Did I overreact?

Soooo. Last January I bumped into a sales rep for a locally made product. At his urging I brought it into my store. It should be noted that the distributer that they use is not one I was currently working with, so he sent a sales person from that distributer in. I ordered his product as well as others (which are his competitors). A few months later I was checking out their website and noticed that they have a map for where you can find their product. Next to the map was a spot to enter your info to be added to it. I filled it out and hit submit. I checked over the next week or so but I was never added to the map. About a month or so later, I filled it out again, same deal, a month after that I did it one more time. Still wasn’t added. Figuring somthing was wrong with that page, I dug up an email address and emailed someone explaining that I would like to be added to the map, I tried via their web page interface but it didn’t work and could they please add me. Several weeks go by and I never heard back, nor was I added. Then I found the email address of their ‘web designer’. I sent basically the same email to him, no response, not added. After that I found the email of the owner of the company, I emailed him again explaining how I’ve tried and received no response at all. At this point I decided, in my mind, to stop ordering their products (and fill the space with their other local competitors) unless I received a GREAT explination as to why I wasn’t added (for example, some places won’t add you to their maps unless you carry the product for a certain length of time or some such, but even then it would have been nice to be filled in on that, anyways…) A full week after that I receive an email back from someone that I haven’t heard of yet. It appears to be a response to one of my older emails. This bugs me to a point, it proves that he received the older email and must have chosen to ignore it and probably just replied at the owners encourgement, why didn’t the owner reply to me. Either way, here is what it said…

“Thank you for choosing to sell ___________ products in your store. We think of all our customers as vital customers. Also, thank you for notifying us about a problem with our map, and I apologize for not responding earlier. Your problem is being addressed at the moment, and we hope to arrive at a solution soon. I will personally let you know when your location is added to the map. Thank you for your patience and understanding.”

Here was my response

*"You actually don’t have to bother with that anymore. I’ve asked 9 times now, 3 times via the web interface, 3 times via the [another] map web interface [for one of their other products], 1 email to someone that I don’t remember, 1 email to [web designer] and one to [owner]. I’ve been doing this since January. NINE MONTHS and this is the first time I’ve received any kind of response at all. Due to that I’ve decided to pull the your [product] out of the store. I have a very limited amount of space in my store for [type of product] and I work very hard to sell it. I need to work with companies that work hard to help me sell their products (this applies to all of our products, not just [type of product]). Since it seems [company name] doesn’t have time to even respond to my emails or add me to your maps, I don’t have time to sell your [product]. It’s too bad the way it worked out, but I really feel I did everything I could do.

Seriously, 9 emails over 9 months and ONE response. That’s not very good customer service. I have a lot of patience and understanding, but not that much."*
[edited to remove identifying names, if you’re really curious PM me]

I haven’t heard back, I don’t really expect to. After the email to the owner, I was really hoping/assuming the owner would call and let me know what’s going on, actually I was hoping he personally would make sure my name was added to the map and then call me. If he really wanted to be a good guy, he could have stopped by my store in person (with a case or two of free product) and apoligized for not getting this taken care of months ago. (The place is only 10 minutes from my store).
Anyways, I emailed one of his other competitors, I was added to the map less then 24 hours later. Like I said in the email, if they arn’t going to help me sell their products, I’ll work with people who will.
So, was discontinuing their product and over reaction or was it justified. I don’t think my email was jerkish, but if it was that doesn’t really bother me, sometimes being jerkish is part of running a business. I’m just curious about if it was an over reaction. BTW I won’t bring their product in any time soon. I’m going to give their competitors a year or so of having more shelf space and see if they pick up the slack, which I’m sure they will.

Was the product selling well? Is it better, or at least equivalent to, its competition? Were you making money on it? If so, why not carry it?

You did fine. Damn well better than I would have done. I’m a big fan of the “F-Bomb”, and would have tossed a few of them around. Always good for a quick response.

So, you wanna sell it cheap and get rid of it? What is it? I’m also a fan of the “discontinued deal”! Hell, I’ll buy anything thats 70% off! :smiley:

I make pretty much the same thing on all of that class of products, it’s a very slim margin. I’m sure the competition will pick up the slack. All the products sell more or less the same, the one’s I sit on for too long get marked down to move and are discontinued. The space I have for these products doesn’t allow me to have anything that doesn’t sell at least as well as the others (there’s some inadvertant recursion implied in that sentence isn’t there).
As for why not carry it, I thought about that. If it sells, then discontinuing it to spite the maker would hurt me, right? But there are others that will do just as well, that are only not carried in my store becuase of space restrictions. No they’ll get their chance to shine.

Funny thing, I’m very non confrontational ‘in real life’ but my vendors don’t get to fuck with me (at least the ones that I don’t owe money to and who’s competition is so extremely plentiful). As far as the F-Bomb. I was trying to make sure they really understood that I’m pulling their product, it’s their fault I’m doing it BUT I didn’t want to burn any bridges. If I start swearing it makes me look like a jerk, I need to make sure I’m the good guy here.

Overreact?! 9 e-mails in 9 months?! Maybe I missed something.

If you asked if you underreacted, I’d say that was an understatement. Depending on the circumstances, if it didn’t hurt my business at all, I would have sent off that letter after 3 tries to contact and no response within 1 month. You have way more patience than I do.

As you say, if a company is not trying to help you sell their own product, they’ve got problems that you may not want to deal with. . . like customer service issues, return issues, etc.

It your store and you have no obligation to ever by that product, so don’t feel bad about dropping any product you don’t feel like carrying. The company you are specifically talking about in this thread is very unresponsive to it’s retailers needs, and that’s a big mark against selling their stuff.

You are way kinder than me. Once could be bad luck but if I tell someone that I have given them a pass on one error but now I’d like them to do what I requested, there is no third chance.

Ghandi had nothing on you.

You sent 9 e-mails in 9 months, but never took the time to make a single phone call?

Yeah I kinda agree with this. I run an email server and create Web sites for a living and I realize how unreliable email is. I see that they did respond to AN email so they did get one but you’d be amazed how shoddy email communication can be with some places, especially since you had to “hunt” for actual contact info.

I would have done the same thing only probably sooner.
I worked with tons of vendors in my past and present job and my patience wears thin when reps are unreachable or unresponsive.
Most of the time I just drop them and wait for them to make the call “Why did you drop me?” When I explain my time is valuable and I don’t need to be wasting it trying to chase down reps and I can find better service elsewhere they either cut their loses and run or they make a newer better offer.

“Hunt” (or whatever I said, trackdown, I think) was a bad choice of words. There’s a contact us section on their website. And no, I didn’t bother to call, for two reasons. First of all I was usually doing this late at night, second, I used three seperate web interfaces to email them, plus 3 seperate emails. So that’s nine emails sent to many different places over nearly a year. It’s not my problem if they don’t feel like responding. I know email get’s wonky from time to time, but nine months is a little too long to be wonky for. Besides, I KNOW they received at least some one of them and didn’t bother to respond to that one either. I feel I did my share of work, maybe they could have called me, or ya know emailed me. All they would have had to do is give me some excuse, any excuse for why they hadn’t done it, and tell me when it would be put up. Oh well.

I just remembered, I had this happen at a car dealer as well. Sent off several emails to the service writer about an ongoing problem (plus I also brought the car in on several occasions to show them the problem, each time they promised they would call me, the emails were to remind them that they hadn’t called me). Finnally I got annoyed and called the GM. About 2 minutes later I got a call from the service writer, he read back a portion of one of my emails that was about a month old. Again, he clearly had the email and chose not to respond to it.