this to be true.  But sometimes, the DTC gods will smile on you.  

 #4  Bought it at Nordstrom, but found it on sale at Bloomie's a week later!
That's okay!  Call or email a sales associate at Nordstrom, and explain the situation. They'll do a price match for you, and give you back the difference in price, especially if it's an associate with whom you've built a relationship.  (Personal stylists are the best for this!  Get one! - see #10)  Again, my example - I once bought a beautiful velvet Nanette Lepore jacket for full price (yes, I know...but it was that lovely).  About a week or two later, I was scrolling through my daily "Shop It To Me Sale Mail," and what do I see?  The jacket - on sale at Neiman Marcus - priced at 40% off.  I gasped, then collected myself, and dashed off an email to Kelly, including the link, and she wrote back saying she'd be happy to give me a price adjustment.  Needless to say, I was a super-happy-shopper that day.



#5  Salon shoes sample sales
Okay, so this one will only work for you ladies with smaller feet - in particular, sizes 5-7.  About twice a year, the Salon Shoes (designer) department in Nordstrom hosts a "sample size shoe sale."  This is where you can score some serious deals on some great shoes.  For instance, last fall, I picked up a pair of black leather pointy-toed Donald Pliner tall boots, usually retailing for around $400, for a mere $109!  Also, some amazing LAMB heels for $89, and Taryn Rose flats for $129!  You get the picture.  The best part?  Walking through the store a month later, and seeing that those Donald Pliner boots had been restocked and were still selling at full-price.  There's nothing better than a bargain like that.  If you're interested, ask a sales associate in Salon Shoes when they usually hold their sales (at Fashion Valley, it's usually in the fall - Sept/Oct-ish and spring - Apr/May), and if they might contact you when it's coming up.  Or, again, get a Personal Stylist (#10) and she'll tell you and send you a reminder email.

If you go, get there when the doors open - it can be a bit of a madhouse.  There's usually a crowd of women waiting outside the doors, before they're unlocked, then, when they open, a dash for the racks.  Grab as many shoes that catch your eye off the rack, then find yourself a quiet (sort of) spot, where a sales associate can find you, to bring you the pairs to try on.  Don't be shy about trying stuff on then going back to look - people try and discard throughout the morning and the sales associates try to quickly return the discards to the rack, so, stuff that you missed before, or that someone else grabbed before you could get there, may show up.  It's also fun to go with friends, because you can all grab a bunch, then go and try on each other's finds.  Often, a shoe may not work for your friend, but might be just awesome on you and vice versa. 

#6  Nordstrom notes and the Nordstrom Card
I know, I know - I'm cringing a little, knowing that I'm promoting a credit card here, but if you're going to open up a store card, the Nordstrom card is probably the best of the bunch.  I have had (and still have, in some instances) store cards at Macy's, Bloomingdale's, J. Crew, Banana Republic, etc, and none of them are remotely as reasonable and easy to use as the Nordstrom Card.  We all know how reamingly high store credit card interest rates can be - anywhere from 19% - 29%, as a standard, regardless of your credit rating.  It's ridiculous!  However, Nordstrom's card will actually look at your credit rating, and place you in one of five tiers, ranging from 7.9% to 22.9%.

Then, for every dollar you spend at Nordstrom, you earn 2 points.  After you earn 2000 points, you get a $20 Nordstrom Note, which is basically like money in your wallet, to spend at Nordie's.  There are no restrictions on what you can use it on in the store - everything from cosmetics to designer goods are fair game.  You can also spend increments of each note - there's no "use it all at once, or lose it" games with these, like there can be with other stores' "rewards" certificates (don't even get me started on Gap/Banana Republic and Pottery Barn).  If I want, I can (and have) used $18.84 of a note.  And a week, month, or year later, I can come back and apply that remaining $1.16 to another purchase.  You don't even have to have the note(s) with you (they get mailed to you as you earn them).  Let's say you're shopping, and you remember that you have $40 of notes at home.  Just let the sales associate know, and she can look them up for you, right there, and apply them to your purchase!  There are also several opportunities throughout the year to earn back double and triple points.  And, if you're a Level 2 shopper (spending $2000 or more in the store annually), you'll get invited to the Private Customer Rewards shopping event, where you can earn 10 points per dollar on all your purchases.  And drink wine and cocktails, and munch on hors d'oeuvres as you shop (all gratis, by the way).  

