Posts Tagged Bonobos

Ozzy Bonobos

Today, I am bringing you a tag team post created for you by myself and another one of my faithful Australian readers, J. Argenta. I hope you enjoy.

Recently, I posted about Bonobos. As a result, one of my readers, J. visited the site and did a little shopping.

“I’m one of his avid readers and couldn’t help but check out the Bonobos site after he spoke so highly of it! I found some great stuff on there, but when I got to the checkout and it was $91 to get stuff shipped to Australia! — More than the pair of pants I was going to get. I was basically a stranger and hoped what I was about to ask wasn’t too strange, but I asked if he wouldn’t mind placing the order for me and sending it over for me? I offered to transfer you the money to cover it all and do so before he placed the order. I just don’t happen to know anyone in America and figured the shipping would be cheaper this way. I knew it was a long shot, but I hoped he would be comfortable with this.” – J. Argenta

This posed many challenges. I wanted to help him out. I was totally game to do whatever I needed to do, but this would certainly force me to give up anonymity. He would need to know my name and address to mail me payment. I didn’t feel comfortable breaking down the fourth wall.

I thought about how else I could help. I knew as a blogger, I had a certain level of power. I could reach out to the Bonobos PR team and see if there was anything they could do. I sent them an email:

Hey there Bonobos PR team. 
I am one of your biggest fans (I bought the Shortboards – Lapis Lazuli and ABSOLUTELY love them! and have since bought some pants and hats because I love how everything fits me well. I digress) I have an odd request to make. I am a blogger. My blog mainly (but not limited to) attracts a specific audience, but one that fits well with the Bonobos brand — the gay community. You can check out my daily blog at onegayatatime.com. That being said, I love Bonobos products and am not shy about telling my readers about this. In one of my posts, I mentioned your brand and how much I enjoy it. Afterwards, I received an odd email from one of my readers in regards to your products. 
[I attached his original email]. 
I’m not 100% comfortable making this transaction for him, but I was hoping maybe by reaching out to him I could help him solve his high-priced shipping problem. I told him I would reach out to you and see what you could do for him. I work in media, so I know the value of word-of-mouth. You can expect me to continue to speak positively about your products in my blog and can be assured I will make special note if you find a viable solution for my reader. Thanks for your assistance with this issue.
I look forward to hearing from you!   
— O.G.A.A.T.

I was CC’d on an email to the Ninjas who take care of this, and they replied back, “Done. Thanks.” I was surprised how brief the response was, but I decided to wait and see what they sent to J. Argenta. I also asked them to keep me up-to-date with what they were doing so I could share the positive story. I got an email in response:

Sure no problem. Sorry about the curt email. Your message was forwarded to us from the PR team so I though I was giving her a direct reply. My apologies if that came off as short. I can definitely keep you updated. I didn’t know your friend/fan’s name but I shot him an email outlining our international shipment options (we actually pay for outgoing shipments but have to do it manually due to shipping negotiations and site shortcomings). 
Thanks for reaching out on this.
Cheers.  

— Nick

“I told O.G.A.A.T. they offer free international shipping, but because of ‘how the young program is and various logistic negotiations/planning/tweaking,’ Bonobos covers the cost of shipping manually in the form of store credit. Nick also said I would have to cover customs charges, but I’ve never had to do this with other international orders from other sites. I’m not sure if other sites maybe cover this cost or just include it in their selling price.” — J. Argenta

I emailed the Ninjas again and told them the issue:
Because of this, I think you may be losing a sale and a customer, and I am disappointed in how this problem is being handled. I was hoping to report a viable solution on my blog with a happy story of great customer service to match a great product, but as of now I can’t do that. A store credit of $91 doesn’t sound like a viable solution to me. The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit. I would hope you would further investigate this issue or possibly escalate it to a higher level. I look forward to hearing a happy ending to this story.
Thanks for your help!

