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Trunk Shows, Giant Bugs, and When to Complain

By Amalah

Dearest Amy,
You need all the rest you can get – so perhaps you would enjoy an easy question?
I spent more than I probably should have on a pair of Betsey Johnson prescription glasses. (But it was a good deal considering I got them at a trunk show and… I don’t know, they said it was a good deal.)
My glasses arrived – I love them. Good. Great.
However, they arrived in their case, with a lovely microfiber cleansing cloth… and a bug.
A creepy-crawly-many-legged *thing* which I haven’t really seen before. The frames say, “Handmade in Japan,” and I have no idea if that’s where the bug came from as well – but I’m sort of… mad.
If I spent this money on a Kate Spade or Coach handbag (we’re talking the same price-range – like, I could have bought a medium-sized bag), I’m sure I would be hard-pressed to find an effing creepy-crawly in it.
I’m tempted to, like… tell someone (off).
May I? Clearly I *can,* but do I have license to? I’m premenstrual (which pales in comparison to first-trimester, but still), so it’s possible I’m just over-reacting. I need an unbiased opinion.
And if in the off-chance you do suggest notifying someone, whom? The retailer that sold the frames and made the lenses and took my money? Or the thus far unknown manufacturer?
This is ridiculous, isn’t it? I mean – the bug is gone (after I spent 30 seconds screaming on the sidewalk and shaking my cloth with all my might, and now constantly scratch my head, certain that others are nesting in my hair and hooking-up and getting all… reproductive), so I should let it go?
Clearly I still need to be convinced that it’s not a huge effing deal.

Ew. You know, yes. That was gross and totally unacceptable. Vile, completely avoidable (someone somewhere put the frames in the case, then someone else put the lenses in the frames and SOMEONE SHOULD HAVE SEEN THE GIANT BUG)…but…I don’t really know what you can do at this point. The bug IS gone, and there’s nothing wrong with the glasses, and while I don’t know the trunk show retailer’s return guidelines, I wonder if you’d be greeted with anything other than a boilerplate apology and a shrug.
I could be wrong about this, and the retailer could be completely appalled to hear what happened, and may want to make it right. (I’m definitely laying responsibility on the party who sold you the frames and made the lenses — even if the bug was from Japan, it was the retailer’s lax quality control that let it stay there until the case was delivered to you.)
So if you still feel that need to tell someone off after seeing your letter published here, I’d talk to the party who sold you the frames. Don’t be rude or screamy, just explain it like you did here — you wouldn’t put up with a designer handbag full of spiders or stains or weird odors, and you’re having trouble getting past the idea of a giant dead insect living next to something that goes on your FACE.
The retailer might just stare at you and think it’s not a big deal. I mean, because it really ISN’T, in the long run. But it is a matter of a high-end retailer not living up to your expectations. And paying top-dollar for something but getting the kind of service you’d expect from a 50-cent yard sale. I get that. When I splurge on something, it better be PERFECT, and I don’t care if other customers typically spend four times as much as I did, it’s a lot of money FOR ME.
The retailer might surprise you and be absolutely lovely about it, which in that case, they’ll perhaps earn your repeat business. They might awkwardly offer to sell you some eyeglass cleaner or simply thank you for telling them, which…might make you angrier, but then you’ll feel justified in telling everyone you know to avoid them.
Now, a note about trunk shows. Contrary to what a lot of people think, trunk shows are NOT SALES. The items are NOT DISCOUNTED. Trunk shows are special events that allow an artist or designer or small boutique owner to show off and sell their goods to a select group of customers. Trunk shows are generally invite-only and can be held anywhere from the bridal section at Saks to a friend-of-a-friend’s living room. They’re a great setup for small stores to highlight a designer without committing to ordering the full line, for independent designers to make sales and possibly catch the eye of a major retailer, or for an established designer to gauge public reaction to their latest designs.
But. Again. This is not a sample or scrap sale (I think a lot of people get the terms mixed up). The stuff isn’t discontinued or irregular — it’s full-price. It could all very well hit the stores next season and get marked down. Or it might not, and you can score something amazing and one-of-a-kind that everybody gushes over for the next 10 years.
Bridal trunk shows are especially popular because you can often buy your gown directly from the designer, who may be willing to do a little extra custom work at no extra charge. But generally, trunk shows are not the bargain bin.
So Thora is totally not out-of-line here to expect the same level of service from a trunk-show retailer as a regular high-end store. Many trunk shows are done specifically TO foster goodwill and interest for a designer or small boutique. But…return policies and customer service? That’s buyer beware, so if you get invited to a trunk show — be it clothing, jewelry, handbags, accessories — make sure you find out exactly what the policies are AND how to contact the seller in case there’s a problem.

About the Author

Amy Corbett Storch


Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Ama...

Amalah is a pseudonym of Amy Corbett Storch. She is the author of the Advice Smackdown and Bounce Back. You can follow Amy’s daily mothering adventures at Amalah. Also, it’s pronounced AIM-ah-lah.

If there is a question you would like answered on the Advice Smackdown, please submit it to [email protected].

Amy also documented her second pregnancy (with Ezra) in our wildly popular Weekly Pregnancy Calendar, Zero to Forty.

Amy is mother to rising first-grader Noah, preschooler Ezra, and toddler Ike.

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Yikes! I agree, you definitely have the right to inform someone of this. Nothing for you can be done right now, but sometimes things can get done. Who knows, maybe they’re having a bug infestation inside their walls and you are the one to break this case open. Or who knows, the guy may snub you. But as long as you say, “I know I don’t like the idea of that thing on my face, so I just thought you should know in case they’re in anything else.” I guess then your concern sounds more for other people than yourself,… Read more »


Hmmm, if I loved the glasses, I’d probably just say eff it, shit happens!


If they were a good retailer, they’d be falling all over themselves with apologies. Hopefully that’s the case.
It’s almost too bad you didn’t keep the bug, because that would be funny to mail back to them if they weren’t very gracious about your complaint.


Okay, Colleen’s suggestion of mailing the bug back was hilarious. You could have filled out the return form: “Reason for return: did not order item.” Ha.
I’d definitely tell the retailer — or whoever had it last before it came to you. Because — yuck.

the ass editor
the ass editor

“Reason for return: did not order item.”
I hate this story! Just the thought of giant Japanese bug germs falling into my eyeballs is causing me to develop a tic. You should definitely complain.