#7  Shopping with your baby
So, before I became a mom, I noticed how large and accommodating the women's rooms at Nordstrom were.  In fact, most women's rooms in Nordstrom stores are actually marked as the "Women's Lounge."  And it is!  There's usually a sitting room area, separate from the lavatories, which a weary shopper can stop and catch her breath.  Except, I used to always think...why would someone want to just hang out in a bathroom?  Why indeed?  Nowadays, all Nordstrom stores have at least one, if not two Women's Lounges that include not just a general lounging area, but a mother's room.  This is a room that is usually visually separated from the rest of the lounge, stocked with comfy chairs or sofas, and usually some changing tables and a sink, so that breastfeeding moms have a quiet, discreet place to sit and nurse their babies.  I love all the other aspects of Nordstrom, but even if they didn't exist, and they were just like any other department store, I'd still choose to shop here, because they spent time and money trying to make my life as a mom easier, and my baby's life better by giving me a place to breastfeed her.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!  (And if you don't have a baby but plan to have one, someday you'll understand how profoundly considerate Nordstrom is for providing this amenity.  By the way - these rooms are open to the public.  You don't need to shop at Nordstrom to access them.)

Oh - and if you're ever there, and you realize you've somehow run out of diapers, etc, sometimes you can get one at customer service.  It might cost you a dollar, but boy, is it worth it.

#8  Presales
All of Nordstrom's sales can be pre-sold.  What that means is, shortly before the sale actually happens, you can go in, choose what you want, and have the items held for you until the day of the sale by providing a credit or debit card number.  On the first day of the sale, your items will be charged to your card at the sale price, and you don't have to worry about things selling out, etc..  Now, keep in mind, you won't always know what's going to actually be on sale, but sometimes, sales associates and Personal Stylists can tell you what they think will be receiving price-reductions.  Also, Nordstrom often purchases quantities of items specifically just for that sale, so they may be able to tell you about those.  The Anniversary Sale is the one that is pre-sold systematically, meaning the sales associates know what's going to be available at what price, and are prepared to help you choose your items ahead of time.  Usually, this is a service that's offered only to Level 2 and above Nordstrom cardholders, but if you ask nicely, sometimes they'll give you an appointment anyway.  Also, if you have a friend who's been invited to the Pre-Sale, you can totally tag along with them, and pre-sale as well.

#9  The Sales
The mother of all sales is the annual Nordstrom Anniversary Sale (AS) that takes place in July.  Why is this sale so amazing?  Because this sale is not about price-reductions on items from the current or past season.  This sale provides price reductions on the next season's (fall/winter) merchandise.  In fact, if you miss the Anniversary Sale, you can go into the store and actually find Anniversary Sale items being sold at full-price after the fact.  AS items exist in every department in the store, so you can pick up your winter coat, some sweaters, shoes, make-up, some slacks and shirts for your husband/boyfriend/brother/dad, outfits and shoes for your kids/younger siblings/nieces and nephews, all at once.  Other great sales include the Half-Yearly sales for men, women, and children, which take place semi-annually throughout the year, and these are discounts on current or past season's items.  Just an FYI - don't look for anything discounted past 60% in Nordstrom stores.  Anything that doesn't sell at that price point gets sent out to their Nordstrom Rack shops (in which you can also score some great bargains, if you don't mind putting in the effort).  


#10  Nordstrom Personal Stylists
The most common question I get when I talk about Kelly, my Personal Stylist at Nordstrom, is, "Wow...what do you have to do to get that?"  Nothing.  The service is free.  "But I bet you have to spend a lot."  Nope.  You don't.  (Kathryn loves that Kelly will help her shop Brass Plum without batting an eye.  My friend June has Kelly shop the little boy's department for shirts and the kids' shoe department for designer brand shoes - she has little feet.) "I bet they hard sell you.  Pressure you to buy stuff?"  No, I've never felt pressured by Kelly to buy anything.  In fact, she's stepped in a few times, and told me not to buy something because a) I didn't need it, b) I had something similar already, c) it was a super trendy piece I probably wouldn't get a lot of wear out of.  In a couple weeks, we're going to post an interview with Kelly, so you can get to know her and her services better, but suffice it to say, it's super fun and makes shopping really easy.  She's my insider at the store, so if I ever need help with a return or finding an item, I just need to shoot her an email or send her a text (yes, she's in my cell phone's speed dial).  Also, she's helped me to develop and refine my sense of style and shows me how to put outfits and pieces together.  Now, if you're not in San Diego, or easy driving distance (Kathryn lives in Orange County, but drives down to visit me and work with Kelly), you'll have to find your own Personal Stylist, other than Kelly.  However, I can say this - if the other Nordstrom stylists are half as great as Kelly is, you'll be in good hands.  See your Personal Touch department for more info.

