So, if you recall, when we moved from Orlando to Charlotte this June, we sold off all of our furniture and put our entire life in a small trailer:


As a result, we went nuts in West Elm (my favorite store, ever) and our apartment is pretty much decorated in that style.


Our couch was a West Elm floor model that we got at a steep discount because it had been used and returned:




I really liked our couch… at first.  And then the fabric began to pick and pull (this was not due to the dogs; our jeans would come off onto the couch and the fabric began to rub away).


This… drove… me… bat… sh*t… crazy.  I figured that we couldn’t return the couch (since it had been a floor model and four months had passed), but I seriously gritted my teeth every time I sat down on our (very expensive) dirty-looking couch.


HOWEVER, the other day I happened to be in West Elm (window shopping!!!) and mentioned my plight to the sales rep.  He said they would ABSOLUTELY take the couch back – can you believe it?  Customer service WIN.


So today, it was out with the old…


And in with the new!  Well, the new is still being delivered, but hopefully, I’ll have a pretty new living room to show you soon.  It’s quite different than our first look!


Side note: I hate that jute rug as well.  That was also a poor purchase.  Live and learn, I guess.  But it’s being moved into our bedroom, and I might like it more there.


OH – and… speaking of the responsible spending challenge, the living room makeover only cost us $100 out of pocket with delivery.  :)  I can live with that.




Green Monster with almond milk, banana, spinach (mmm, salad in a glass):


And thick naan bread with PB and jelly:


Off to run errands!

Any customer service wins for you lately?



  • Rachel October 20, 2010, 1:46 pm

    Nicely done! I went into West Elm for the first time last weekend. SWOON.

  • Beth @ Beth's Journey to Thin October 20, 2010, 1:48 pm

    Wow that is so awesome that they took your couch back!! I love that store even more now. 🙂

  • Holly @ couchpotatoathlete October 20, 2010, 1:50 pm

    What a nice company!

    One company that I am always impressed with is Macy’s — not that I do a ton of returns, but when I do, they are always at the top of their game. If I threw the tags away or lost the receipt they are always helpful. Granted, I’m sure they get taken advantage of left and right, but it is nice for me since I am an honest shopper/returner at their store.

  • Tiffany (Stuffed with Fluff) October 20, 2010, 1:51 pm

    So great that you guys received good customer service at your local West Elm. I’ve heard horror stories about the quality of the couches/customer service. I’ve even experienced some snarky attitude from customer service reps I’ve dealt with in SD. I’m glad you were able to switch things out. Can’t wait to see your new look

  • Samantha Angela @ Bikini Birthday October 20, 2010, 1:52 pm

    Wow, that’s really great of them. I guess you don’t know unless you ask right?

  • Amanda (Eating Up) October 20, 2010, 1:52 pm

    My dad found the camera I got a couple weeks ago in a competitor’s flyer $50 cheaper a week after we bought it from Best Buy. He went in to Best Buy, and they gave him the $50 back!

  • Julie October 20, 2010, 1:53 pm

    I love how RoadRunner sports will take my shoes back within 60 days… no matter how much I’ve used ’em. I bought insoles from them and returned them after I ran a marathon because they were NOT helping. No hassles. Love it!

  • Rachel @ EatMoreMeatLess October 20, 2010, 1:53 pm

    That’s so great!! Can’t wait to see new living room!

  • Sarah for Real October 20, 2010, 1:55 pm

    Sweet! We made so many mistakes when we were furnishing our first house. I now have the most annoyingly schlumpy, dirty looking couch to live with. Oh, and our mattress was a totally bad buy too.

    By chance, do you dislike that rug because it’s uncomfortable underfoot?

  • Stacey (The Habit of Healthy) October 20, 2010, 1:55 pm

    I’m so impressed that they agreed to take the couch back, that is good customer service. I’m looking forward to seeing the new look living room.

  • Tina @ Faith Fitness Fun October 20, 2010, 1:56 pm

    I totally had a PBJ lunch today too. Although with an apple instead of a GM. 😀

    That’s really impressive they took a floor model back. Certainly great service.

  • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks October 20, 2010, 1:56 pm

    That’s awesome that they’re willing to take it back!

