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Thread: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

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  1. #1
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    This project started a couple of weeks ago because I was fed up with the planned obsolescence of consumer products I was buying. It's ridiculous that a $200 pair of shoes would have a strap break after 7 months, or that an $80 frying pan would lose its non-stick coating from regular use in less than a year and a half. So I decided to start sending letters to the makers of things that broke or were unsatisfactory, and preferably send back the item itself too. I had bits of free time here and there at work, and it was my little way of protesting the disposable nature of our consumer culture.

    I made rules:

    1. Every claim made in each letter must be true.
    2. I only send letters about products that I have used in the last six months.
    3. I send at least two positive letters for every one negative letter, to balance out my karmic energy.

    This is the thread wherein I will record the results.

  2. #2
    photoslut ivankay's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    (sitting on the edge of my seat)

    This should be neat.

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    Coachella Junkie faxman75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    In the two cases you are citing, did you mail those products in and how long ago? Is shipping going to be a deterrent if that proves costly and will that result in just a letter? Have you tried phoning the companies?

    I'm sorry I have so many questions. I look forward to the results of your experiment.

  4. #4
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by faxman75 View Post
    In the two cases you are citing, did you mail those products in and how long ago? Is shipping going to be a deterrent if that proves costly and will that result in just a letter? Have you tried phoning the companies?

    I'm sorry I have so many questions. I look forward to the results of your experiment.
    For the shoes, they were very minimalist sandals and the shipping cost only $2.89 so I went ahead and sent them back. For the frying pan, I haven't dealt with it yet, but because it's heavier I'm thinking I will just mail a photo.

    Phoning the companies is obnoxious and their customer service lines are often outsourced to India and you often have to wait on hold for long periods of time. I'm a fan of the written word. And letters seem to be more effective than e-mails.

  5. #5
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    The first response I received back was actually from the lovely people at Rosebud Perfume Co, makers of a very popular line of salves sold at Sephora. I wrote them saying how much I enjoyed the product, and asking if it would ever be possible to tour their factory. Their response said that although they cannot give factory tours, they can give me two free samples of their new salve tubes including their newest product, Mocha Rose Lip Balm.



    Outcome: Successful (And for the record, the Mocha Rose Lip Balm smells great and makes me want to eat it.)

  6. #6
    Coachella Junkie faxman75's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Thanks. I wish you continued success in this endeavor.

  7. #7
    old school
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    This is a great idea & concept. Products sure aren't made like they used to be as (cliche as that is). I think the positive letters of praise & satisfaction should be sent to manufacturers that are exceeding the product's expectations of consumers. Too many manufacurers are concerned with turning a profit rather than the integrity & value of what they produce.
    "Oh this uncertainty is taking me over"

  8. #8
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    The second response I received was from Hertz. This was not a case of planned obsolescence, but rather just a case of completely horrendous service. I had to wait at the pick up desk for over an hour for an employee to return from a break, and when I finally received my car it had footprints on the inside passenger side windshield. The footprints didn't really bother me, but the waiting did. In Hertz's response, they apologize for the poor experience, and give me $100 worth of vouchers for a future rental.



    Outcome: Successful

  9. #9
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Thanks shoegazer! I can't wait to see what kind of responses I will get.

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    Coachella Junkie SoulDischarge's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    I'll be interested to see if you do this with any electronics, as they seem particularly designed to fall apart quickly and there's a lot of reluctance to address the issue.

  11. #11
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by SoulDischarge View Post
    I'll be interested to see if you do this with any electronics, as they seem particularly designed to fall apart quickly and there's a lot of reluctance to address the issue.
    I definitely have sent out a couple letters, but I haven't heard back yet. Will post them if/when I get a response.

  12. #12
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    I sent the NewellRubbermaid group a letter telling them how obsessed I am with Uniball Vision micro pens in blue, and they were nice enough to send me back one along with their letter.



