Personalized Sharpies: A personal review

1 06 2009

I have a dilemma here in this review.  I’m really upset at not receiving what I wanted for something that may well be the biggest day of my life.  Normally, in that case, I’d just fuss at Customer Service a little bit and tell everyone that company X sucks over Facebook and Twitter.  Then I’d vote with my dollars and buy their competitor’s products until I wasn’t mad anymore.

With this product, though, there is no reasonable competitor.  I keep a large box (like a 6in x 9in x 9in) of Sharpies right next to my desk in every color they’ve offered.  I even have the Cafe Colors and the Bold Colors.  I have fine tip markers, extra fine tips, Sharpie pens, all the way up to the poster sized markers.  I have all the Sharpie paint pens.  I have EVERY Sharpie product I’ve ever seen.  I use Sharpies on all my “modifications.”  I even have Sharpie detailing on the cabinets and windows in my BATHROOM.  I probably have $500 worth of Sharpie products in my bedroom and bathroom alone. I can’t just boycott them for their competition – there is NO COMPETITION!

If you’ve read this blog before this post, you’ll see that my husband and I are not quite… mainstream.  We are both tattooed young people who are also foster to adopt parents.  The adoption is very, very soon.  We don’t fit in, we’ve never fit in, and our adoption celebration is planned to celebrate our non-traditional family.  How perfect is it that we have party favors of personalized Sharpie markers – get it?  They’re PERMANENT, like we are. Hehehe.

Shaun and I started planning this months ago once we first got to sign the final intent to adopt papers on our children.  We wanted personalized markers so that every time our friends would use them they’d laugh a little at our stupid pun.  We worked and discussed and argued about what to write on them.  Then, finally, I told him we have to do it.  We have to order now so that we’ll have everything in place before I go into crazy nesting mommy mode.  I was expecting it to take two weeks to receive them:  7 – 10 days for the order to be processed and 7 – 10 days for them to be shipped.

Twenty days came and went and on day 21, I called the only number they have listed on the site.  It was not for the Sharpie people but they happily transfered me.

Problem #1:  The wrong contact number is on their website.

I spoke to a customer service person who called over to s0me other department to find out what happened to the order.  The only person who could find out was at lunch.

Problem #2: The customer service division and the production division do not have an account management system that both departments can see.

Problem #3:  There is only one person who can use the computer, and she likes to go to lunch.

I left my name and number with the customer service person and they promised they would call me back when the only person who could look up my account was back from lunch.

Problem #4:  They did not already have my name, phone number, or email address from my order.  I expected to hear “Mrs. Dollins, please let me verify that this is the best number to reach you at.” and then hear the number I either called in on (caller ID!) or the number I left when I placed the order online.

Hours and hours later, I called back.  I was told that my order was not fulfilled because the message requested on the marker appeared to be for a business looking for marketing supplies.

Problem #5:  If the requested text was denied, why wasn’t I called within the first 2 business days to either confirm a mistake and submit different text or to be notified that my order was cancelled for a pre-arranged reason.  I totally understand policies where they would not want their company logo on the same text as something vulgar or racist.

Problem #6:  There was no “appeal” process for me to go “wait a minute, Dollins is our last name and not a company.  We do not violate the terms of use.”  I was not even offered a chance to change the message.

I finally got too frustrated to talk and asked that they just cancel my order.  We wouldn’t have gotten the markers in time anyways, and I have much more interesting things to be pissed off about.

Problem #7:  The customer was allowed to hang up angry after canceling an order.  Ouch.  When AllState took some Scientology business course and started allowing customers to cancel without the company grovelling to make it better, they lost (I believe the number is) $3 million dollars worth of revenue in ONE YEAR.  Why was I not told that they’d do everything they could to get the markers here in time and hey, let us throw in another half dozen for free to show how sorry we are?

Then, I received THREE promotional emails from Sharpie.com about how I should order their personalized Sharpies to give to my dad for Father’s Day.