    I pretty much never even try to get anything replaced or ask for anything from customer service people. I hate bothering them because I know how awful it is to get complained at for several hours a day. I feel guilty for asking.

    From working years in a customer service position, I can tell you that there are two ways to get what you want from a business:

    1) Be super nice and friendly to your salesperson.

    2) Be completely awful to your salesperson.

    Either one works. In the first case, the salesperson is so happy that someone has finally said a kind word to them that day that they bend over backwards and do anything that is in their power to make the customer happy.

    In the second case, a manager is usually called and the manager is so frustrated and tired of talking to the customer that they just give in to whatever the customer wants to get them to shut up and go away.

    We in the business prefer the first option, just for the record. 😉

    • Kelly October 20, 2010, 2:16 pm


      • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks October 20, 2010, 3:32 pm

        It’s true!

        But it really used to make my day when someone was nice to me…even if they wanted a refund.

    • eatmovelove October 20, 2010, 2:50 pm

      LOL. Oh my God, I am always debating this in my own life situations! I don’t know if I should be nice and if that will win someone over or convince them…or just be full-on assertive and aggressive…and scare the crap out of them ;)…

      • Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks October 20, 2010, 3:34 pm

        I say go nice first, and see if it works. If not, ask for a manager. Be insistant, but not a jerk. No yelling or screaming, just tell them what you need in a level tone.

        • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 5:39 pm

          that is my personal policy. i am in charge of getting returns etc in our family because i can put on my big girl panties when necessary. be very nice at first, and then be firm if you need to be.

        • eatmovelove October 20, 2010, 6:30 pm

          …hmmm, so is this how i can get out of my apartment lease? :(…i’ve tried being nice but i’m nailed to a year’s lease…meanwhile my fridge wasn’t working properly for 2 months (among other things!)…

  • Kristina @ spabettie October 20, 2010, 1:59 pm

    I love West Elm… they are First Class.

    Comcast recently gave me AWESOME service… I was being charged for a piece of equipment we no longer had, and they told me I still had it!! I would be charged until “I returned it” or I could pay $300 for the item and they’d stop charging monthly. Good old twitter!! I tweeted my frustration, and someone from Corporate called me – a few days later it was fixed. 😀

  • Dani October 20, 2010, 1:59 pm

    That’s awesome!! So glad they took it back for you. I recently had a waiter tell my my card had been declined in front of a bunch of friends, turned out it wasn’t even my card he had switched it with someone else’s, someone else who bought drinks on my card. After numerous phone calls and one very disgruntled email I now have free bottle service the next time I decide to go out there courtesy of the general manager 🙂

  • jeanna October 20, 2010, 1:59 pm

    You don’t like the jute rug? May I ask why, I keep thinking its what I want to get for our new home. Id love your feedback. Is it not cozy, attracts everything…?

    • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 5:31 pm

      yup – exactly. not cozy, attracts dust, unwashable, and it comes apart.

    • Christena October 20, 2010, 7:10 pm

      Hope you don’t mind me commenting, but I hate my jute rug also…it is in my dining room, so there are occasional spills, and of course, it is unwashable. Everything I have tried for spot cleaning actually “bleaches” the rug out and leaves an even worse spot. And it was a light beige color and now it is dirty-looking. It makes me bat sh*t crazy every day when I look at it. Getting it replaced is on the tip top of my to-do list.

      • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 9:23 pm

        yup – jute rugs only are good in theory.

  • allison @ thesundayflog October 20, 2010, 2:02 pm

    i had a NAST-AY experience with pineapple chobani this morning, tweeted to them, and they emailed the nicest note and are offering me coupons for my trouble! WIN!

  • Lindsay Perrone (goodiesgalore) October 20, 2010, 2:05 pm

    worst customer service– Best Buy. Sorry, I like to call them out whenever possible. BEST BUT YOU BLOW GOAT!!!
    Anyway, that pb&j looks extra good.

  • Jenn @ LiveWellFitNow October 20, 2010, 2:06 pm

    Starbucks paid for my drink! (not today but not too long ago!). Just because…

    So nice.

  • Jasmine @ Eat Move Write October 20, 2010, 2:08 pm

    Yes, you should definitely like what you buy at West Elm. That place is expensive! I can’t wait to see the new couch! I love decorating.

