We are currently on the market for rugs. One for our living room and one for the nursery. For inspiration, I’ve been browsing the web, looking for just the right color and pattern. One of my browsing sessions led me to Pottery Barn. At least, that is where it should have led me. To my great surprise, instead of Pottery Barn’s homepage, this is what I got:
“Sorry, due to website restrictions we are unable to display the requested page.”
That’s all. No information, no phone number or contact e-mail. Puzzled, but not fazed, I continued on to other websites. Then, I tried West Elm. The same mysterious message appeared, this time with a contact phone number. Williams-Sonoma: same story.
By this time, I was truly flabbergasted. What is going on? I live in Europe for Pete’s sake, not North Korea. I know that these companies don’t ship to Europe, but we should at least be able to see what it is we are missing out on, right? Well, wrong apparently. So far for the World Wide Web...
After a short round of googling the restricted website message, I quickly learned that I was not alone. I found more complaints of Europeans who were unable to access these websites, and none of them seemed to know what was going on.
I am determined to get to the bottom of this. I started with West Elm’s contact number. The phone was answered by a lovely lady who ensured me that this was not West Elm’s policy (turns out West Elm, Pottery Barn and Williams-Sonoma are all the same company; I did not know this); the governments of the countries where the sites are blocked are responsible. My quest for the truth brought me to the Dutch government. No information about blocking websites could be found on their web pages, so I gave them a call. The lady told me she did not have an answer right away, but would inquire with her colleagues and get back to me. She called me back one day later (at least they’re fast) to tell me she had contacted the economic affairs department and they assured her that no such practice exists within the government. Blocking websites only occurs when sites are involved in illegal activities, which these furniture companies obviously aren’t.
So, this is where I am at today. I’ve gained some information, but it has not brought me closer to an answer yet. Next up I will contact my internet provider and Williams-Sonoma’s IT department. I will keep you posted on my progress. In the meantime, if anyone has already found the answer, I am dying to know here, so please clue me in!