Deirdre Saoirse Moen

Sounds Like Weird


15 September 2004

An exchange with Dooney customer service.

Dear Mr. Dooney,
I have a complaint that I want to bring to your attention. It concerns the quality at Dooney & Bourke, Inc., and I hope someone can resolve this.
Here’s the problem: It used to be that Dooney & Bourke proudly listed the country of manufacture — because your goods were made solely in the USA. So core was this concept that Dooney adopted the red, white, and blue label that is used to this day — with one important difference from today’s labels: Made in USA.
Then, other lines were added made in other countries.
Now, however, it seems that most, if not all, of Dooney’s products are made in Asia, making it impossible to tell a counterfeit from the genuine article.
It doesn’t help that I also don’t care for the smaller bags that seem impractical. Personally, I’d prefer to be able to purchase a briefcase from you in an interesting color again, provided it was made in the USA.
Last, when I emailed, more than once, to Dooney customer service to inquire about the country of manufacture of various product lines and which I could order that were made in the USA, I’ve only received stone silence.
I should add that I have 18 pieces by Dooney — all of them made in the USA. I have also bought and resold several other pieces. It seems I’m going to have to be hanging on to my pieces, since I won’t be able to buy new products from you that fit my ethical obligations to American jobs.
In the future, I probably won’t do business with your company. Also, I likely won’t recommend your company to others.
Here’s how you can help me: Please, put the information in your catalog, on your web site, and more prominently in your products. When I went to inspect one at Nordstrom, I was only able to determine it was made overseas by the inspection paper written in Chinese.
Please respect those of us who have been tired of having our and our loved one’s jobs shipped overseas by callous profiteers.
Which, alas, it seems Dooney & Bourke has become.
Thanks for listening to my complaint. I hope it is addressed.

Dooney customer service responded:

We are producing select products in other countries. Because of the high demand for our product that is in excess of our manufacturing capability in the U.S., we are relying on select high quality manufacturers with specialized skills in various countries to produce products to our specifications and satisfy the high level of demand. These countries include Italy, England and China and Costa Rica among others.
Wherever our products are produced, we are directly supplying each manufacturing facility with D&B’s finest quality leather, hardware and other materials that are used consistently around the world.

I replied again:

But which of your lines are specifically made in the US? My question still hasn’t been answered. At the moment, there’s nothing I can order from you without talking to a human or trying to find the item in a store — and you don’t have Dooney stores in California.
Not only have the items I preferred typically not been in stores [such as Nordstrom and Macy’s], they are almost never made in the USA.
So, how can I find out which items are made in the USA prior to ordering without having to call customer service? Your web site no longer says. Your catalog no longer says.
I’m still very, very miffed.

In an amazing non-answer:

If you need to ask where they are made the only way to do that is to pick a style and call our cust.svc.line . I’m sorry you feel the way you do but we do not concider ourselves callous profiteers.

Note, however, that they wanted production quantity, thus shipped the projects overseas. How is that not callous profiteering?

And in the “If three people do it….” category of responses:

You’ve made it incredibly difficult to be patriotic and do business with you.
I have been buying Dooneys ONLY for years, but there are other lines that make it easier for me to shop with them.
I feel very strongly that, for items available from a manufacturer’s web site, the country of origin should be a part of the product listing. I’ll be writing to the FTC and to my legislators to encourage that to happen. Should that pass, perhaps we’ll do business again.
Until then, I’m not going to pick up a phone and call a human every time I want to buy a purse. Though, if a whole lot of us who felt that way did so, perhaps you’d manage to get the info up on your web site without a law being passed.

So, if you’re considering buying a Dooney, I highly recommend chewing up some of their 800 number minutes and some of their human time.

Frankly, I feel betrayed by what used to be an American icon.

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