Friday, January 16, 2009

The Problem With Princesses

I'll tell you a secret. I've always wanted to dress up like a princess. As a child I wore dresses to play outside in the dirt. And when all my friends were buying Guess jeans in middle school, I still preferred a skirt. Then there were formals and proms and the wedding. I chose puffy sleeves and skirts with lace and roses and all the romantic touches so important to my inner princess. But alas, I grew up, and this new, less romantic, less idealistic person rejects anything even remotely resembling a ruffle. (Ruffles, you know, accentuate all those things I am now busy trying to hide.)

Though my days of ball gowns are over, my inner princess resurfaces now and then, but only when an occasion arises that merits her highness enforcing her monarchical rule. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I have two girls who inherited the same princess gene. When my youngest wanted a Sleeping Beauty dress for Christmas, I was giddy with excitement. Truth be told, I may have even planted the idea in her unsuspecting little head. How would you like to have a fluffy, pink, Sleeping Beauty princess dress for Christmas? Would you? Huh? Huh? It was the epitome of selfish, vicarious acts, I know. But it worked. And we placed an online order for the dress, the sparkling tiara and bejeweled shoes, all matching in shades of gold and pink. After all, when the inner princess speaks, it is within your best interest to obey. My little one's joy on Christmas morning almost matched mine as she paraded around in her royal accoutre. She was a confection.

Then, of course, a few weeks after Christmas, I discovered the Sleeping Beauty costume and all it's glittery accessories on sale at the mall. As I was checking out the discounted price tags and feeling kind of sick about the money we narrowly missed saving, I noticed the pink brocade Sleeping Beauty shoes seemed different than the shoes we received from the online Disney Store. These shoes before me were bejeweled, with large pink plastic gems to delight the eye of every potential princess aged 1 to 101. I remembered then that the online photo showed the same shoes, but the shoes we actually got were absent of jewels. Not only did I pay full price for the shoes, but I didn't get what I ordered. The inner princess was not happy. What good are simple pink brocade slippers with a glittery heel when there are jewels to be had?! Off with their heads!
That evening I went home and sent a short and sweet email to the good folks at It simply said:

"In early December I ordered the Deluxe Sleeping Beauty costume for my daughter, along with the tiara and shoes. However, the shoes pictured online have jewels while the shoes I received do not. Why?"

Two days later I received a generic email from Guest Services asking for my name, order number and item number of the shoes. Alas, I did not save the order number, because that would require thought and foresight on my part. I had blindly put my trust in Disney, not even recognizing the mistake until weeks later, after my daughter had practically worn them out. Does that sound like someone who saves order numbers to you? So I sent them back another email with my name and the item number, letting them know that I did not save the order number. The very next day, I received this super chipper email from the UberDisney Store employee, Joe, who is so very happy to help, I wonder if he has had too much Pixie Dust:

"Thanks for the email and the chance to help!
I was so pleased to hear from you and would be happy to assist you in resolving your concern. Regrettably, I will need additional information in order to do so. At your earliest convenience, please send your full name, address, telephone number and online order number. We will review your order and will get back with you as quickly as possible.
Please include any other emails you may have concerning this issue, so we will have a full understanding of your concern.
We look forward to hearing from you again very soon!
Have A magical Day!!

I'm not sure I've ever had anyone thank me for the chance to help me, and especially not with an exclamation point. I didn't know if I should feel honored or creeped out. Yet the inner princess was pleased with his posturing, even if he did ask for the flippin' order number again . I replied to Joe to let him know that the order number was still an enigma floating somewhere in cyberspace and happily supplied him with the remaining information.

One hour and fifteen minutes later, I got a reply. On the dot. Joe had passed the request to his friend, or possibly twin sister, Jessica, who was equally enthusiastic and exclamation point happy. Jessica thanked me for allowing her to bring more magic to my experience and apologized profusely for my inconvenience. Without question, without hesitation, Jessica offered to send us a brand new pair of shoes free of charge and no need to return the jewel-less shoes.

I'll be honest. I wasn't expecting that kind of painless service. I expected her royal highness would have to make an appearance and throw around her weight a little bit (which is quite a lot at this time in her life) and probably still not have resolution because I didn't keep the order number. But, the Wonder Twins, Joe and Jessica, came through for me, exceeding all my expectations.

How do you suppose that makes me feel?

Like a princess.