I’ve been in shock, personally, since Tuesday morning around 9 am when some one else at the office I was at poked his head out of his cubicle and said “a plane hit the World Trade Center”.
It’s been all I could do, to go to work, shop for necessities, get any miniscule amount of productive work done. (for the record, I’ll be using about 16 - 20 hours of ‘leave time’ for this week - I was here, but not productive).
So, as I’m finishing up a few tasks, late at night, getting ready to go home, an email flashes into my mailbox.
Here’s the bulk of the text (name of company not mentioned)but it was entitled "Extending Sale…For America "
Ok, so ‘a portion’ of the sales will go to the Red Cross. This is supposed to make me feel better about you extending your sale since apparently you didn’t get sufficient orders when our nation was under attack?
I understand that small businesses run on a shoe string. I understand that you may have counted on a large amount of proceeds from your sale. But ‘extending’ your sale ‘in light of the American tragedy’.
Granted it’s not the most tasteless thing to come down the pike, but damn. :mad:
Me, too, Eris. I think it’s actually nice of them to extend the sale, not to mention donating a portion of the proceeds to the Red Cross. Like you said, Wring, small businesses run on a shoestring, and don’t have a lot of money to contribute, like at United Way time. So it’s nice of them to chip in (also good public relations–I’m such a cynic.)
Well, DUCKIE, I guess the difference might be the same as between two restaurants here in Seattle. One is donating all its profits from this evening to the disaster relief effort, but has done little or no advertising about it (it was reported as a human interest item on the news). The other is donating half its profits, and is advertising the fact to encourage people to come in.
To me, the former restaurant is simply trying to do their part. It has nothing invested in whether 2 or 2000 people show up tonight, because everything it makes will go to relief. The latter restaurant appears to be attempting to drum up business by saying that it will give half of its profits (keeping the other half, of course).
I think businesses must be extremely careful in this sensitive time to avoid any indication that they may in any way be profiting from this tragedy. Give what you can, but don’t tie it to what you yourself sell – or if you do, then give all the proceeds from the event, not some. I think the best way to handle it is as GE has. It gave a substantial donation ($20 million, I believe) but has categorically refused to comment on it.
I’m willing to believe this business didn’t mean to commit a lapse of taste, but I agree with WRING that it did.
Crunch Gym offerred its facilities to the members of my firm for free for the remainder of the week, claiming that studies say that physical activity helps to alleviate stress. I have not yet decided whether this is cynical marketing or not.
We offered our wire services free to any of our members that have news related to the disaster, as long as it is not of a commercial nature. In other words, if it looks like they’re trying to drum up business, they’ll get charged for it. We did not advertise this fact broadly; we posted a simple announcement on our website and let clients know on a case by case basis. Most of them have been very grateful.
Our competitor, on the other hand, sent an announcement out Wednesday morning by fax and e-mail not only to all of their members, but all of ours, announcing that they would allow them free disaster-related news release.
It goes without saying that I think we did the right thing while they used it as a sales opportunity.
Ok, here we go. I’ll spell out for you what I think the right way for a small business to handle this would have been: (Jodi has it right, btw)
Original sale goes on through Tuesday. Ohmygod this horrific event happens. Country is realing. (obviously and not nearly so important globally, but I acknowledge important to those in the biz, is the 'uh-oh, we needed a boost in sales).
Wait one week. Send out another email message Do not attempt to link 'this sale/“For AMERICA” ’ just announce a sale. Life will go on. as a parenthetical thing in the end mention you can mention a portion will go to the REd Cross.
Now, for an update. This is what I’d sent back to them:
"feel free to remove me from this list.
I find it beyond belief . Never mind. I won’t go into the whys of why I find this so tasteless. Just remove me from your list. Do not email and ask me why. just do it please. thank you" NOte that it’s polite. and direct. “do not contact me again”. Please understand, too, that my email lists my name.
This is what they replied:
“Oh, it’s ok for you to express yourself and elude to some dissatisfaction with something we’ve done but not have the courage to share yourself and then cowardly tell me not to email back. If this were the case you shouldn’t have emailed in the first place. I hope that in the future you may find the strength to stand up for yourself and not unload on someone and then run away”
Now, to them:
Spare fuckin’ me. I’m cowardly because I didn’t see the point in wasting my breath explaining how tasteless I see this to the fuckin’ morons who sent it in the first place? Unload? fuck, you have not even begun to see me unload.
I had been content with simply never hearing from you again.
Jesus, that is unbelievable wring, that reply to you. Is that for real?
Here’s what I’d do - I’d immediately forward that to every single high-level person at that company (I’m assuming it’s a reasonably large company). I’d follow up w/ a letter or phone call or something. I’d make it clear that all you asked was to be removed from their list. Drive home that this is reprehensible customer service. Tell them that if you don’t hear from them in 24 hours, you will be encouraging everyone you know never to purchase from this company again. You will forward the email reply you go to everyone you know explaining why they shouldn’t buy from this company again. You will post on several well trafficked message boards the exact same thing. Then you will call the press. And hire a skywriter. You will contact the aliens you know and they will draw sophisticated anagrams in crop circles all declaiming the idiocy of said company. Demons shall be summoned, with firey swords and large fanged drooling mouths…
Well, that’s what I’d do.
Seriously…that’d piss the hell out of me. What was the name of this company again?
I generally don’t like people to trade in on tragedy, and especially don’t like it when they take the time out to try and tell me off when I’ve simply said ‘I don’t care to hear from you ever again’
I’ve got the converse of this. Mr. Rilch ordered a DVD from Dave’s Laser. They called him on Monday to tell him it was in, and they would hold it for one week. Since he was working Monday and Tuesday, he told them he’d get it Wednesday.
Wednesday, they called and said they’d continue holding it indefinitely, or cancel the order with no charge if he had become unable to pay. He was able to get there, and to pay, but that was thoughtful. Not, “Sorry, we sold it already,” or “Come get your shit,” but “If you can’t make it, no problem.” Mr. Rilch is one of their valued, first-name-basis, customers, but I hope they extended the same courtesy to everyone who had hold items.