    Outcome: Successfull

  13. #13
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    I sent US Air a letter about some shitty service including a flight attendant who forgot to provide drink service to my row on the plane and then denied it. They sent me an apology letter. To be fair, it was a pretty whiny letter, but I'm surprised they didn't send me some sort of freebie.



    Outcome: Meh

  14. #14
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    I sent Mrs. Meyers Clean Day a letter about how much I love their household cleaning products and the nice smells are pretty much the only thing that motivates me to actually clean my apartment. They sent me back a thank you letter and coupon.



    Outcome: This company can do no wrong in my eyes

  15. #15
    Banned marooko's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    This is awesome!! I do the phone calls and emails currently, this makes me want to write. I have contacted for both reasons as well.

    Clichéd or not, it seems to be absolute truth.

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    Coachella Junkie Drinkey McDrinkerstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Softly worded letters.
    last.fm
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    7/16/14 Planes Mistaken For Stars - Echo // 8/23-24/14 FYF Fest - Expo Park //8/25/14 Nine Inch Nails - Hollywood Bowl // 9/12-14/14 Riotfest - Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL
    9/18/14 Neutral Milk Hotel - Hollywood Bowl

  17. #17
    Coachella Junkie M Sparks's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    I once sent a letter to Subway. They insist on calling their crappy white bread "Italian". So I ordered a sandwich on Italian.

    (Condescendingly) "We don't have Italian, we have white or wheat."

    I don't care what they want to call stuff. They can call their meatballs "Beef Mountains" if they want, just don't mock me if I order them that way. They sent me a ton of coupons, which I think got thrown out because I hate Subway anyway.

  18. #18
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by M Sparks View Post
    I once sent a letter to Subway. They insist on calling their crappy white bread "Italian". So I ordered a sandwich on Italian.

    (Condescendingly) "We don't have Italian, we have white or wheat."

    I don't care what they want to call stuff. They can call their meatballs "Beef Mountains" if they want, just don't mock me if I order them that way. They sent me a ton of coupons, which I think got thrown out because I hate Subway anyway.
    Ha, that is horrible. I still feel stupid using the weird marketing names that fast food chains come up with. I mean, at Starbucks I can hardly bring myself to ask for a "grande" -- it makes no sense that it's the name for their medium size, and I protest that.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by Courtney View Post
    Ha, that is horrible. I still feel stupid using the weird marketing names that fast food chains come up with. I mean, at Starbucks I can hardly bring myself to ask for a "grande" -- it makes no sense that it's the name for their medium size, and I protest that.
    My God, I hate coldstone creamery for this... I just call the medium ice cream medium. fuck them.
    Quote Originally Posted by bug on your lip View Post
    you ever get this uneasy feeling that everyone of us on this board is actually in Hell?

  20. #20
    Pedley Rocks JustSteve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    i have a swiffer wetjet that is my savior when it comes to mopping our place, which is all wood floors. the thing broke with just basic use and i wrote the company regarding my disappointment since i love the product. did it via email and they sent me a coupon good for a brand new starter set. they run around $17. score.

    we had a project like this back in 5th grade. we all had to pick a product that we loved and write a letter to the company. was cool to see the responses everyone got, many included the product, too.

    i think saved by the bell had an episode like that.

    i'm gonna go now.
    Last edited by JustSteve; 09-07-2011 at 09:19 AM.

  21. #21
    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Wrote to Duckhorn Winery about an unpleasant experience at their winery in Napa. They sent us 3 bottles of wine and a very sincere and apologetic letter.

    Argued with Starving Students for months over the worst move you could ever imagine. They didn't reimburse us for the move, but they did pay full price for the shit they broke and / or lost.

    Wrote to the organizers of FYF Fest after they clusterfucked 2010. They sent nothing in return, but fixed things appropriately in 2011.

    Ordered two CoulVue Headrest Mounts and they came defective. Emailed them pictures and they sent us THREE new fully functional units and simply told us to throw the two old ones away.