This is when Nick really went above and beyond to clarify the situation and make sure he had a satisfied customer. He quickly sent me a reply:

Hey again,
Let me start off by saying that I don’t think your friend will have to pay duties. Sorry about the confusion here. I think maybe there was a miscommunication on our part. Basically the deal with customs is that we (or any company/site/vendor) have no control over duties and customs charges. These are determined solely by the host countries and reimbursing recipients for customs/duties is a legal ‘iffy’ area.
[He then went into detail on international shipping and customs policies, as well as breaking out costs and examples].
So basically our feeling was since we lack the ability to predict or control customs costs in other countries we would make it up to the customer by not charging them for international shipping a la the store credit option. I think the confusion here might have been due to when and how the store credit is applied.
The idea was that the most viable way of compensating for our systems/logistics shortfall was to offer a free shipping service until we could finalize a partnership with an international shipper.
Sorry for the long-winded email, I just wanted to make sure I was specifically answering your concerns in regards to, “The problem would just represent itself when he attempts to apply said store credit,” since the store credit actually resolves the problem of shipping costs, not make it worse.
I know it’s a bit of hassle if you’re an international customer which is why we really do try to do as much as we can at the moment given the resources available to us. It’s a big headache on our end as well as we would love to develop an international customer base (pants = the universal language). It’s just proven to be a much bigger bag of worms than anticipated and therefore has been much slower going in terms of negotiating with a shipping agent.
The short answer for your friend is that he will only pay for his clothes, we will cover shipping, and as far as I can tell he won’t have to pay for duties (though again, my knowledge of Australian customs law is cursory at best). The only catch is that he has to shoot us a quick email or give us a call so that we can drop the credit to cover shipping into his account. 
If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to shoot us another email or give us any feedback. I always love talking shop. 
All the best.
— Nick

I was duly impressed, and I let him know:
Hey dude. Thanks for the explanation. I indeed appreciate the long-winded email. You know your sh*t. I also appreciate the time it took to write and explain. I’ve passed along the info to my reader. I will continue to give nothing but rave reviews going forward of Bonobos and will not the extra effort you made to make a customer (and myself) happy.
THANKS!

He replied once more:
No problem dude. I just wanted to make sure we were on the same page. We’re definitely a little behind the eight ball when it comes to international shipping so your (and your friend’s concerns) were well founded and we appreciate you keeping us honest. We’ll be in touch and feel free to give us a holler any time you have a question.
Best.
— Nick

I relayed this information to J. Argenta to make sure he knew how this would go down.

“I finally understood what they were talking about. It all sounded good! All this for a pair of pants! But, I thanked O.G.A.A.T. for being so persistent and placed my order. It’s nice to know there are people out there willing to help out a stranger in need (of some new pants).” — J. Argenta

I was happy to hear the transaction come to a positive outcome. I am happy to bring the story to you and highlight Bonobos customer service on this issue. They once again proved they are a company with not only top notch products but also top notch service. They really went above and beyond to help an Ozzy out who needed a pair of pants…

I’m Jason by the way. I live in Australia, obviously! Hello! I’ve got a blog as well — Not one that I advertise much at all, but I’ve sort of been branching out a bit with it lately. Not sure if it would be your type of thing — It’s a bit random really, just about everyday goings-on, and things that I find interesting like racism and gay-related things. I wrote my own little gay life story a few posts ago after coming across so many gay-related blogs. Anywho, check it out if you like — jaargenta.blogspot.com – and I’ll look forward to hearing from you!

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

1 Comment

Dinner Reunion

Smiles and I made plans over the Christmas break to share a home-cooked meal my first full night back in town. I was greatly looking forward to it after not seeing him for a week. We’d spent a week apart before, but not over Christmas. Something about it made it tougher for me to get through.

That morning, Smiles sent me a text. He was wishing me luck on my first day back in the office after being away for some time. It was a truly sweet gesture considering how out of character this was for him. Since I left him, he was showering me with attention I didn’t normally receive. I attribute this to our conversation the night before I dropped him at the airport. That was just my assumption, but the only other factor that changed was spending time apart.

Out of the blue, in the middle of the afternoon, he picked up the phone and called me. I’d told him I had to go to the office that week, but there was little chance I would actually be working, so I guess he felt I’d have the free time to chat. It was a very welcomed distraction from my Facebook status perusal and email correspondences.

He called out of boredom. He couldn’t seem to motivate himself to work. He was still in vacation mode from being away. “My head is still at the beach,” he added. I told him there was no need to dive back into everything unless it was urgent. We all have lazy days. Why not ease back into the workload?