47 comments:

  1. Haha, thanks for the shoutout in the 10 reasons why we're addicted to Nordys post. ;)

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  2. Another reason: the store smells good! Seriously, what is that smell?? You should see when my mom and my aunt get together and go shopping...they always walk in, and then stop and take a deep breath like "we're home." It's hilarious.

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  3. Thanks for these awesome tips!

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  4. Hey Carol and your girl friend! This is awesome! I don't shop at Nordstorm really. Now I really need to give it a try. Thanks!
    --Yan

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  5. I love Nordies, but I am also dying to know what the smell is! :)

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  6. Love your Nordstrom Post, I buy tons of things there and feature them often on www.heartsandhemlines.com, you cannot beat their sales and customer service!

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  7. Thank you for this amazing information about a company I began working for a few months ago. Let me tell you that Nordies is as wonderful to work for as they are to shop for.

    One update to your post.

    Nordstrom has put considerable effort into a new IT system for their website. If the item is sold out in the warehouses, store inventory is now automatically checked and the item found for you. You don't have to ask in store anymore!

    Before working for Nordstrom I discovered the joy of having a personal shopper. I never overspent and I got amazing advice. Can't recommend this service enough! All you need to do is go to the website and express your interest and a Personal Shopper from your preferred store will contact you to find out your needs and match you with the most appropriate member of the team.

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  8. Call the Personal Stylist team at Nordstrom in Brea Ca they are always helpful!

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  9. For#6, you can also earn Nordstrom notes using your checking account too! Nordy's calls it their "Mod-card" and works great for folks like me who don't use a credit card! Instead of charging the funds come out of your checking account AND you earn nordy notes!

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  10. I made my first appointment with a personal stylist to help me pre-shop for the anniversary sale. Question: do I tip her?

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    1. Nordstrom employees can NEVER accept a tip. It would be a cause for termination. I am a former Nordstrom Personal Stylist. I do have relationships that have become friendships and we do exchange small Christmas gifts.

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    2. This is good to know; I've been several times (LOVE the personal shoppers!) and figured if I didn't spend "much" - I would tip her. So far, I've spent what I consider a fair amount each time and they have gotten pretty good commissions, I think. (My first personal stylist left to have a baby)

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  11. @anonymous: no, you don't ever tip your personal stylist. Have fun shopping the presale!

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  12. I dont think I could not tip! are you sure?

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  13. i love nordstrom. who doesn't love nordstrom? great deals and prices everyday...

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  14. I live in San diego and I heard that Nordstrom's in Fashion valley is opening a new designer purse section including Chanel! Would Kelly have information on that or know anyone to recommend for Chanel sales? 

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  15. carol_prettythingsJune 15, 2011 at 10:27 AM

    Hi Jeanette - that's super exciting news! Yes, Kelly would have information on Chanel sales, or be able to recommend someone to you for them. I know, for instance, that the Fashion Valley Nordstrom carries Chanel shoes, but doesn't put them out for display on the floor (not sure why, exactly). So, feel free to contact her about that. I'm sure she'll be able to help you.

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  16. carol_prettythingsJune 15, 2011 at 10:28 AM

    I'm positive - you don't need to tip. Ever. I'm pretty sure they'd turn it down.

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  17. I also love shopping at Nordstrom for all the reaosns you mention here. On top of it, I found an online service from a company named "yairoo.com". If you mail them your Nordstrom online shopping receipt (no paper one yet!), they will notify you when the price of that item drops and I just call Nordstrom's awesome customer service to get my price adjustment. This really helps me make sure I don't miss on any sale! Anyone shopping at Nordstrom must use their service. Their website says it is by invitation only but I could mail my receipt to receipts@yairoo.com and have been getting my mails on all price drops. Bought a jacket for $80 that dropped to $40 in 2 weeeks and got alterted by this service. You can try your luck and see if they will accept your receipt.

