What a dump!

Posted: May 8, 2007 in CRM

That line was used by Bette Davis in the 1949 movie “Beyond the Forest” and was reprised by Edward Albee in (I think) the opening line of his play, “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf,” which was made famous by Elizabeth Taylor in the film version circa 1966.  In any event, it was all I could think of when visiting a web site to buy a T-shirt for my wife. 

The T-shirt was advertised in the women’s magazine, “Marie Claire” and it is part of a campaign to feed hungry kids, the idea being that the exorbitantly priced article would generate profits to accomplish the goal.  My wife is a sweetheart about stuff like this and she suggested it as a gift for Mothers Day or her birthday — the two run together.  So I said fine.

I dutifully followed the directions printed in the magazine and went to the web site where I ran into Bette Davis and Elizabeth Taylor.

Now, I am a guy and like many guys I know I can’t buy for women because I need hard data — measurements, not sizes that are so flexible they are the economist’s definition of fungible (sorry, you’ll have to look that one up).  But I figured I was on solid ground needing only to order a size small T-shirt, even I could do that, I reasoned, but I was only partly right.

The magazine referred me to a place on the web site that — surprise! — didn’t exist, the “charity link.” 

Ok, I said, this is a women’s magazine and I am probably just exhibiting normal male pattern blindness which recurs whenever I have to do something that should be logical but is not.  It also perfectly complements my male pattern deafness (which seems most acute whenever the Red Sox are on), so, my solution was to go to the site map.  Unfortunately, the site map deals mostly with astrological forecasts from what I can see and I didn’t need one in the same way Bob Dylan never needed a weatherman, but I digress.

Eventually, I found the link I needed hiding behind some other word like “donations” and found the T-shirt only to discover that TO ORDER you need to call an 800 number.  So much for e-commerce.

I made the call and got right through to an operator who was only interested in my credit card and the size and it took a few questions to realize that this number only dealt with the one specific T-shirt despite all the other stuff you could theoretically purchase on the web page that referred me to this destination. 

Ok, I surrendered, gave them my numbers and shipping address and we were done, or so I thought.  Foolishly, though, I thought I would give them the benefit of my CRM knowledge and maybe make a few select comments in their customer service or comment areas to help them improve the shopping experience, but even in that I was disappointed.  Customer service was essentially outbound, you could manipulate your subscription and other stuff but the magazine was clearly not interested in establishing a pen pal relationship with its customers. 

Ditto for comments, if you want to make a comment you need to be a member.  Wanna register?  No, thanks, I have a day job writing a blog and other CRM related stuff and I must get to it.  Hearst Publications, are you listening?

What a dump.

So, what did you think?

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