Before Christmas, I bought two cashmere hats from Bonobos. Smiles had mentioned interest in similar hats. I bought them just in case we made a last-minute decision to exchange presents. I could ship them back free of charge and Smiles would be none the wiser, but that seemed like a waste. I got a great deal on them considering how much he paid for the last one he purchased, so I decided I was going to ask if he wanted them. It wouldn’t be a gift — I would just be facilitating the deal.

“Are you still interested in cashmere hats, and what is your price point?” I asked. He told me anything under $80 each, which was $20 more than what I paid for them. I decided I was going to show him the hats and come clean about how I came to purchase them. I was worried I would look anxious in his eyes, but since we had our talk about where we were, I decided I needed to start being more of myself. It’s very much like me to do something slightly awkward and come clean about it. I’m very honest when it comes to things like that, shame or no shame. If he didn’t like it, then he didn’t like me.

That night after work, he came over. He texted me as he was getting on the PATH. When I didn’t hear from him for over a half hour, I tried calling and texting. I was getting no response. I wasn’t sure what happened, but I was hoping the meal wouldn’t be overdone waiting for him. Finally, he told me he’d arrived in Hoboken. When he got to my apartment, he told me he’d gotten on the wrong PATH train and ended up in Jersey City. He had to switch over and come back towards Hoboken.

I filled plates for the two of us, and we sat on the couch to eat dinner while we watched TV. Smiles loved the meal. He said it was cooked perfectly and everything was delicious. I was very proud and thrilled with how much he enjoyed it. One thing I love to do is cook for a man, especially when I get such rave reviews.

While we watched TV, my attention was constantly stolen by the reflection of headlights on the windows across the street. He kept asking what I was looking at, and when I told him, he poked fun at my inability to keep my attention fixed. We had a good laugh about it.

Smiles asked if I had any ice cream to finish our meal (you know him and his sweet tooth). I didn’t have any. We had two options. We could venture back out into the cold to pick up a pint, or we could settle for a variety of candy I had stashed in my room. He settled on the candy.

After dinner, we moved things into the bedroom. I was anxious to hop into bed with Smiles, just to feel his body against mine. I didn’t even care if it involved sex. I just wanted to be close to him. But, before we hopped into bed, I decided to bite the bullet on the hats. I explained, and he decided he wanted to keep the gray hat and have me return the black since he already had one. He gave me cash, and the transaction was complete. I was glad I didn’t just send the hats back without consulting him as many of my friends suggested (I have a habit of doing what I want even against my friends’ better judgment).

We laid in bed and exchanged random stories. We discussed how he was healing after his appendectomy. Like I said before, I was going to start being myself, so I told him the ridiculous story about my belly button. For some unknown reason, when I was in college and I got drunk, I would encourage my friends to feel my belly button. I was a swimmer so I had a flat stomach, and when I got drunk, I like the way it felt (maybe the beer pushed it out a bit). I insisted it was incredibly sexy and even took some of my friends’ finger and guided it to my belly button. I also proceeded to tell him about the time my belly button was handpicked as the body shot glass for a bachelorette party when I was in Key West. “ ‘Wow! You have the Grand Canyon of belly buttons!’ one girl shouted,” I told him. He laughed and looked at me like I was from another planet as he examined my belly button.

The rest of the night was more of the same — Lots of cuddling and chatter, but no sex. I was fine with this, as I was just happy to have him in my bed. We both brushed our teeth and climbed under the covers. I was going to bed a happy man that night, and I was looking forward to waking in the morning to a sexy man in bed next to me.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9 Comments

How to Get Out of My Own Head

Rules are meant to be broken. Apparently, in my mind this is true. I said I wasn’t going to reach out to Smiles after our awkward night and breakfast the following morning, but that didn’t last long.

Wednesday afternoon, I got an email including two free tickets to a screening of a movie in the city. It was Friday afternoon at 12:30. I had absolutely nothing going on at work as we were leading into the holidays. I shot Smiles a text Thursday afternoon asking him if he wanted to come with me after I left him.

