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eThis post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Sunday, April 23, 2023

I’m perplexed.

And moderately annoyed, and I swear this isn’t complaining, but I had an exchange with a company that was so truly baffling – and annoying! – that I have to share.

I bought sheets.

I’m 53 and the extent of the sheets I’ve owned has included whatever my mother put on my bed, followed by the cheapest thing I could find at [insert some store here]. The sheets I currently own are from Amazon, because of course they are.

Don’t think I’ve ever spent more than $50 on a set of sheets.

But Ralph has sensitive skin, and lately between the two of us I don’t know who is more hot and/or cold at any given point with covers flying everywhere, so I went on a hunt for a good set of sheets.

What I wanted: natural fibers, something breathable, soft on the skin.

I did a ridiculous amount of research into sheets and fabrics and thread counts and things that were much simpler when I went onto Amazon and typed “sheets.”

I settled on a $130 set of Egyptian cotton sheets from a company I had never heard of, but after more research they seemed legit and they have raving fans. But most importantly they offered a 100 night trial period.

If you don’t like your purchase, you can send it back. It’s the single reason that you can convince me to shop anywhere other than Amazon.

The new sheets arrived. We slept on them for a few days. They were fine.

I asked Ralph what he thought. He said they felt the same as our other sheets. I had a similar suspicion but I had just spent $130 on sheets so I was down for a little confirmation bias.

Alas it was not to be, least of all because we spent the rest of the week alternately hot and/or cold with covers flying everywhere.

But I’m not a total jerk and I did buy them and they were fine so I was willing to suck it up and keep them even though they weren’t quite what I had in mind when I’d coughed up that kind of money for a slab of fabric to cover my mattress. They felt nice, not great, but nice. And they were a pretty dark blue that made me feel cozy at night.

I returned to their website to look for different kinds of sheets to see if something would match my expectations, and even got onto chat with someone to tell them what I was looking for. They recommended a set of percale sheets.

A $130 set of percale sheets. But by this point I was all in, and percale, from what my chat agent told me, was breathable and soft. I was so pleased with the idea that I decided to treat myself to a duvet and a percale duvet cover.

I have never owned a duvet but have always wanted one, so as long as I was hemorrhaging money on bedding, I figured I owed myself the luxury.

The percale sheets arrived.

We slept on them for one night and by the time I woke up after a misery of tossing and turning, it felt like I had a sunburn. They were so rough and so uncomfortable that I couldn’t bear another second of them.

They came off the bed immediately.

So much for my foray into expensive bedding. Now the perplexing part comes in. Ready?

I contacted the company and said I would like to return the sheets. I received an email in response asking why, and assuring me that once I told them, they would be able to give me information about my return.

I told them.

They emailed me back with an “offer.” Because they are so committed to sustainability and to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping blah blah blah, would I accept a 50% refund and then donate the sheets? If I want to accept the offer, I just have to send them a receipt of my donation and a photo of the sheets with their new owner.

So wait a second. You want me to pay $65 to donate sheets? That I have to figure out where to bring them, then take time out of my day to do so, then prove it with a photo of someone who may or may not want me to actually take a photo of them let alone send it to some unknown company.

Are you perplexed yet?

I emailed back and declined the kind offer. I said I would simply like to return the sheets for a refund.

Wait, it gets better.

They emailed me back and said that since I declined the offer, they’d like to offer me an alternative. How about they refund 100% of my money and I donate them anyway? Perhaps to a charitable organization or family member.

So wait a second. You were going to give me HALF my money back to do that, and now you’re going to give me all of it? With the same issues as [see above] when I tell someone, my brother, say, “Take a picture of yourself with the sheets” and he laughs me off the phone.

Besides, my family is 900 miles away. Shipping sheets to them isn’t going to be any more carbon-neutral than shipping them back to the company.

Are you perplexed yet?

By this point an entire week has gone by and a stupid amount of my time has been taken up both communicating with these people and ruminating about it afterwards. My annoyance level rose to the degree that I wanted nothing more to do with this company and decided to return everything.

Both sets of sheets. The duvet, which I had not opened or used, and the cover, which I had not even yet received.

I emailed them back and told them as much, politely, because they still have a lot of my money.

Wait, it gets better.

The fourth email in this drama of the absurd arrives. Since they are so committed to sustainability and to reduce the carbon footprint of shipping blah blah blah

just throw them away.

And send them a picture of the items in the garbage and they will refund my money.

So wait a second. Throw… a whole… new…? garbage… WHAT?

Rather than take these items back, two of which are brand new in the packaging never touched, they want me to throw them in the garbage. Because of sustainability.

You ever get to a point where you are so perplexed that words fail you? This doesn’t happen to me often, as this blog can attest. But I was – am – so perplexedly perplexed that they would tell me to throw away several hundred dollars worth of brand new bedding because they are worried about the carbon footprint of shipping them back.

The utter absurdity of this entire exchange is beyond words. It felt like a bait and switch from the beginning, with the offer to give me a partial refund if only I’d help them save the planet, oh and also I’d get my refund so much faster! Because I wouldn’t have to wait for the items to arrive back!

:::toots horn:::

I went back to their website to look for their return policy and nowhere, not even in the finest of print, is any of this specified. Had they said from the very beginning that they offer a free trial period, and if you don’t like the items then you’ll be responsible for donating them etc etc… I could have decided whether I wanted to participate.

Maybe I would have thought it was a cool idea. Maybe I would have bought them anyway. Maybe not.

I did not get that choice. I made a purchase under a specific premise and was then led – deceptively, as far as I’m concerned – down a path where my promised refund was just out of reach unless I got on board with their sustainability mission.

So here is what I plan to do: put them outside with the trash tonight and send them a photo of it. And wait for my refund.

I am too perplexed and much too annoyed to do anything else. I am not even going to name the company, unless someone specifically asks, because I am not here to disparage anyone. This isn’t my revenge plot and I won’t be leaving a triggered review on Yelp.

As far as I’m concerned I have already expended enough words on them, and tomorrow I’m going to Amazon and buying the next set of $30 sheets I can find.

This turned into more of a rant than I intended but the duplicity combined with the idiocy of asking me to throw brand new items in the trash – for the sake of sustainability – is more than my brain can handle.

So no, I’m not rage posting, but if you DO want the name of the company, for the sake of never doing business with them, I will not be shy about telling you.

Photo: “proof” that I threw the items in the garbage. I await my refund.