December 27

My experience with Tea Desire

My husband and daughter went Christmas shopping for me a couple of weeks ago and I found out on Christmas morning that they bought me a tea pot to use with loose leaves and some herbal loose leaf tea with licorice, etc in it…not my thing at all. I love drinking tea in the Winter…maybe 1 cup every other day and just simple, simple tea.

My daughter and I went out today to go and return / exchange a few Christmas gifts that needed to be returned. We left this AM at 9:30AM and got home at 3PM…crazy! I had some other stuff to do in between but most of it was returning /exchanging some stuff in the North and South part of the city.

Anyways, back to my story! I drove all the way to South Centre where they bought the teapot from: Tea Desire (on the the second floor by Laura Secord) I walked into the store and said Hi, I would like to return this item, the man that was behind the cash register looked at me and said what? I said I’d like to return this teapot that my husband bought for me for Christmas…this wasn’t just a $10 teapot this was a $60 teapot including some loose leaves (I was just returning the teapot NOT the tea). The man said I don’t accept returns exchange only, why don’t you look for something else? No thank you I have no need for this item or anything else in the store…I proceeded to tell my tea story. Well I stated that when people were buying stuff from here that it was exchange only…no refunds…well I just drove all the way from the North and on your receipt here it does not say that…so I would like my money back. He proceeded to argue with me that he is not in the business of returning items and why did my husband buy this for me in the first place if I wasn’t going to like it. I said well lots of people receive gifts for Christmas that they do in fact return / exchange…stores all over have return policies…thank you very much…ASS****! He than said well I have had no problems with these at all and I said well I’m not complaining about the quality or the product I just don’t have any use for it, he than said I don’t want to argue about it…here is your money, after arguing with me for 5 mins. My daughter just stood there flabergasted and getting angry and going red in the face!

She than told me that it was a different man that sold them the teapot and no one said anything to them about an exchange ONLY policy.

So my suggestion is: don’t shop there unless your really, really sure that you want what your buying as it is definately not a cheap store…in fact I would never, ever recommend this place to ANYBODY. This is not how you run a business and the poorest level of customer service I have seen in a while.

Copyright 2018. All rights reserved.

Posted December 27, 2006 by Michelle in category "Uncategorized

About the Author

My name is Michelle Nadraszky and I live in Calgary, AB CANADA, I am originally from Vancouver, BC but have been in Calgary now for 9 years. I am a Stay at Home Mom to 2 beautiful kids...Taylor who is 6 1/2 and Jaiden who is 3 years old. I have been married to Billy for 8 years. I work part-time in a Call Centre. I have been a Stampin' Up! demonstrator for 2 1/2 years. I love everything about Stampin' Up! - I am highly addicted to it! I have been stamping and scrapbooking for about 4 years now and I am constantly amazed by the talent that I see on a daily basis. Besides Cardmaking, Scrapbooking and Papercrafting I love to watch reality TV, Grey's Anatomy, ER, Gilmore Girls, Desperate Housewives and Miami Ink (I personally have 5 tattoos)!


  1. By Bobbi-Jo on

    wow, whatever happened to “the customer is always right”??? Yikes. I’ll steer clear of them. Who pooped in his corn flakes??? Thanks for the heads up! BTW, I like your new web design. Very calming and classy.

  2. By Laura on

    I don’t know what kind of stores you shop in that ACTUALLY give cash back for something you just didn’t want. Store credit is most often the only option.
    This is just a small business and what he did made perfect sense to anyone with any sense. I shop there often and always receive exquisite service from all staff members.

  3. By Michelle (Post author) on

    Thanks Laura for your comment. I guess what you are implying is that I do not have any sense. Yes, I was looking for a refund, the reason I was not going to take a store credit was because of this “gentleman’s (I use this term loosely) attitude which set me off immediately, there was no time to talk about their exchange / refund policy as this “gentleman” was rude from the beginning. I’m glad that you have always had excellent customer service with them…I did not. When I want to exchange / return something I always have the option of a cash / debit refund if I have my receipt if I do not have receipt than I could understand a store credit…but, I did have my receipt. A store credit was not going to work this time as I had no intention of shopping there every again. Have a wonderful day Laura!

  4. By Wendy on

    Dear Michelle,

    I happened to be looking up Tea Desire to order some gifts and stubbled across your experience.