He told me he wouldn’t be able to join me because he had to be on site for a project he was working on. I didn’t get my hopes up, so I wasn’t all that disappointed. I knew I wouldn’t be seeing much of him that weekend, so it was an effort to mend that but a failed attempt at that.

In the middle of the day, he called to see how my day was going. I was a pleasant surprise. He’d done this in the past, but it was out of the blue. He told me about his project moving forward and the progress he was making. I told him how useless my day was turning out to be. Maybe he did care about me. Maybe he just wasn’t good and showing emotions or talking about them. I still had some figuring out to do.

I finished my workday early. When I got home, I called my other friends who were attending the birthday party that night. I coordinated with them, and made my way to my D’s apartment.

During the taxi ride with D and his girlfriend, she asked me when she was going to get to meet Smiles. She missed him at the holiday party. I couldn’t think of a scenario in which she was going to meet him. I realized he never really hung out with me and my friends in general. I never really hung out with his. I was repeating my relationship with Broadway all over again. The only difference was, Smiles had a better schedule than Broadway. In the back of my head, I knew things between us weren’t perfect. I told her I had no idea when she’d meet him. I then explained to her why he was absent from my side.

I had fun at the party. I was running into a lot of people I hadn’t seen in a long time — Some even years. I sat and talked with one of my old college teammates, and he asked him the dating life was going for me. I told him all about Smiles, and he was very happy for me. In the back of my mind, all I could think about was, “Am I truly happy with how things are shaping up?”

Out of nowhere, Smiles called. He was between parties in a cab. I guess he had time to kill so he thought he’d call me. I stepped away from the party and walked out onto the promenade overlooking the city. I appreciated the call. It was nice to have him call out of nowhere twice in one day. It showed he really was thinking about me. I was a little bitter though. He was telling me about all these parties in detail, and all I was hearing was stories of parties I wasn’t invited to. I kept the conversation on the shorter side of things. It was cold outside, and I wanted to get back to my friends. If I wasn’t good enough to be by his side, he wasn’t good enough to steal me away from the party. We said goodbye for the night since I knew that’d be the last time hearing from him for the night.

On the way home that night, I discussed brunch with D and his girlfriend. They expressed their desire to do it in the city. I agreed and mentioned maybe inviting Smiles to join us. I knew he had things going on, but maybe he’d be able to meet us for a little while.

I texted him at 3:00am to see if he would be onboard for brunch. I told him I didn’t have all the details, but I would get them to him in the morning. He told me he would try to make it. He was making an effort. I was expecting to be immediately brushed off for other plans, but it was nice to see him entertaining the idea at the very least. Maybe things were improving.

In the morning, D and his girlfriend were too tired to head into the city. I told Smiles brunch was off. He told me he wouldn’t have been able to make it anyway. He had to work. We texted a little bit the rest of the morning. That morning, there was a fire on my block that day that engulfed an entire building. I sent Smiles picture messages, and he expressed concern for my well-being.

That night, we spoke on the phone. We talked about our day, and he told me about the party he attended. Again, I was a little bitter considering I wasn’t invited. I asked him if he was available for dinner Monday night since I wasn’t getting to see him at all over the weekend. He told me he’d have to get back to me. As the conversation was coming to a close, I asked him if we were going to exchange Christmas presents.

I’d actually been thinking about it since Thursday, but hadn’t remembered to ask him. I was a little afraid too. I didn’t know how to pose it. This is so unlike me. I should have just said what I wanted to say. I didn’t have the chance to ask him where we stood yet, so I didn’t feel comfortable asking him about exchanging Christmas presents.

The day before this conversation, I bought him two cashmere hats he’d expressed interest in. I bought them from one of my favorite online stores, Bonobos (They have really amazing stuff by the way. I highly recommend them, especially for proper fitting pants!). It would work out well because they offer free shipping both ways, so if we weren’t doing presents, I could return them.

So, I said to him, “Do you want to do Christmas presents?” He paused a second and responded, “Let’s not over-think things. I don’t think we’re there yet.”

And with that, we said goodbye.

Not there yet? Okay. Then where are we? How do you feel about me. We’d been together three months at this point. I didn’t see why we couldn’t exchange some nice Christmas presents. I wasn’t buying him a Rolex.

This just further motivated my desire to have the relationship conversation…

, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

16 Comments