The J. Crew return policy is awesome! A retailer’s customer service is measured when a purchased item breaks or you have trouble locating an item. A welcome greeting is certainly appreciated but amounts to friendly banter rather than actual service. Getting the tough stuff right - a fair return policy - is all that really matters in retail customer service, because it creates loyal customers. Recently, J. Crew exemplified unparalleled customer service when my necklace broke and I didn’t know what to do. Last spring, I spotted this necklace displayed prominently on a mannequin. It was so shiny I think I heard it sparkle. I was hooked. It was a classic statement piece of jewelry – a bold and unique piece that strongly conveys the personal style of the wearer. This scratched display model, however, was the last one in the store – so we thought. The sales associate checked their online system and called regional stores, but it was sold out everywhere. After a virtual eternity hunting around in the stockroom one last time, she emerged, fist raised to the sky, holding the necklace! Excited, I darn near hugged her. Upon seeing me wear it for work Jade mocked, “Look at my wife, bling, bling, blaang!” Yes, it sparkled, just what any mundane outfit needs. But it lost some of its luster last week when I noticed, to my horror, one of the large front stones was missing. My once vibrant and striking necklace now looked dingy. I was at crossroads about a solution: take it back to the store or try to fix it myself? Handy, I am not, so returning the necklace was my most viable option, although I wasn’t holding my breath about it. Certain stores have a reputation for excellent customer service. Nordstrom, for one, has such a reputation for its liberal return policy. According to urban legend, Nordstrom allowed a customer to return snow tires even though they don’t sell them. Good customer service is rare and excellent customer service might as well be urban legend. Since nearly half a year had passed, I worried J. Crew wouldn’t return or exchange the item. I had long since discarded my receipt, because I loved it so much, I never intended to return it. I figured it was worth a visit to see if they could fix, replace or exchange the necklace, because it was relatively expensive and I had only worn it a handful of times. The following Saturday, I visited my local J. Crew store at South Coast Plaza. I patiently waited in line and was greeted by a very handsome sales associate, dressed in a suit, with a fairly prominent English accent and explained to him my dilemma. I first asked if J. Crew repaired their jewelry, given the expansion of their jewelry department in the past couple years. Unfortunately, they currently do not. He offered to look for a replacement item, but quickly remembered its age and that it had long since been out of stock. He then offered store credit. He reassured me that J. Crew merchandise quality should withstand a few wears and apologized for the inconvenience I had experienced. With further thought, he offered to refund me the original purchase price, as J. Crew stands behind their merchandise quality. After a gracious thank you and his continual apology, I left the store. Although I was sad to give up my beloved statement necklace, in its condition, it was not wearable. Despite having to forfeit my necklace, I was amazed by how well treated I was and what great customer service I had just received. Sure, I have had outstanding customer service at other retailers before, but my experience at J. Crew that day was above and beyond. I would have been happy and settled for store credit, as I could have selected a similar necklace to replace the one I had just forfeited. But instead of the constraint of store credit, I was given my purchasing power back. The quality of service J. Crew displayed that day is the type of service that makes customers for life. I will certainly keep them in mind the next time I’m in the market for a statement necklace.