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  18. trust me...working for nordstorm is like working in a sweat shop...they pay horribly (an average of $6-7 an hour less than Neimans) they fire for being late three times in a month or for not opening 3 credit accounts in a month and countless other ridiculous reasons. The store manager at my store fired the piano player because his salary came out of her yearly bonus.

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  19. Only had a few icky times at Nordys and living in Seattle we definitely know our way around them. It is how we of the fashion loves do it best. It is a fight to look fine here in the land of REI and grunge.

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  20. Habibah King at UTC San Diego Nordstrom is the very best personal shopper EVER. I was sick and worn out and needed a complete outfit and a few extras to update my wardrobe, so I took the personal shopper route. I filled out her online form, and she was ready for me with a tailor and the works. I spent a little more than I had budgeted but the clothes are things I never would've tried and I'm thrilled with how they look, fit and expand my tired wardrobe. Try it, it's fabulous. Well, Nordy's is the best anywhere!

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  21. I enjoyed reading most of your tips on Nordstrom. I have worked for Nordstrom for a few years now. You mentioned you can purchase something and if you decide you do not need it a year later you can return it. Its really annoying when customers come in and pretty much are just cleaning our their closets with shoes from years ago. Worn or not, why don't you just donate them? I would feel embarassed returning something from over a year ago even if I didn't wear it.

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    1. I completely agree with you, I always feel that once you've worn something outside it becomes yours. Women should try the shoes on at home on carpet and decide right away if they want to keep them or not. I would feel extremely embarassed too and would never do such a thing regardless of what the return policy says. You had uggs for two years and returned them? Really? Shameless....

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    2. I have also worked for Nordstrom for several years and couldn't agree with you more! It's unfortunate to see those few customers that come and and take advantage of our return policy. Those returns count against the employee's sales and ultimately affect their paychecks since most of us work off commission. I understand if you need to return anything that doesnt fit or work with your wardrobe, etc but please don't haul in your old, used items to try to get some money back! Its very annoying and unfortunate for that hard working employee who helped you out.

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    3. I would never return a worn item, but I have returned items I have had for a while and just never wore. Obviously, they were bad shopping choices which I ended up forgetting I even had. Being able to return these items is one of the reasons why love Nordstrom because I can a return and not lose money on something that didn't fit in my wardrobe after all. I spend a ton of money there otherwise so I don't feel bad about returning one or two items a year later. I always shop online so even if I return an item from that long ago I am not deducting anything from an employee's paycheck. I understand a lot of people take advantage of the return policy, but there are people out there who don't abuse it and that is who it is really for!

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  22. I also work for Nordstrom, I just have to say I always here women talking about buying items and wearing them and the returning them. I think A LOT of people take advantage of the stores return policy. Especially the customers that want you to take 4 hours to pick out a whole new wardrobe for them and then consistently return every item worn and the cycle goes on and on. Ladies, Nordstrom is not a rental service if you can not afford to buy an expensive dress for an event THEN DONT BUY IT. When you make all of these large purchases and then return them thats money being taken out of employees paychecks for you to rent clothes.

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  23. I work at Nordstrom as well, and I couldn't agree more the the previous comments. Wearing clothes and returning them even a month later is STEALING. It doesn't matter if you return it a year later or 3 years later if that employee is still with the company you are taking money from their hard earned paychecks and that is not okay. If you are rich enough to buy a Burberry boot that is made to be stepped in rain and mud you can donate your clothes and not steal from poor employees who have to kiss ass all day to people like that.

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    1. Please lay off the drugs. If Nordstroms accepts the return, it is 100% in no way stealing. No customer is taking money from an associates "hard earned paychecks" LOL, that would be Nordstroms doing that. You knew the job's policies when you were hired. If you continue to want to keep this job, stop crying LOL.

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  24. I've shopped at Nordstrom for over 30 years, and I always have the same sensation when I walk into the store: pleasure. Whether I'm there just to browse or have to buy something for a particular event, just breathing the air is a pleasurable experience. What IS that fragrance???

    A couple of years ago, my husband and I lost our home and belongings in a fire. We arrived at a hotel with only the clothes were were standing up in, and since we'd both been working around the house, we looked grubby, to say the least, and we reeked of smoke!