  • Erika @ Food, Fitness, & Fun October 20, 2010, 2:08 pm

    Love the Operation Beautiful note on the back of the U-Haul – only you would think of that! 😉

  • Kelly October 20, 2010, 2:15 pm

    AWESOME! I think the best customer service is from Zappos! They are AMAZING!!

    • elliebelle October 20, 2010, 5:46 pm

      I totally agree! I am a VIP on Zappos, and two times in a row my package didn’t come the next day (it took 2 days). Which really is NO big deal – but I called just to let them know this was happening. They sincerely apologized and then gave me a $15 off coupon! Awesome.
      Plus, they will do phone exchanges and won’t charge you for the second pair of shoes – you just have to send one pair back within two weeks. Super awesome. I heart Zappos – obviously! 🙂

      • Kelly October 20, 2010, 6:46 pm

        Oh I know!!! I ordered the wrong size once (which was obviously my fault) and when I called them to exchange they next-day rushed my order in my size with a return box and shipping label for the ones I wanted to return! And this wasn’t even their fault! I LOVE Zappos!! They seriously are the best!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat October 20, 2010, 2:18 pm

    I can’t wait to see the new look! No customer service wins for me lately, but I have complained in the past and have received a few gift cards because of it!

  • Anna @ History Running Girl October 20, 2010, 2:20 pm

    Wow what amazing customer service!!

    I had great service at my vet the other day. My cat has had to go in a few times, and this time I was just able to call instead of dragging her in for an exam when they already knew what was wrong.

  • Amy @ Huffmania October 20, 2010, 2:21 pm

    I had great customer service at JCrew once where they took back two sweaters I’d had for over a year. They had holes along the neckline. They gave me full price store credit to shop! They earned a customer for life.

    That green monster SOUNDS interesting but I’m still too apprehensive to try spinach in a smoothie. I know, I know, you can’t taste it … I’ll work up the nerve eventually.

    • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 5:38 pm

      i swear to god you can’t taste it.

  • Kelly October 20, 2010, 2:21 pm

    That is awesome! Cant wait to see your new look!

    Can I ask why you don’t like the jute rug? I have a small one for shoes my the front door and was thinking about getting a big one. The only think I like is I can’t put it in the washer if it gets dirty. I was thinking I could hose it and let it dry outdide.

    • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 5:34 pm

      see comment 15!

  • Kelly October 20, 2010, 2:22 pm

    edit- I meant the only thing I dont like it that I can’t wash it. 🙂

  • Hope October 20, 2010, 2:37 pm

    That’s is so lucky! I love places that get customer service right! Well done!

  • laura buchanan October 20, 2010, 2:40 pm

    thats awesome…my husband and i had a similar experience with a furniture company in gastonia. and yes, jute rugs are nice in theory but horrible in real life…they belong in magazines ONLY!

    BTW, do you have the recipe for that green monster drink…looks YUM-O!

  • Teacherwoman October 20, 2010, 2:41 pm

    Wow! that is a customer service WIN! Awesome!

  • krista October 20, 2010, 2:44 pm

    Sounds like you will need to do a short post on why you don’t like the jute rug, a few of us are very interested! 🙂
    We plan to put our house on the market in Jan so i’m excited to re-decorate totally differently with our next house. So I love reading about anything involving decoration!

  • Ramona October 20, 2010, 2:45 pm

    Is that naan from Trader Joe’s? I love the various flavors of it. We make mini pizzas out of the garlic flavored ones.

    • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 5:34 pm

      yes! naan = epic.

  • Stacey October 20, 2010, 2:48 pm

    That’s awesome that they took the couch back! But I’m curious as to why you aren’t a fan of the rug?? Jason and I bought a really expensive plush mattress this past summer, and we had only had it for ONE week when we realised it was causing him back pain, so we called the guy (it’s a small, locally owned business) and told him our problem..and asked if we could trade it off or something and he said NO!!!!! Can you believe that?! He said (like a complete A**hole) “All purchases are final.” And then hung up! what a douche. Anywho, so that was a customer service LOSS haha 😀

    • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 5:34 pm

      Yea – rip them a new one on a review site so other people don’t have the same problem!

  • Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down) October 20, 2010, 2:52 pm

    The naan bread looks amazing! So thick and dense. 😀

    So glad to hear that you were able to bring back the couch. That must have felt like such a relief. 😀

  • Sara October 20, 2010, 2:53 pm

    WOW! What a great furniture store. I don’t know any around these parts that would let you do that. That’s fab! Way to go!

  • Katie @ Healthy Heddleston October 20, 2010, 2:54 pm

    Just returned a pair of running shoes that I ran 3 miles on treadmill and 5 miles outside in. My toes were tingling/going numb.. and I got a full refund!

  • Whitney @ Whitinspired October 20, 2010, 2:58 pm

    I rented a dress from rent the runway to take on our vacation to Vegas. I only ordered it b/c it was on sale for $30, and I wanted to try them out before forking over anymore $$$. Well the dress didn’t show up in time. I was pretty pissed, so I called customer service to see if I could have a friend drop it in the mail while we were gone and get a refund. The girl on the phone was so ridiculously helpful. She not only intercepted the package, she let me pick out THREE dresses, for free, no matter the cost! And they were waiting for me at the hotel when we landed in Vegas! I ended up getting 3 dresses that were $150 a piece. Needless to say, I won’t think twice about renting from them again.

  • Heather October 20, 2010, 3:02 pm

    That’s awesome, good for you (and your living room). PetSmart took my dog crate back after my pup busted out of it during a storm. It was after their 60 day return policy, and they gave me a new one…thank you PetSmart!

  • Lindsay McAlester October 20, 2010, 3:05 pm

    My family and were at WF this weekend. I may or may not have dragged them there just to get a YUM-O Zinger to drink! 🙂 Anyhow, I was bummed that they were out of the large plain Pita Pal Organic Hummus. They did have one Basil and Sundried Tomato that I was hesitant to try. I asked a clerk if they had more. She said they did not and slapped and sample sticker on that bad boy. Long story….summing it up! It was F.R.E.E! I mean wow! Talk about great cutomer service! 🙂

  • katie October 20, 2010, 3:06 pm

    jet blue called me to tell me that my flight changed. i missed the call but they left a message and when i called back some one picked up on the 2nd ring. and by “some one” i mean a REAL LIVE HUMAN BEING who SPEAKS ENGLISH

  • Clare @ Fitting It All In October 20, 2010, 3:12 pm

    I accidentally booked two of the same flights to Florida — the first didn’t come through on my email or bank account so I thought it wasn’t finalized. When I realized it I was SURE it would be a pain to take care of since flights are non-refundable. But the lovely people at American Airlines asked no questions and refunded one ticket in less than 2 minutes! AWESOME!

  • Liz @ Tip Top Shape October 20, 2010, 3:17 pm

    I alway shave good customer-service-feelings when I go to JCREW. I have never had anything other than amazing service there. They know how to treat their customers and how to make you want to go back.

    Love the green monster in a jar! I need to try that soon!

  • Lacey @ Lake Life October 20, 2010, 3:30 pm

    Lol @ “our jeans would come off onto the couch”. That just sounds funny!

    I have had a big customer service FAIL recently with my cable company. They started sending my bill to the wrong address for the past 3 months! Then on Monday, when they turned my landlord’s cable off for the winter, they turned mine off by mistake! No interent and cable for a 24-hour period makes me 🙁

  • Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman October 20, 2010, 3:45 pm

    Wow, that’s fantastic. I never would have thought they’d take it back. Furniture is so expensive. I’ve been shopping for a big chair for years but can never pull the trigger because they cost so much. Maybe I should find a worn floor model!

  • Jenny October 20, 2010, 3:49 pm

    My customer service win was with beachbody. They never fail me : )

  • Hope October 20, 2010, 3:52 pm

    You are so lucky that you recieved good customer service. That is rare these days!

  • Cathy K October 20, 2010, 4:00 pm

    i work in retail, at a running store (i love my job!!!) so speaking with experience from the OTHER side of the counter…the best way to get superior service is to be polite. also, if you have a situation a bit out of the ordinary, ask to speak to the manager, or even better, call or email the store ahead of time to ask what the best procedure is for you to follow. thanks! 🙂

  • Ellen@FirednFabulous October 20, 2010, 4:00 pm

    Good customer service is hard to come by, can’t recall the last time I got it.

