Open letter to Mimi Maternity

by Whitney Moss on July 27, 2007

in Blog,Breastfeeding,Pregnancy,Rant

Dear People Who Make Decisions About Customer Experiences at Mimi Maternity,

It does not go unnoticed by me that at Mimi Maternity stores (and I have been to many throughout California over the course of two pregnancies) the sales people are not mothers, but rather young women who have never been pregnant. As such, they are not very knowledgeable about being pregnant, but only about the appearance of the clothes. Not saying I wouldn’t go to an obstetrician who is not herself a mother, but I am guaranteed she has training for the job. Including sensitivity training.

My main complaint is this: Whenever I make a purchase, it seems that your store policy is to ask my due date to enter in the register. How about “None of your business” as my due date? Do you have a button for that? Then your lovely salespeople ask for more of my personal information. (Clearly this kicks off a direct marketing program through which I will receive offers in the mail from a bunch of advertisers who benefit from knowing the exact stage of my pregnancy and eventually the age of my baby.) This makes me feel grumpy. Ok, I already feel grumpy. This makes me feel like you only want me for my future value to you and don’t appreciate that I’m already giving you some money today. Why don’t you appreciate the money I am spending with you today?!

Next, and uh, don’t worry about whether or not I’m in a hurry, have to go to the bathroom (I do) or just want to go find a place to sit down and elevate my feet, I am given a sample issue of a baby magazine… I can’t remember which title… and told that I’ll be receiving three trial issues. Excuse me? I thought I was the customer. I thought that I decide when to subscribe to magazines. All by myself. Having worked on a magazine business in the past, I know that this is a negative option offer and that you will be later billed for the subscription or have to cancel it. More work for the consumer.

Then, you push toward me several brochures for related businesses — cord blood banking and college savings plans — and imply that I must take them.

Each time I go in to your store, I leave outraged because I am simply trying to buy a pair of very large underwear and I am bombarded with sales pitches. Worse, I feel badly for women who go in there who don’t realize that they can say “no” to all these offers. It seems ironic that such a poor experience is given to a target audience who is likely to be already flustered, overwhelmed, or physically uncomfortable.

How to win me over?

Make it clear that you love me, appreciate my business, and understand my pregnancy-related woes. Offer me a cool drink of water. Provide a chair in front of a foot massage machine. Sell bras in sizes larger than E. (Nursing boobs are OFTEN larger than E). Put out samples of nutrition bars that you sell. Make me feel like coming to your store is a treat. A treat just for me because I am pregnant and special.

Display the magazines with a burst-shaped sticker that says, “If you’d like a free trial subscription, ask a sales person.” Put your helpful brochures in a stand where we can take them ourselves IF WE WANT THEM. And hire some better salespeople. If you build it, we will come. Waddling all the way.

Sincerely,
Hopefully never again a Mimi customer,
Whitney

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RookieMoms.com co-founder Whitney lives with her husband, son, and daughter in the San Francisco Bay Area where she writes about parenting, crafts, and activities that moms can do with babies in tow. She and Heather also publish 510Families.com, a site for East Bay parents and are the authors of The Rookie Mom's Handbook and Stuff Every Mom Should Know.

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