    The next morning, we showed up at Nordstrom, still in a daze and smelling like a campfire, needing someone to put some clothes on us. It took me weeks to be able to make even small decisions, and choosing things like underwear, etc was beyond my capacity that first day. I'd never used Nordstrom's personal shopper before, but a lovely woman helped me buy a couple of casual outfits, shoes, sleepwear, etc. Without treating me like a child, she took care of me. A couple of items needed to be shortened, so the store manager asked the seamstress to do that right away, and while we waited, we were treated to a lovely lunch in the Cafe. Apparently, the manager had told department managers in menswear, shoes, etc to discount all purchases, but some forgot to do so. As we were walking through the parking lot, the store manager ran after us, brought us back in and spent a long time crediting everything and ringing it all up again at the discounted price.

    This was two years ago at Easter, and I still choke up when I think back on the gentleness and kindness that the employees of the Park Meadows (CO) Nordstrom showed us. The point of all this is that one of the outfits that I bought is something I would never have purchased if I'd been in my right mind, which I wasn't that day; however, I wouldn't dream of trying to return it to Nordstrom! I bought it, it was my choice, and the people who work there rely on the sales they make for their income. My mother and older sister are always looking for ways of rooking restaurants, stores, service providers,etc even if there really isn't anything wrong with the item or service, and I find this reprehensible! This is THEFT!

    People who believe in karma or 'what goes around, comes around' believe that it's acts of dishonesty and disregard for those affected by it have consequences in the perpetrator's lives. In addition, parents who cheat in these ways set an example of stealing and dishonesty for their children.

    We get back what we put into this life. We need to be honorable in big and small things; when I take back something just because I want to "screw" a big, faceless corporation, I'm hurting a lot of "little people" who aren't in the executive suite, who don't make millions of dollars each year. Some of those "little people" are the customers. Stores increase prices to cover their losses. This is not to say that defective or substandard items shouldn't be returned. This is to say that shoppers need to practice the "Golden Rule" before they take advantage of Nordstrom's generous return policy; if you were the salesperson whose income is affected by things shoppers buy and return, how would you feel?

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    1. As both a long time Nordstrom employee/sales person and customer, I will respond with a few key notes:

      1) Return policy- there is none- it's wide-open to be used and abused as it is almost always - and to the detriment of both the employee who serves you, the store you shop at, and the stockholders of Nordstrom.
      2) WHEN you return an item, you are taking the EARNED sales commission out of the pocket of the employee who spent time with you and served you.
      3) Nordstrom is NOT a rental store. I know you may have been led to believe that's what we do, but 95% of our customers actually buy things they appreciate and love to own. It's the 5% or so, of you who believe we are here to give you free 'things' who we no longer invite to shop with us. Please go bug Macys, or Dillars or other stores who will legally limit you to reason.
      4) EVERYONE you shop with is on THEIR time. They are NOT paid to show up. They are NOT paid by Nordstrom to look good. Their clothes are NOT PAID for or by Nordstrom. Most employees at your full line Nordstrom store CANNOT afford to shop at their store. They get a discount, but it goes much further at their local RACK or Last Chance store or even elsewhere. Your 'personal shopper' or 'clerk' or whatever you like to call them is there to EARN THEIR PAY by SELLING you something that is best for you and makes you look and feel great. They are not sharks, they are helpful, attendant, well-meaning people who want to serve your interests and get paid for doing it well. When you take their time, and do not buy, you are stealing from them.
      5) IF and WHEN you buy something that is defective, please return it to your sales person and allow them the chance to replace that item. They will not be penalized for doing so and they will gladly do it.
      6) Nordstrom.com- This is something most shoppers have no idea about and would not be expected to know: WHEN you shop ONLINE, please SHOP ONLINE. Nordstrom.com has grown to become the brick and mortar "local" Nordstrom store's largest competitor. If you would like to try something on or something like an online item, then do so in the store and please order it with your friendly Nordstrom employee. IF you come in the store, use an employees time and energy and then tell them "I'll just order that online" you might as well just tell them you're going to buy that at Macy's, Dillards or elsewhere. Your NORDSTROM STORE employees are only compensated for their time when they place orders to Nordstrom.com in the store, otherwise they are working for zero. This is a huge problem that is getting worse as Nordstrom.com continues to grow, pilfer store stock and outgrow the brick and mortar stores. Let's just say this.. if you like having a local store to shop in, it may make sense to order and buy there. It does not take a rocket scientist to understand that the cost structure of an actual store will far outpace that of the online space and eventually there will be no 'local' store if that store's sales do not make fiscal sense.