    I’m really surprised by your description of the service you received at Tea Desire. I have always found their staff and service to be exceptional! I have recommended this store to many many people and they have been thrilled with finding such a great little tea shop in south Calgary. They also have a fabulous mail order service!

    What I found most interesting about your story was the fact that your family would purchase you expensive tea ware and teas from a small boutique shop in the first place knowing that it would be a gift that it would most likely not be to your liking (sounds like you are not really a tea drinker) and then not bother to ask about the store’s return policy. Most people ask about a store’s return policy when buying gifts that they are unsure about someone liking. Particularly in smaller boutique stores that sell higher end products and food items (loose tea cannot be resold).

    Maybe your family should share some of the responsibility as to why you were placed in this position of not understanding the store’s return policy in the first place and admit they probably never asked. Regardless of what the sales slip says – I always ask. It saves lots of hassles later.

    I’m sure there are many reasons on both sides of the story as to why you and the store staff “got off on the wrong foot”. It happens to all of us, but again my experiences with the Tea Desire store staff have always been great!

    Having experienced similar “exchange scenarios” (not at Tea Desire) – I have always successfully negotiated other options. My advice to you is to maybe think about trying to get a gift certificate instead that you can give to someone else. I have never had this request ever refused by any store! I’m sure there would have been someone you could have passed a gift certificate along to and made very happy.

    To anyone reading this message, I would encourage you to visit Tea Desire and have your own experience with their produces and services that you can judge yourself. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed!


  5. By Michelle (Post author) on

    Thanks for the advice Wendy.

    Actually I do like tea…but, just regular Orange Pekoe tea…

    I guess my husband thought it was time to try something new.

  6. By Michelle (Post author) on

    One last comment…I could understand not returning tea but there is no reason not to accept the return of a teapot.

  7. By Anonymous on

    Hi there,

    I’ve just found your blog posting, after searching online for the merchandise list for Tea Desire. I used to work for Tea Desire, In the Okanagan area. I’m so sorry to hear that you had such a bad experience. As a past employee, I have to say that I’m not really all that surprised. I have had both good and bad experiences with the owners, and I find that the less-positive experiences have been due to their cultures. They are both German and French, and have a distinct attitude about how a business should be run that seems not to jive precicely with North American Standards.
    I seem to remember a specific request a customer had, for when our next sale would be, only to be told quite bruskly, that … There are only 2 sales a year, and that will NOT be changing for anyone. Personally, I would have stopped shopping with “us” at that moment if I’d been that woman.
    This .. attitude or way of looking at business dealings was, at least at the store I worked at, passed down to the staff, so.. while I think the Owner, Tony was who you were trying to return the teapot to (he generally overseas that outlet) the wants and customer-service wishes of both owners are passed on directly thru the staff.
    I personally would not return to work for this company, because their brusk attitude towards others is off-putting, and I don’t have the time nor inclination to waste myself in a job where I have to be psychic in order to satisfy my superiors.

    If you want something from this business that you can’t get elsewhere, like my favourite tea brand.. I recommend calling in your orders, and having them shipped to you at no cost. It is a nice service they provide.

    God Bless,


  8. By Marie on

    I was looking for new Calgary Tea places. I too worked for this people in Kelowna and found the wife owner extremely rude to staff and sometimes to customers. I did learn lots about Tea however the rudeness to staff was the reason I quit. That is too bad as the tea is great however the tea accessories are too expensive.
    Just had to have my say as I was happy to learn about Tea but surprised to find such rudeness in a tea area
    Have a great Tea day

  9. By Alyse on

    Well, i just recently bought a glass teapot from them, and two days later i found out there was a crack right beside the handle. The thing that pissed me off, was that i took to all the precautions before i used it, like preheating; and it just makes me question the quality of their product. And for now, i pretty much have to suck it up, because they told me before i bought it, that i wouldnt be able to return it, saying it was cracked, because they looked at it before hand.

  10. By Peter Cutting on

    Tea Desire have just opened a new store at Sunridge Mall, Calgary NE. I found the staff to be very obiging. I treated myself to a new Finum tea pot, yes it cost $34 but I feel it is very good value for such a quality product. I’ve not been babying this tea pot, and find that it performs well. I hadn’t reslied what I had been missing, by not buying loose hebal teas, so this has all been a very pleasant experience.

