So I decided to check out the new Teavana at the Lehigh Valley Mall on their opening day last Friday. Before I went I browsed around a bit online on their site and read some reviews. I read that their salespeople were pretty aggressive so I kept that in mind when I went. I had a $20 spending limit in mind for tea and a steeping ball. The store itself is decent enough…very nice teapots and a great selection of different ways to make tea. There was a decent amount of people wandering around the store and about 6 different tea samples to try. I was asked by a sales associate if I needed any help and I responded that I was just looking around. I didn’t find any of the steeping balls so I went up to get tea. The tea is all behind the counter in large tins so you can’t open it up and smell it yourself, etc. I was asked if I wanted any help and said I was just seeing what teas they had. The associate handed me a booklet that contained all of their teas. He then asked if I tried the samples, to which I responded I had two of them. He then took my acquaintance and I around and had us sample all of them (VERY quickly). He then asked if he could get me any of those. Also note most of the teas being sampled were, of course, the most expensive ones. I hadn’t had time to look through the book at the other teas so I took a minute to do that. I then asked one of the salespeople if they had any tea steepers (I was looking for something simple like a ball). I was shown a tea pot thing that was about $30, and while very nifty, was far our of my price range. I was immediately asked if I wanted one added to my order — no thanks. My acquaintance then pointed out to me they had the tea ball I was looking for on the bottom shelf (keep the expensive stuff at eye level, remember), however it was $13. I’ll wait and get one at the grocery store for $3, thanks. My acquaintance got her tea first. She wanted one of the mate teas that was being sampled. The clerk spoke very fast and noted that the mate tea she tried was actually a blend of two different teas. She then whipped out these nice little tins that cost $7 that she made seem like you MUST purchase in order to get any tea at the store. The clerk asked if she’d like a tin of each tea (so two $7 tins, or $6 for the small ones) or if she’d like them mixed together. Mixed together, of course, was the route taken so only one exhorbitantly-priced tin would need to be bought. The clerk then offered to fill the tin. Sure! Little was it known that it would bring the cost of the tin and tea to $56. Would you like some (disgustingly expensive) German rock sugar with that? No thanks. It was such a pressuring, fast-paced experience she just paid the price and was left feeling shocked at going from getting a little bit of tea to dropping $56 on a platinum-priced tin and enough tea to last a year. I picked out a tea I thought I’d like and asked for it. Supposedly it was “awaiting harvesting” and they were out of it. I was then offered another tea that tasted “very similar” which was also much more expensive. I declined. I picked out a different tea that was about $9 for 2oz. All of the prices in the books reflect 2oz of tea (which, they say, equates to 15 cups). The girl grabbed me one of those great tins and asked if I wanted it filled up. No, sorry. I asked her to give me $14-worth, so I’d stay on my $20 budget. She poured in two heaping scoops, about $27 and looked at me. I replied that I only wanted $14 in tea. She scooped some more out and placed it back on the scale…$18. She asked if that’s alright. Apparently my English wasn’t too good that day so I responded in a harsh tone, “No, I asked for $14.” Eventually she made it down to $13.72, which I agreed to. Do I want some German rock sugar with that? No thanks. I grabbed my bag and got the hell out of there, cringing at the poor schmuck that just got swindled for $143 worth of tea next to me as I was rung up. That night I decided to read up a little bit more. Not only is Teavana expensive as hell, but you can also get the same, if not better, tea online for much cheaper. I also read about one of their former employees getting treated like absolute shit and it really gave me a taste of what this sham of a company is all about. Do yourself a favor and order online, or better yet, shop local at places like Christine’s Secret Garden. Avoid the Teavana nonsense like the plague.