Problem #8:  Sharpies should come with a happy Xanax scent.

Fast forward to today.  I still did not have a confirmation that the order was canceled.  I called the number again, got happily transferred again, and talked to the same customer service agent AGAIN.  She recognized my name which left me with the impression that I was the only person dumb enough to actually call their customer service center.  She told me that it had been canceled because it had never been started (implication that they never intended to fill it anyways) and that my credit card had not been billed (but I assume they have THAT somewhere on file in some database where some hacker can get to it.)  I asked for this is writing and she told me that someone would type one up and send it to me.  At this point, I asked for a manager or supervisor or director or SOMEONE who would tell me something useful instead of “I’m sorry for your inconvenience.”  (imply: I’m sorry you interrupted me filing my nails, you stupid bitch.)  I asked that I be removed from the email list and I was told that was another division and it could take several days for the request to go through.

Problem #9:  Their account management system does not have a preset confirmation for cancellations.

Problem #10:  My requests to speak to the powers that be were ignored.

Problem #11:  I still won’t have any stupid Sharpie markers for my kids’ adoption party.

Problem #12:  I do not want apologies!  I want actions!

An hour later, I receive an obviously non-form letter email from someone at this “division” that includes a link to a satisfaction survey that I AM NOT ELIGIBLE TO COMPLETE!

Oh. My. Goodness.

Now, if you don’t know me and don’t know my history – the job I left to be a stay at home mom was as an Operations Analyst at a very large dotcom.  Before that, I coordinated the production department.  Before that, I worked in order fulfillment.  We turned $4million dollars in revenue a month.  I know how this should work.  I helped design the computer systems we used.  I know this, I know this, I know this.

And I see one of my favorite products failing at this and I’m not gonna let it happen.  I’m e-mailing everyone I can find who is associated with this company this blog entry .  I’m doing it for free.  If they want to call me at home while I’m doing dishes or putting the kids down for nap, I’ll tell them how it works and how to organize themselves.

Then, they can create an email segment for spam and fraud listings with an auto-reply that sends a “we think you’re violating the TOS” email with a promise that a real human being will look at the order and call them within 72 hours if the reasons are dubious.  If its obvious asshattery, this real live human can send it to the delete file where another email will be sent to the order-er that says they were deleted for TOS violations.

THEN, they can create a TOS with spelled out “what’s not cool.”  Do not use curse words.  Do not be racist.  Do not reference eBaum’s world.  Do not ask for a custom clip art man with a fro and the words “pool’s closed.”  Ya know?  I know they get fraudulent orders – I’ve actually read about some online.  There has to be a system to deal with those, otherwise, the good customers with good money like me are going to get treated like criminals.  (Another entry is when I was denied to open a pet social networking account because my black cat is named Spooky and that’s a racial term.)

So, Sharpie, I’m not going to boycott you because your product rocks.  Please fix your customer service, though.  Please!  It sucks!

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6 responses

24 06 2009
M.

Did they ever reply to you? I HAVE to know! If there is anything I hate, its poor customer service for no good reason.

24 06 2009
Cyndi

Yes, after I sent the post to every email address I could find on the internet, I received a phone call from their PR department. They were able to get the sharpies made and delivered within 24 hours.

Hopefully they took this post to heart and fixed the customer service nightmare I experienced. Sometimes all it takes is one voice to initiate change. If you decide to order with them, let me know how your experience goes. I’d like to know!

30 06 2009
M.

thanks for the info…I wish I had an excuse to buy personalizes sharpies! but alas…

30 06 2009
M.

oh, congrats on your adoptions! I just read and caught up on your story the other day. congrats, congrats, congrats!

15 07 2009
bioephemera

uh oh, I just ordered from them. I hope your firm criticism changed their ways, so I get my order! Nervous now. . . (it’s a present)

3 09 2009
Bill Bartmann

Cool site, love the info.

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