  11. By Also Anon. on

    Hi there.
    I currently work at one of the Tea Desire locations, and my manager told me about a few websites she found from a Google search that contained reviews about the store, particularly about the owners. I have not yet met Tony, but his wife is extremely… well, difficult, to use a nice word. It does not surprise me that they have had several employees quit on them due to their natures, in treating both customers and especially employees. Just the other day I was chewed out, much to my utter embarassment, in front of a customer for something that wasn’t even my fault. The poor woman standing there looked tempted to say something, but thought better of it. Not even 10 minutes later, she basically called me “stupid” while I was trying to find a place for some new stock. If she treats me like that again, in front of a customer or no, I will be looking for another job, and walking out on her after telling her exactly what I think of her and the way she treats the people who work for her, and will proceed to discourage people from supporting her business.

    I will tell you quite honestly, though, that the rest of the staff are extremely pleasant, and knowledgable in tea. Please do not let your experiences with the owners affect your view of the store. I say this genuinely, as I do not care for supporting their business – I say it because the products there are very high quality, and as a fellow tea drinker, think you would enjoy them if you gave them another chance.

    Also – as far as I know, we do accept returns for teaware that hasn’t been used… but don’t quote me on this, as I haven’t been working there very long 🙂

  12. By Nym on

    I work for Tea Desire. I have worked in two stores, and our policy is two weeks return OR exchange with receipt if the product has not been used (with the exception of tea). As with any customer-based business we can bend rules, and will do what we can to make the customer happy. I am sad to hear that you were treated in that sort of way, if you had come to any of the stores I have worked in you would not have had the same experience.

    I am very surprised to hear that anyone who works in these stores would refuse a refund to you within reason.

  13. By Donna on

    There is also a great teashop in Penticton, B.C. called ‘Time For tea’ All there teas are fair trade, good quality. They also ship everywhere so check out there website. Great customer service as well !

  14. By Anon on

    I, like the others, do regret you had that experience there. I also work at Tea Desire and I’m sure I make customers happy. It’s just a part time gig anyway. Tea Desire is a very unique store, tea ware is expensive but because it is very good quality. Loose tea selection is to die for. If you like Orange Pekoe, you probably don’t REALLY know how to drink tea. And I too, am surprised your husband invested so much in a gift he didn’t know you were going to like or not.
    Also, I rarely return/exchange gifts after Christmas. Considering you spend an entire day travelling the city to return gifts, who are giving you these gifts? Are they really your friends and do they really know who you are? Maybe next time make a “wish list” or sign up for a gift registry for yourself.
    In general, the owners do have an edge to them (you probably dealt with one of them) but like someone else mentioned here, it’s a cultural thing.
    All I can suggest is don’t be so sore about it, save the environment, try drinking loose tea, it’s very healthy and if you give a few of the other flavours a try, Orange Pekoe is actually not that good. Don’t live under a rock and be so narrow minded.
    Cute site BTW. And good job not completely losing your anger on some posts above. Test is how you handle mine. I am telling you the truth. If you get upset, you’re probably too high maintenance.

  15. By Katie on

    Wow. You have some anger issues. Actually, it is the customer’s responsability to ASK for the exchange policy, not the business’s responsability. Yes I know it sucks, because I have received presents from places I didn’t want anything too, but guess what? I sucked it up because I didn’t ask the exchange policy. Everyone wonders why customer service is so bad at times and its people like YOU who make it that way. I’m sure it sucks to be yelled at by obnoxious people who think that things should go as they want all the time and then keep a happy face on for the rest of us. It sickenes me to know that people treat others like this. You should be ashamed of yourself

  16. By Bill on

    Come on guys. I am the husband that bought the stuff for my wife and my daughter and I are terrible Christmas shoppers for her.

    I know that lots of people think that there is some kind of “responsibility” as a buyer to find out the return policy. Well sorry but I expect that anything bought in a shopping mall should be returnable. It is not like I am going to ask at every store I go to what the return policy is because if there is any problem with returns then I would never buy from that store. Let’s be real here, if a store is an independent and can not serve it’s customers then it should not be in business.

