Fun Shoes, First-Class Service
My close pals know two things about me.
One, I have huge feet. (Size 9 or 10, if you must know. And I’m just 5’2”. Call me Sasquatch.)
Two, I love red shoes.
My passion for crimson footwear means I own red cowboy boots, red pumps, red loafers and even red flip flops.
About five years ago, desperate for red espadrilles, I went online and stumbled on what looked like the perfect pair. Problem was, they came from a Spanish company called Viscata.
I'd never heard of them. And ordering from foreign outfits carries a certain risk. Don't ask me how I know. I just do.
But. Red. Shoes.
I took a chance.
The shoes were terrific. My favorite pair ever.
Best of all, I felt super trendy when I read on a fashion blog that Kate Middleton also wears Viscata espadrilles. That duchess. Always copying me.
With spring approaching I realized my old red espadrilles were looking tired. So I headed to Viscata a few weeks ago to order a new pair, plus a pair of black flats.
Yes, I’m aware I’m unemployed. Leave me alone. New shoes make me feel better about myself.
So, the shoes arrived. The reds: perfect. The blacks: too small.
I emailed the company to arrange an exchange.
They emailed back to apologize and said returns were no problem, no charge. (Yep, they said they were sorry, even though I realized later it was my fault for not reading the memo about size, which said to order a half size up on flat shoes.)
One day later another Viscata box arrived. With a duplicate of my original order.
That prompted another email from me, which began like this:
Dear Viscata - There’s been some mistake. I’m awash in shoes.
And another email from them. An apology, even friendlier than the last. We were on a first-name basis now:
I’m terribly sorry for this mistake from the warehouse team. These shoes are not your replacement shoes. You have been sent your original order twice and we will definitely look into this to see what might have happened.
I personally placed your new order of shoes (which by the way you weren’t charged for. We don’t collect payment for the exchange shoes we send) and they will get shipped tomorrow. Only a pair of black espadrilles in size 42, I promise :)
We are sorry you have to take the time to go and mail the shoes again…
Do not be alarmed by the size 42. That’s Euro-talk for a 10. One more reason to love America.
In my next email I told Graciela I’d be happy to return the duplicates and mentioned that the tiny Seapines Post Office in Virginia Beach is the friendliest place in town. Going there is a pleasure, I assured the company's "customer experience specialist."
But before I could put on a coat and grab my keys, Graciela sent another email.
That’s so kind of you. We really appreciate your understanding but we still feel bad about this because, in fact, it was our mistake and we wouldn’t want to cause you more trouble.
So, on second thought, I’ve discussed this with my supervisor and we both believe we can save you your second trip to the post office (even if it is a nice place :) We are sure you can find a relative or friend to whom you can maybe gift the shoes and thus get them to know Viscata :) How does that sound?
Which is how my website partner, Bryn, came to own two new pairs of espadrilles.
There were more emails. I told Graciela about the website and said I planned to write about her company’s awesome customer service.
Hey, if they'd treated me poorly, I'd definitely use this space to vent.
Then she emailed back with a 15% off coupon code for anyone who learns about the company from kerrydougherty.com.
So, I guess this is what’s called a “promoted” post, although it started simply as a shout-out to a very cool Spanish company - with fewer than two dozen employees plus artisans - making lovely handmade shoes and treating customers with kindness and respect.
A rare and wonderful experience these days.
Check them out at viscata.com. And if you buy something, use the discount code: INSTA15 for 15% off.
If you encounter any problems, talk to my friend in Barcelona, Graciela Pandiello Cortizo. She was an English studies major in college, and she also speaks French or Italian if you prefer.
Tell her I said hola!