    For pleasant experiences, I rarely write the company itself, but I do post on their social media / yelp-type sites.
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

  22. #22
    Coachella Junkie Drinkey McDrinkerstein's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayaDelWes View Post
    Wrote to Duckhorn Winery about an unpleasant experience at their winery in Napa. They sent us 3 bottles of wine and a very sincere and apologetic letter.
    Weird, I've only had very pleasant experiences there...my friends are members. Excellent wine and such a beautiful place! That's some damn expensive wine to get 3 free bottles of too!
    last.fm
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    7/16/14 Planes Mistaken For Stars - Echo // 8/23-24/14 FYF Fest - Expo Park //8/25/14 Nine Inch Nails - Hollywood Bowl // 9/12-14/14 Riotfest - Humboldt Park, Chicago, IL
    9/18/14 Neutral Milk Hotel - Hollywood Bowl

  23. #23
    Pedley Rocks JustSteve's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayaDelWes View Post
    Wrote to the organizers of FYF Fest after they clusterfucked 2010. They sent nothing in return, but fixed things appropriately in 2011.
    well, of course things were fixed. look who one of the promoters was.

  24. #24
    Dick Nicewonger kreutz2112's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by PlayaDelWes View Post
    But Courtney, Sugar is Sugar.
    Quote Originally Posted by FROM ARTICLE
    And gas is gas, but the odors my kids emit aren't the same thing that I put into my car to get them to school. To claim that would be irresponsible, and to claim that high fructose corn syrup, by any name, is the same as sugar is irresponsible, too.
    Correct.
    RAPE STOVE

    white power?!

  25. #25
    Coachella Junkie PlayaDelWes's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    We are fans of Duckhorn, it was just a bad day for them (overcrowded, understaffed, and although we had a tasting appointment, they had nobody to serve us).
    Quote Originally Posted by dj12inches View Post
    What makes me qualified? I've watched EVERY fucking episode of American Idol, and every single episode of The Voice...Forget that I won departmental music awards when I was in the 8th grade choir.

  26. #26
    business time tessalasset's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Courtney, thank you for trying to keep the board classy and interesting. It's these kind of threads that keep me coming back.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ardentbiscuit View Post
    This is the equivalent of musical water boarding.

  27. #27
    zeezus amyzzz's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by tessalasset View Post
    Courtney, thank you for trying to keep the board classy and interesting. It's these kind of threads that keep me coming back.
    agreed.
    Quote Originally Posted by guedita View Post
    Because fucking millenials that's what

  28. #28
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by tessalasset View Post
    Courtney, thank you for trying to keep the board classy and interesting. It's these kind of threads that keep me coming back.
    Aw, thanks


  29. #29

    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    ^^completely agree!

    Courtney, do you think the vouchers/coupons/free samples are worth the time and postage spent? I watch that "Extreme Couponing" show on TLC and it almost made me want to start clipping coupons and writing companies like you have done here. You're adding fuel to my fire! ;D
    Quote Originally Posted by bug on your lip View Post
    you ever get this uneasy feeling that everyone of us on this board is actually in Hell?

  30. #30
    MENACING Courtney's Avatar
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    Default Re: Dr. Broken Stuff or: How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love Customer Service

    Quote Originally Posted by Starraven View Post
    ^^completely agree!

    Courtney, do you think the vouchers/coupons/free samples are worth the time and postage spent? I watch that "Extreme Couponing" show on TLC and it almost made me want to start clipping coupons and writing companies like you have done here. You're adding fuel to my fire! ;D
    In the case of a $1 coupon, no I don't think a coupon is worth the cost of sending in a letter when you consider that the true cost is $0.44 postage + $0.05 envelope + $0.01 paper + $0.05 printing -- that's $0.55 just in raw supplies. Not to mention that it might take me 10 minutes to type up, print and seal a letter, which at an opportunity cost of $25 per hour amounts to $4.17.

    I do, however, think sending a letter is worth it if you're doing it on principle because you want to convey a message, which is the case here.

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