    Always love pics of the dawgies 😉

  • Liz @ Blog is the New Black October 20, 2010, 4:01 pm

    I always tell people when I have a super experience because I think it’s so worth it to know a store cares. For example, WE just went up in my eyes!

  • jen October 20, 2010, 4:05 pm

    OMG please tell me if the fabric of the old couch was “cotton basketweave”??? that is what we have from west elm and are returning it too!!!

    is it?!

    • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 4:12 pm

      it’s like super soft? i dont know what its called!

  • jen October 20, 2010, 4:13 pm

    lol well we are getting a new one too 🙂 yay!

  • Mary @ Bites and Bliss October 20, 2010, 4:13 pm

    Gotta love when companies come through like that! Some places refuse to take something back just because it was sold..but for them to take it back after it had even been worn down a bit- that’s awesome!!

  • Amber K October 20, 2010, 4:14 pm

    Wow that is awesome! I haven’t had anything like that happen, but it is nice to know it happens.

  • Cindy October 20, 2010, 4:17 pm

    I heard Oakley & Sunglass Hut absolutely rock for customer service. I bought a Pottery Barn rug that I’m really unhappy with, I just might give them a visit! 🙂

    • MK October 20, 2010, 7:06 pm

      Pottery Barn and West Elm are owned by the same company and have pretty similar customer service policies so I’m sure you won’t have a problem. Good luck!

  • Lauren @ October 20, 2010, 4:27 pm

    I LOVE West Elm!!! I ordered a bunch of stuff from them in August, but they still have not arrived because they are on back order. I love your couch!

  • Kath October 20, 2010, 4:36 pm

    OMG! I can’t believe the couch is gone! I loved it. Can’t wait to see what you got!

    • Caitlin October 20, 2010, 5:41 pm

      you will love my new couch more, i promise 🙂

  • Lisa (bakebikeblog) October 20, 2010, 4:45 pm

    Customer Service win indeed!!!!!

  • Johanna B October 20, 2010, 4:50 pm

    Good-bye couch, hello lifetime customer. That’s great news. Looking forward to seeing the new living room.

  • Laurie October 20, 2010, 5:09 pm

    Funny West Elm story. Several years ago I bought a beautiful rich red comforter. The top was velour/velvety and the bottom was shiny, silky. That shiny stuff was so darn slippery it fell off the bed every night. I went to them after a month and said “if you don’t help me, there will be a divorce because my hub and I fight all night with the comforter falling off the bed.” They were great, gave me store credit and I got a cute little desk that I am sitting at now with my computer on it. Kudos to customer service, it makes me want to buy from them.
    Can’t wait to see your new stuff.

  • Allison October 20, 2010, 5:39 pm

    Your place looks great! Isn’t it great when things like that happen!
    Fit&Fab Living

  • Dorry October 20, 2010, 5:49 pm

    I have had great customer service wins at Luke’s Locker where I buy my running shoes in Dallas. It’s like they are just as dedicated to finding me the perfect pair of running shoes as I am…and have let me return 2 used pairs. I <3 them. 🙂

  • Liza October 20, 2010, 6:10 pm

    Wow! I can’t believe they are taking the couch back. That is so awesome. Also, I wish I could eat naan. It use to be my favorite thing in the world but I can’t eat gluten anymore. So sad!

  • Amy October 20, 2010, 6:12 pm

    I live in Japan and here you always win with customer service! The kindest, most wanting to please people ever! I even had a problem with United (they didn’t want to rebook my flight even though it was cancelled due to a typhoon). I dealt with the customer service in America for 3 hours and got nowhere, called the Tokyo United line and she had rebooked me in under 10 minutes, with fewer connections!

  • Kjirsten- Balanced Healthy Life October 20, 2010, 6:31 pm

    That’s awesome about West Elm. I never shopped there before! What great customer service!

  • Jen October 20, 2010, 6:34 pm

    I recently emailed my favourite makeup/skincare company (Marcelle) to rave about their deoderant (I know, it doesn’t take much to make me happy!) and they responded by sending me $20 in coupons good for any of their products! Love it! And love them!

