Let me first say that I am a current/former employee of Teavana, and because of this, I have some very strong feelings and opinions about this company. Nevertheless, I will do my best to back up these opinions with empirical evidence.
First, I believe that Teavana utilizes sales practices that are comparable to dehumanizing the customer to the amount of money that s/he ends up giving at the end of the sale. The customer is a number, and that number determines the success/failure of that transaction. This is realized in the tracking of the “average ticket,” which is the average dollar amount of the cumulative number of transactions. It is the average ticket that drives the company and its employees to push customers to the point of feeling “violated,” as so many previous reviewers have said. A large average ticket determines a large sales-per-hour, and a large sales-per-hour determines a bonus check at the end of each month. At Teavana, employees seem to become blind to the customer and his/her needs because they seem to be too focused on the greatest possible number that they can get out of each person that walks through the door.
In short, the customer is reduced to the objective value of the purchase that s/he makes. At Teavana, the employees do not seem to be trained to treat customers with dignity or respect. Rather, they seem to be trained to treat the customer as nothing more than a statistic. I cannot count the number of times that my manager became irritable and angry, rather than grateful and humbled, simply because a guest decided to buy a small purchase that made him/her happy, rather than a large purchase that will make corporate shower her in accolades and promotions. In my experience, Teavana seems to breed a culture of selfishness and ruthless competition, rather than a true culture of tea, where all people are humbled in each others’ presence.
Second, I believe that Teavana romanticizes their product to the point of deception. For example, I once saw one of their teas marketed as “one of the rarest teas in the world.” Rare is relative, but a tea that can be found filling upwards of 250 jars with a 5lb capacity throughout the nation hardly constitutes it as rare. Teavana seems to be taking advantage of the ignorance of the masses and creating an appeal that gives them an excuse to charge a high price for a relatively mediocre product. Furthermore, the romanticizing seems to be magnified by poorly trained employees. For example, I have heard coworkers say that the aforementioned tea is the rarest in the world, when it clearly is too common to be rare, considering that it can be found in bounty in hundreds of retail stores throughout the continent. I have also heard co-workers claim Teavana teas to be “all-natural, organic, sustainable, etc.,” when the corporation itself makes none of these claims. In fact, Teavana neither affirms nor denies the use of artificial flavors, pesticides, fertilizer, socially/environmentally sustainable trade practices, or even objectively affirmed health benefits for their teas. Yet, I have heard employees claim these things for the company that they work for. Again, Teavana seems to be letting ignorance reign in their favor.
My conclusion: I believe Teavana to be a deceptive corporation that is attempting to sway a collective opinion toward the acceptance of the illusion of a high quality product that is actually mediocre and fake. From an areal view, I suspect them of promoting a culture of lies, unchecked greed, and blissful ignorance among their employees and the customers who believe them. More tangibly, I suspect them of artificially flavoring the majority of their teas, cutting corners with cheap ingredients in their teas (all the while charging a premium price), and leading customers and employees alike as to the true quality of the product. Then again, quality is relative.