The "thanks for buying jewelry" letter marketing disaster.

So, the story goes… a jewelry company thought it a good idea to mail postcards to the home address of their best customers, thanking them for their continued jewelry purchases and offering them a discount to come in and continue shopping with them…

… only problem is they didn’t consider that, ummm, many of the people receiving the letter (the little lady at home) weren’t necessarily the ones receiving the jewelry. The little postcard was going to the wife but the little trinket was going to sum’n on the side. :smack:

My question… I recall reading this story as being true (or, at least, with a specific company name tied to it as an actual marketing blunder and not just an apocryphal tale. Does anyone out there know what actual case this is or can point to it being a true story?

I’m getting the standard urban legend information disconnect warning with this story. Let’s take it stepwise:
1). Company says that’s for buying jewelry cards out
2). Cards are intercepted by those who’ve never seen any jewelry
3). With or without fact checking, something unpleasant happens – an angry loud argument, domestic violence requiring a police call, divorce, or murder
4). Everyone, even those not closely related, hears about the source of the problem in step 3

I can’t see how there’s a connection between 3 and 4 that’s reliable. Makes for a great dirty anecdote, so I figure, urban legend.

Or, another way:

  1. Jewelry store gets hundreds of confused/angry phone calls from the wives
  2. Jewelry store goes :eek: and scrambles like mad to fix it

I’ve heard a similar story about a hotel who wanted to thank their best customers.

And I’ve heard a similar story about United Airlines Take Me Along campaign from the 1960s, which supposedly generated a bunch of complaints from frequent fliers that the airline shouldn’t be telling them WHO they should be taking along.

At a retailer I used to work for we took special precautions during the holiday seasons when calling people to let them know their raincheck item was in.
When we called we asked to speak only to the person who’s name was on the raincheck, or if we left a message we only said “This is so-and-so retailer, we want you to know your rainchecked item is in.”
The precautions were in place in reaction to complaints we had.
“I was going to buy my son a Wii for Xmas but you were out so I got a raincheck. Then you guys called up my house, my son answered, and you told him the Wii was available for pick up. Thanks for spoiling the surprise.”

I had heard this version, but not the jewelry or hotel version. Snopes says this legend is considerably older than United’s Take Me Along campaign.

As a general rule, if I find out that a story has multiple variants like this, I am less inclined to believe that it’s true.