    I was there for the return and what was happening is that the person working at the store was stonewalling, trying to come up with excuses not to take the stuff back even though it had never been used. This is not customer service that I would expect from a small business at all, in fact a small business is going to want to make that refund and then give the customer a chance to say good things about the business to their friends.

  17. By anon on

    Wow! I read all of the above posts and must say I agree with all of you! The owners of this business have no customer service skills whatsoever! They used to run a restaurant here in Sicamous and they were terrible at that! And boy do they think they are important!!!!
    Perhaps the husband and the daughter should have though out their purchase a little better, ut the store certainly should have kept the customer happy. It probably was Tony that you were dealing with!Another option to not being able to return something is re-gifting!!! It’s nice to have a couple of spare gifts around for that surprise thank you or birthday that pops up!

  18. By Employee on

    I to am an employee it was funny to read that the owners have always been the same, I dont get it as bad as some other people in our shop but the owners think they are so much better than us, they talk down and pretty much call us stupid. I go back and forth on the issue of quitting, but I like the environment and the customers. Often I feel the owners dont deserve good staff members we should all rebel and demand the bonuses we were promised above our weak wage. PS. They own 6 stores so they try to pin us against eachother to get the inside scoop. Had a 10 minute convo at the bank when doing the deposit about the large staff turnover, I completely understand. Any who I could rant forever, im excited to show this blog to my other staff members

  19. By Long time employee says: on

    This is my 5th year of employment with this company and I am appalled at what I am hearing from previous and the currently employed. Shame on you. Do you not know what integrity, loyality and confidentiality mean? What gives you the right to make nasty remarks as such and expect to work for the company and for any other company for that matter – it is a priveledge to have a job and hold a job. In today’s economy jobs are hard to find. Are you serious about your job? My advise to you would be to hand in your resignation immediately so that someone more deserving can have a job. In my opinion, the owners made a mistake hiring you and along with any other disgruntled employee who blogged. I can see lack of good work ethics. No communication with your employer other than gossip. As far as getting better pay you have to prove yourself within the job before you get a raise. In your case I do not see that happening.

    Tea Desire has state of the art tea ware and the highest quality of teas and it is a pleasure to have such specialty stores to shop in. We have a large happy customer base and we value our customers. We try to accomodate them where possible. All the stores have the same store policy and pricing. All employees are trained accordingly.

    In my 5 years of employment I have not encountered problems of this nature in the store with co-workers, owners or had any bad experiences with customers that could not be rectified. Teamwork plays a big role in any work place.

    Passionate about my job – if I was not would I be still working?.

  20. By Gene on

    Shop at Tea Desire all the time for my teas. Find the staff very knowledgeable and very helpful. Love the tea pots. Bought a pot that makes exactly 2 cups – just enough for my afternoon tea.

    Have learned the art to making good tea.

  21. By annoyed tea drinker on

    come on people ITS TEA!!!! i have to say that i find the staff in the kelown store to be some of the nicest people i have met . they are always smiling and really nice. they have alot of knowledge about the teas and would do anything to help you. i just wanted to say this because of one ass dont judge the rest of the staff the same. and as for the owners they need to apreciate there staff alot more ……

  22. By seriously... on

    ok people…let me give you some retail info…first of all in the begining with michelle and lauras comments…michelle having worked in the service industry for many years i totally see where your coming from it makes no damn difference if your friend/ husband/ daughter or whoever purchases anything for you…(wendy)why should they know if you are do or will like or enjoy something peoples tastes change all the time and whos to say she wouldnt have enjoyed such an item so laura your comments are rediculous…as for return policys those are guidelines only ppl…i can tell you it really makes no difference when you take something back..(.Laura) as for your comments know what your talkin about first…it has been the same for years you have a reciept you can pretty much return anything…if you pay cash that is what you get back…visa mc debit no you dont get cash it gets credited to the appropriate card… as for the time line its really not that important its about keeping the customer happy…not necessarily the customer is always right because we all know that simply is not true…no reciept is generally a gift card or credit only for obvious reasons how do you know the person didnt steal it and yes im telling you it happens more than you think from the most likely to the least likely…(Katie) unbelievable you would even comment like that…it is not the customers job to ask about return policies in fact it is up to the employing during before or after transaction to inform the customer…as for you saying ppl wonder why customer service is so bad omg seriously to blame the general consumer is proposterous no noone deserves to be cursed out by a customer or yelled at unless otherwise say it sickens you and to insult michelle your an idiot honestly…a simple thing like trying to return something and getting treating in that manner please unacceptable…and all you negative comments to and against michelle give your heads a shake just becuz you have a good experience at this establishment doesnt mean anyone else has…and that goes for any business…in that situation had the gentleman said no problem maybe theres something else i can show you or something of a positive manner michelle no doubt would have been back even if it were to purchase something for someone else but becuz of the manner in which she was treated i sure as hell wouldnt be back either…

  23. By Unbelievable on

    Seriously, I am having difficult reading your response. Your grammar and spelling is deplorable.

