Thursday, August 12, 2010

A tale about... The Spa Day Retreat on Castlefrank!

I have a bone to pick.

The bone is old and stale, but every time I think about it, I want to pick it just a little more!

The bone became a bone of contention around Easter time, but at that time I was not in blogging mode (because I was pregnant and didn't know it), so many months later I am recounting the story and my dislike for The Spa Day Retreat on Castlefrank.

Up until 'the incident' at Easter time, I really REALLY enjoyed The Spa in Ottawa, both locations - Bell's Corners and Kanata - but since that visit I was totally turned off by their management and the way they handled the entire situation.

What situation you ask?

Well... a friend and I had pedicure and manicure appointments at The Spa Day Retreat back in April on a Friday night. It was a rainy day - and so I had worn my rain jacket. Not just any rain jacket, my brand new Lululemon $150 rain jacket. It was actually my signature purchase from some birthday gift cards I had received back in Janaury - so when I found the jacket, I fell in love with it and thought it was even better because it was a GIFT!

You may already see where this is going, but just so you have the whole story - read along. Every time you go to the Spa (either location) they ask you take off your shoes (in the winter) and hang up your coat. So you do it - and off you go to a different room on a different floor. You get your pedicure, manicure, relax at a drying station afterward, get your coat and shoes back, pay your bill and you're out the door.

My experience back in April didn't quite go like that... my friend and I showed up for our appointments on time, hung up our jackets, took off our shoes, got our pedicures and our manicures, relaxed at a drying station, but when I went to get my coat, it was GONE. Upon consulting the staff, they looked around, but weren't sure - said it must have been mistakenly taken by someone else, so they took my information down, said they would follow up the next day, but were happy to take my payment of over $125 for services received that evening. So I left that night in the drizzle without a coat, and not a happy camper.

Talk about a great experience!

To further my frustration... I had to call them to follow up about the jacket. Upon getting in touch with them, they had called all of their customers from that evening to see if one of them accidentally took my jacket. Apparently there was one Old Navy raincoat left on the coat rack so they were sure someone mistakenly had taken it. However, they said they would keep trying to track it down and a manager would get back to me with an update in a day or two.

Did she get back to me? Nope - I had to call and follow up with them again a few days later. Upon getting a hold of the manager, she basically told me that there was nothing they could do - and that there was a sign in the waiting area that says they are not responsible for lost or stolen items - so that translates to hang your coat and leave your shoes here at your own risk. Did I mention that they make you hang your coat up every time you go in there? Right.

The manager - Marta - that I spoke with said that she was REALLY sorry, but that these things rarely happen (only once before did a customer's Danier leather coat get stolen). She explained that she was the manager of the Bells Corner's location, but that the manager of the Castlefrank location was on vacation but she would let her know about the situation and that maybe that manager would offer me a credit as a sign of - wait for it - goodwill.

A few days later, I did get a call from the manager - Tanya - from the Day Spa Retreat - reiterating that she was really sorry to hear what happened, but that I have to understand that anyone could say they got their jacket taken from the spa - she had to take my word and trust that I was being honest and telling the truth. Wow - talk about believing in your customers!

To some extent I can understand that they may have the odd shady customer - but overall if she looked at my file before calling me it probably was not the best approach to take with a long standing customer. In addition, she rambled on to say that she knows the jacket was probably expensive and so as a peace offering she'd like to offer me a $40 credit on my account as apology.

I was nice and thanked her, but really I sucked it up, because what else could I do? I hung up the phone feeling insulted and overall I now have a very bad taste in my mouth about the whole thing.

First of all, I didn't just walk off the street and get a pedicure and manicure, I have actually been going to the Spa, both locations, for a couple of years now. In addition, a $40 credit at the Spa gets you jackshit. On average I spend $75 a visit, so thanks for your $40 credit, but in the grand scheme of things it just highlights how they feel about loyal customers - they could care less. The other contributing factor is that the jacket cost me $150... so a $40 credit doesn't buy me the zipper off the damn thing, and on top of all that I spent $125 for services that night - the least they could have done is recognized what I was out for having been a customer at their establishment.

I got the memo loud and clear... in the end they really don't care about the customer as long as they get their money.

All this to say... this incident happened over 4 months ago and I am still upset about it. Mostly because we've had some rain in the past week and I would have done anything to have my nice lululemon raincoat to wear - but instead, all I have is an unused $40 credit sitting on my account at The Spa.

Grrrr....!

I am sure many Ottawa peeps have had lovely experiences at The Spa and will continue to - up until this one major incident I really did enjoy going there, but for now on my message to people who continue to go there is don't take anything of value to The Spa - and when they ask you take off your coat and hang it up, hold on to it and insist you keep it with you. You never what types of thieves are crawling around the place.

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