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    2. Lol boohooo hoo hooo hoooo. You know the policies of your job when you got hired, and CHOOSE to continue to work there. No customer is taking anything out of the employees paychecks. If that is the policy of Nordstroms to do so, then, obviously, it is NORDSTROMS literally taking it out of your paychecks. Blame THEM if you do not like the rules of the job. LOL. Cry boo hoo what an embarrassment. If you don't like how the process is, leave. Quit trying to blame other people for accepting and using Nordstroms return policy.

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    3. "When you take their time, and do not buy, you are stealing from them."

      Really?? I realize Nordstrom employees depend on commission because their hourly rate is pretty poor, but you're still being paid something for your time. I work in real estate. If someone makes an appointment to view an apartment with me and they decide they don't want that apartment, I do NOT consider it stealing in any way, shape, or form. Stop whining.

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  25. My question is . Why should the salesperson be penalized for a hard days work? This appears to be out of exchange. I believe the customer return policy should go like this . This way policy might benefit all. First , If you return it noticeably worn , or its more than 30 days since purchase and not worn you pay a restocking fee or used fee and or a damage fee of 35 % of the retail price, not sale price. This way Nordstrom doesn't loose good sales persons and they make a little profit- after paying 60% of the original commission to there sales force .This would be out of the 35% . Damage goods are always a write off . This however doesn't help the sales department. I still believe my policy works best . Nordstrom you still are the finest in customer service. Remember your family has to matter . Your employees are your family. Would you take money out of your own family. Its nice to be generous but not with everyone else is money. The only loser here is the salesperson.

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  26. I have read all of the above comments going back to 2010, and I had a very good friend who worked at Nordstrom for many years. So I know it's terrible that the salesperson loses commission on returned items. HOWEVER... I have a neice who died last year. Her closets were full of designer clothing and accessories, much of it unworn with price tags still attached. I volunteered to see what I could do about selling these VERY expensive items on ebay. Then my friend (who retired from Nordstrom) said to just take them back. I was surprised to hear her say that after all the years of suffering over lost commissions. Now I am losing my nerve. I don't want to be one of those people who gets talked about by the salespeople. And they will definitely recognize me as a person who can't afford to shop there. Should I return them or not? This represents about $1,000.

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  27. First off, I am so sorry for your loss. This is completely up to your own discretion, but I'm sure if you explain the situation, especially to Customer Service, they would be more than happy to help you. Regardless, you can return them without a problem, but yes, we do frown upon it when people just come in and return items they've obviously used. However, seeing that all these clothes you mentioned are unworn and tagged, I doubt you'll be judged for it. I would definitely go to Customer Service for the return if you decide to do so, because an associate may seem uneasy to do such a large return for multiple items from different departments.

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    1. Well, thank you for your comments on Sept 11... I took two St John items into the store and couldn't find the customer service right off so I went to the St John desk. The associate was on the phone. I waited probably 8 or 9 minutes and she never made eye contact although she knew I was there (with a return in hand!). I walked to the next department and had a friendly exchange with the girl there, but she said the items were several years old (which I had no way of knowing). I agreed to her offer to call a manager, and the manager expressed her condolences but also declined to accept the items.

      That is ok with me, but certainly puts the kabosh on all the stories of returning tires, etc. The funny part was that a regular customer who happened to be there took my phone number because she loved the pants I was trying to return and wanted to make arrangements to see all the size 4 items I might have from Carol's closets! The Nordstrom manager's mouth fell open and we all had a good laugh.

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    2. You didn't know the items you were returning were several years old?

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  28. I've got the credit card bills to show that I've kept more items than I've returned, but sometimes the salesperson will straight up lie to you about what looks good. All's fair in love and war. I will wait until the pushy person's day off to return the stuff that they should not have forced on me.

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    1. I agree. I don't think my stylists have lied to or pushed me, but I always feel a bit rushed when I shop (again - NOT their fault!) and it is nice to go home and try things on for my husband;s and other people's input, and take some more time with my decisions. Sometimes I may for example need to find shoes to go with an outfit so if I return it in a few months - I'd just like my money back. I'm sorry if the sales person loses the sale, but that is life, isn't it?