    Firstly, most retail stores have a strict 2 week policy return – refunded in the amount tendered – no if’s, and’s, or but’s. In my opinion, specialty stores should have a more stricter return policy… these are specialty items and not grocery store items.

    If you return items at grocery stores – the item is immediately thrown into the garbage no matter if it is a food item or not( what a waste in this country where some people are starving ) – reasoning I was told, was for food safe and health reasons even if the food item has not been opened or if it is a canned item . No retailer wants to take the chance of reselling a returned item and encountering more problems. They are not permitted to give the items to a food bank, etc. to reduce waste.

    We all have to wake up and start shopping wisely – buy the things we like and use and can afford, instead of trying to humiliate business people and run down their products – they are providing a service and trying to make a living also. We, as consumers need to focus on our needs and start treating everyone we encounter with much more respect.

    Retail & the service industry is the toughest business to be in … thank goodness we have them… where would we be without them…. try being without… pretty difficult!!!

    Stop complaining soooooo much!!!

  24. By Gabriela on

    Return/Exchange Policy for Tea Desire is as follows:
    If for some reason you are not completely satisfied with your purchase. Tea Desire will gladly give you a refund or exchange.

    1) Simply return the product within 14 days of purchase date
    – in its original condition & packaging
    – along with any accessories/manual
    2) Refunds will be made in the form of the original tender given
    3) Gift receipts offer EXCHANGE or CREDIT NOTE only
    4) No refunds or exchanges made withour a receipt
    5) No reunds or exchanges after 14 days as per return policy
    6) NO REFUNDS ON TEA OR FOOD ITEMS (as per government regulations)

    The Return/Exchange policy is very common in all retail stores.

  25. By Ginger on

    This is a sad commentary on our society when disloyal employees of a company use an online blog venue to deal with their work issues. If you can’t be mature enough to deal with the employer in person, then quit and go elsewhere. Don’t discredit people who work very hard to build a business. NO business owner is going to deliberately berate staff or customers on an ongoing basis. You mention the owners are of a different culture? Maybe its as simple as their only knowing the language well enough to make a point and they have not acquired the words for finessing sensitive staff.
    As for the original poster, what kind of anger issues must you have that you would do this? Do you do post every disappointment you have in life for the online community to help you work through it? Be kind and let this go as an unfortunate experience . As you can see , it is breeding bad feelings.

  26. By Anon on

    Okay, I know this is an old post, but let’s start by asking why so many employees are surfing the web on their own company.
    I have meet the owners many times, and they are not polite at all. They have poor customer service and manners, but their staff is generally quite lovely and I do enjoy buying tea from their stores (when the owners are not around!)
    I think “employees” should refrain from posting about this company as the waters can get muddled with who are making actual comments and which comments are the owners… opps… I mean employees, of course.
    The exchange policy is a pain, but at the end of the day I’m sure you would have looked around to find something suitable if his demeanor was more gentle and inviting. This is not this woman’s fault people, we have all been in a situation where there’s just no way we are ever going to use a gift.
    And I agree with one of the previous comments…. it’s just tea!

  27. By Risa on

    I agree that you had a very bad experience and there is no excuse for such poor customer service. I personally know the owners of Tea Desire and they would have been as disgusted as you with this person’s behaviour. I am the manager of one of the Calgary locations and I can assure you that Tea Desire does accept returns on tea ware purchases if you have your original receipt of course. I think the sales associate your encountered was grossly misinformed. You are welcome to exchange your item but it is not required. It is very unfortunate that you had this experience and I truly hope that you change your mind about Tea Desire in the future. I am certain if you visit one of our locations in Calgary at the present time your experience will be MUCH different!

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