  • Maria @ Oh Healthy Day October 20, 2010, 6:44 pm

    Totally buying West Elm for my next furniture picks – how awesome are they?

    I am a fan of Lululemon when it comes to CS. I’ve had one of their jackets for months now and its pilling like crazy. It has only been dry cleaned too – so no error on my part. Anyways, they are letting me take it back after months of wear!

  • Wei-Wei October 20, 2010, 7:02 pm

    Yay, win! I haven’t had much purchasing lately, so I wouldn’t know about all the CS. Still, it’s awesome that they let you do that!

  • Heidi - apples under my bed October 20, 2010, 7:42 pm

    firstly: LOVE the customer service win – good karma I guess! I love being surprised like that, when you did not expect to be so lucky.

    secondly: LOVE the green monster in the glass jar with the straw 🙂 super cute!
    Heidi xo

  • Cynthia (It All Changes) October 20, 2010, 7:42 pm

    The best CS experience I had recently was at Fossil. We were just window shopping for a satchel for a Christmas gift. The sales clerks pointed out many features and other options we didn’t see in the back. The wrote down the item name and number for us and then took my business card to give me a call if it goes on sale. I will definitely be getting the bag from there because Hunni loved it and the service was wonderful.

  • Lauren October 20, 2010, 7:56 pm

    Just think how the world would be a much happier place if every customer service experience was a win. I swear I think most of the mean people on this earth have been transformed this way because of bad service. It can be contagious.
    Can’t wait to see the new couch!!

  • Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin October 20, 2010, 7:57 pm

    That’s awesome customer service! I had a similar situation when the zipper broke on my Lululemon bag and they replaced with with a new bag for free! I was so impressed!

  • Camille October 20, 2010, 8:55 pm

    I had a major customer service win at Best Buy the other day. My iPod had broken due to water damage when i was running my Marathon and Apple said that they couldn’t replace it for me. Well, it turns out that I bought the protection plan at Best Buy so not only did they replace my iPod, but they upgraded me to the new model for $20!
    Epic score!

  • chelsey @ clean eating chelsey October 20, 2010, 9:13 pm

    That is so awesome you were able to return your couch!!! Lucky you!

  • Jean@RoastedRootsPumpkinSpice October 21, 2010, 12:30 am

    Whao, that’s awesome about your couch! Recently I bought a dress at Macy’s and the next day when I went back, it was on sale for half off. When I told the sales rep about it, she let me bring back the dress, return it, and buy it back for half off. It was amazing.

  • Cc October 21, 2010, 2:10 am

    It’s great when such a nice thing happened to you. Good customer service is hard to come by, can’t recall the last time I got it.

  • maya @ finding balance in tokyo October 21, 2010, 2:43 am

    The general level of customer service here in Japan puts the rest of the world to shame. I think a lot of it is because service jobs are not looked down upon in quite the same way as they can be in some other countries. There is more of a mentality that every person does their part to make the whole society function properly, and that leads to cashiers, salespeople, and even fast food staff that honestly and genuinely go out of their way to be polite, friendly, and give you a good experience.

    On the flip side of that, they are much less willing to bend the rules do certain things that are common in the US. Retail returns can be done for some items and at certain stores, but are not as widely accepted as back home.

    They will put a spin on it and make it seem like they really wish they could help but can’t go against the rules, and then apologize and bow 50 times for having to tell you no, though.

  • Amanda October 21, 2010, 8:04 am

    Amazing customer service at I saw a light fixture in a magazine and went to their website to learn more. I emailed info to ask some questions. Matt, the owner/artists, was so helpful, answered all of my questions right away, and is custom making part of the fixture for me at no additional charge. This positive experience reminds me why I love to buy from US-based entrepreneurs!

  • vann October 21, 2010, 9:48 am

    oh! im so jealous you have west elm near you. none here in KC! that is a major CS win, btw. 🙂 you make me want to redecorate my townhome!!

  • RhodeyGirl October 21, 2010, 4:30 pm

    I have no customer wins but I am REALLY excited for yours!

    We bought new couches 6 week ago and the day we bought them we sold our old ones. WHOOPS! SO now we are sitting on our ottomans or these big pillows until our new ones get delivered.

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