Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Dear Michael (Response from Once Upon A Child)

My silly letter sent to the operator of my local Once Upon A Child received the following response:

Dear Michael,

Thank you for the email and customer input is always considered. I apologize for the delay in response. If you have further questions or comments my new email for the location is; (removed).

Regarding our bathroom, I do empathize with the potty training parents and the pregnant mothers shopping. I can tell you the story behind this as the decision to make our bathroom facilities private was one that was made over many years after several different attempts to monitor usage.

We used to open the bathroom for use and to try on clothing. We had so much theft that we built a dressing room and put a lock on the bathroom. Customers would then have to ask for the key. Well, unfortunately I don't staff enough girls to wait at the door (due to finances). This became a problem all over with theft and destruction. The deciding factor was the theft issue. Generally we do not discuss this as not everyone is bad and unfortunately they have to pay the price for those that are. Once the decision was made we did use the bathroom as storage, making it not under code for the public. I tried not to make this decision over a 5yr. period.

I am a small independent business owner. My store is one of the smallest in the system. Both my husband and I do work and have a family and retail is always a risky business with high operating expenses. I apologize for your inconvenience with the bathroom and sincerely wish it was different. Theft loss became too high of an expense.

I am sometimes on shift, and work almost every night after close. I usually see most of the girls on a daily or every other day basis. We definitely had an issue with clothing over the summer that had been addressed. We had to make a list of "NO's" that was very specific.

I am not sure when you were last in the store. We do have days that we get slap happy and discuss things and joke around. We are all close as a staff as many of my girls have worked for me for a very long time.

I do have a food lover on staff and we rarely get time to go out for lunch the way our business is and the girls have to eat behind the counter and are paid through lunch.  Part of this is due to retail safety as 1 person should never be left in the store alone. I think we have made several people hungry. Certainly if this is offensive we can quiet that down a bit.

I don't think we have addressed that issue yet from a customer complaint?

I will re-look at the clothing situation as not everyone sees the same thing in the mirror that someone else may. Please know that the business means a lot to me as I have struggled through this for 13 yrs. and started the business as a single mother. My child was 6yrs. old when I opened the doors and is now in college.  I take every criticism to heart and address as I see fit. I hope this has helped in some way, we would love for you to continue to shop us as a source to help with managing our high cost of living and raising children. They cost us money for life and we are always parents not matter what the age.

Please let me know that you have received my email, since I am late in my response. I will leave the email again that is most frequently checked.  Oh, and I am glad your kids aren't wearing grocery bags, although I will say that my sons favorite thing to play with were pots n pans in the kitchen and boxes he could make things out of. You have quite the sense of humor!  Thanks again!

Annie Weddle
Once Upon a Child/ Stow

I’m very impressed with how Annie responded to my letter. She addressed both of my concerns with a thoughtful and candid explanation. I now understand why the bathroom no longer exists but regret that it will continue to be an issue for us. No hard feelings though.

When Thing1 masters this whole potty thing we will reconsider. Hopefully she doesn’t grow too fast, though, we only have those fancy reusable shopping bags now and I’ll be in big trouble if I cut those up for clothes.