      Also, not sure what I think about the online option taking sales from sales staff. This is the wave of the future, I'm afraid. Nordstrom's web site is EXCELLENT, by the way, and I have used it to pre-shop and send ideas to my stylists and to put things on wish lists for myself. I will keep in mind that I can help my salesperson earn more money by ordering thru her instead of online. They are great about ordering stuff to ship right to my door (no charge!). I guess that's the "direct to customer" feature in the original blog. Also if you order online, you can return to the store, which is nice, but I think they pay for shipping returns back, too.

      Also - I really liked the accessibility (approachability?) of my salesladies. I always feel so foolish asking for help while shopping, and even tho they were both much younger than I am, they were very attentive, kind, respectful and fun - just like we were friends, shopping together.

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    2. Some day when your paycheck involves other peoples buying a outfit for one night after spending 2 hrs of your time, and taking a hit for 2.000 you will understand .Have some morals PEOPLE!!!!

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  29. I have heard that they will honor other retailers friends and family coupons. Has anybody had luck with this?

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  30. Nordstrom being considered one of the best companies to work for has to be a paid for advertisement, unless they are referring ONLY to employees involved in new store openings and new-hire orientation. Nordstrom does a lot of new store openings and spectacle new-hire orientations, so those people have secure jobs, but for those who apply to work in these new stores, your job is NOT secure. The public is being fooled into thinking Nordstrom is creating jobs. They do these bid production new store openings but what you don't know is after the big circus employees are cut and back into the unemployment pool. Nordstrom company is all smoke and mirrors and those that report it as being a good place to work do not have the facts. This company is definitely not a job to base your future on, or even base your week on because you can be easily fired with only 2 seconds notice, if that. It’s like project runway-one day you’re in and the next day you’re out and they don’t bat an eye about it. Working hard and giving your all because you believe in the rumors that they are a good people business will only cause you great disappointment in the end, because humble and considerate they are not. You are a work horse who could be put down at any given moment.
    This is not a job you take if you are needing a job for survival. This is a job you take ONLY if you can afford to be unsuspectingly let go. This is 100% one of those jobs you take only for the discount or as a supplement. Regardless of your great worth ethic and years invested in the company, you are disposable. Even if you reach the 2 year mark and make Allstar, you should still have a back-up security plan because a slip in sales could mean an instant layoff for even those who feel they have seniority. I have silently witnessed new hires come in grateful to find a job in this bad economy only to be unsuspectingly fired 1 month later and sometimes even shorter than that. Do Not take this job serious because they do not take you serious. If you accept an offer never stop looking for something else, and do not feel obligated to give a 2 weeks notice. After 2+ years of service I wasn't given any notice, just a quick sob story about their failing sales goals and how sad they were to have to fire people. As if cutting my small salary instantly without notice was going to solve their financial woes. This is a HORRIBLE, SELFISH company to be mistreated by. There’s a lot of mistreatment in the world of retail, but this company’s is just low-down and devious. Their excuses for layoffs are heartless. Never accept a job with this company, unless it's in new store openings and new-hire orientation, any other position is a scam.
    On the other hand response from fsession is much much better!!

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    1. I have worked for other retail stores which I can describe and relate to. Nordstrom is a wonderful company to work for. I have worked for full line and rack and I could not ask for more. I love working for Nordstrom. People who say other wise were probably bad employees that didn't do there job.

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  31. Thank you I truly luv it!

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  32. I would like to add that buying items and then returning them after being worn is disgusting. No shame. Seriously it's gross. Do not just buy to buy. Buy something you actually love and keep it. The amount of Items we have to send off daily is ridicules because people have this no shame mentality that they can just return anything. Seriously how low can a person be. I've even seen people return unwashed worn underwear. Customers like that are simply gross. And also the customer base for nordstrom are middle and upper class woman who are so rude to employees. I don't understand how you can treat another person like that. We offer great customer service just to yelled at when a customer doesn't get there way. I've even been cussed at several times. By these woman who think they are better than you. Rude. If they only knew. Some of us come from wealthy families and have wealth of our own. It's horrible the way the treat you. Nasty people who return nasty worn clothes. You should be ashamed of yourself.

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