Monday, September 18, 2006

Stop me, oh, stop me,
stop me if you think that you've heard this one before
Seriously, if you are getting sick of hearing about my Office Depot battles, just tell me to STFU already. But if not, here's the update.
After leaving two voicemail message for Tim Collins, who is the manager of the District 73 regional office and supervisor of the infamous Pete Burns, and receiving no reply, I indicated that I would be taking further action.
So today I sent off an email to:
-David Fannin, Executive Vice President and General Council
-Robert Brewer, Senior Vice President and Chief Compliance Officer
-Ray Tharpe, Investor Relations
-Media Relations
-Community Relations
- cc'd the nice fellow at Customer Care, who actually answered me on September 1
Here's a bit of what I said:

I would like to bring to your attention the fact that I have experienced a serious breech of customer service from Office Depot and unfortunately, despite repeated efforts on my part to bring closure to this situation, I have yet to receive satisfaction.

I have detailed my experiences below, and I will say that I did receive a prompt response from Anthony Thomas at E-Commerce Technical Support, as well as a phone call the following day from Tim Collins at the District 73 Regional Office, which were greatly appreciated and gave me false hope for a timely and satisfactory conclusion. However, since my initial contact with Tim Collins on September 2, 2006, I have received no further action from anyone at Office Depot, despite repeated messages left for Mr Collins.

The unfortunate fact remains that I have spent $235.38 for a wireless router and USB adapter which are unusable (and thereby faulty) and have been forced to make all subsequent office purchases (an estimated $2400 for personal use alone) from other companies.

I am distressed by the bad business practices demonstrated by Office Depot, who seem to be taking an adversarial approach toward the merchant/customer relationship, and feel that unless I receive satisfaction in the form of a full refund for this merchandise, I will be obligated to contact, among others, the Director of Materials Management at the University of Calgary, where I am employed. Since I have made numerous purchases from Office Depot in the past on behalf of the University of Calgary, it will be my duty to ensure that, as Calgary's fourth largest employer, they are aware of the failure of customer service that can be expected when dealing with Office Depot, that they may instruct their employees to conduct their business elsewhere. The University of Calgary takes very seriously the quality of customer service they receive and continuously monitor and evaluate business practices of companies with whom the Department of Materials Management or any employees may deal, in order to identify problems.

I look forward to being contacted very shortly by a representative of Office Depot and to a full refund of my purchase.
I'll give them a few days to respond and then make good on my promise.
After that ... the media.
I've got to give a big shout out to my buddy, GOB, the Jim Rockford of the corporate culture / internet-searching world.
GOB, thanks for all the great info - you da MAN!


Deb said...

I hear the Rockford theme song now.

Way to go Barbara....very well written and will be hard to ignore that. I'm sure you'll get a prompt response now, I'd be completely surprised if not.

The more "we" (the little guys) speak up for ourselves and take on these big companies who have the audacity to ignore us as paying customers, the more they'll inevitably have to start listening.

Either that or we start using megaphones out in their parking lots, right?!

Will said...

Very eloquent, yet too the damn point ... very politely saying, "Get off your asses and get some shit done." I like that ... I may enlist your help with a letter the next time I have a customer service gripe.

Anonymous said...

Good work. If you don't get your refund I'll be looking for you on the news!

mellowlee said...

Go Barbara! I was wondering what was going on there.

hilary m. said...

Although I like the Smiths quote, I find your awesome *ahem* pwn@ge of office depot very interesting.

Good fer you, I secretly hope that you get to the point of contacting the media, cause the assholes have no right ignoring you after they've just ripped you off.

Anonymous said...

Go Barbara!

I am NO Rockford...I simply cannot stand to see another huge corporation hide behind some nebulous "company policy" in order to disavow their obligation to thier customers.

...especially when that customer is a friend.

You've hit it right on the nose, Barb. "Adversarial relationship" indeed.

Great letter! Kick low - it's the only langauge the middle-management suck-ups understand.


Alana Elliott said...

Oh man, I can't believe they're still being total anuses over that! *shakes head* Seriously, I'm so proud of you for your relentless demand, most people would have given up and shrugged it off by this point, it's great that you're so adamant about it. I've been curious as to what's been happening with it, I'm waiting on the I GOT MY MONEY BACK word. You should throw this raging "Bash Home Depot Bash" when it happens. :P

Allison said...

I almost wish there was an Office Depot in Kingston, just so I could boycott...I do in spirit.
Your email was to the point and I hope it produces some results.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I feel like Norma Rae! But it would be more fun to be Jim Rockford.
Honestly, I had considered the megaphone in the parking lot method, Deb. When I left the store after the initial encounter, I told everyone who looked like they might be entering the store to be very cautious if they were planning to buy anything, as they had terrible customer service. Most people thanked me, but they could have just been acting polite.

Get some shit done, indeed, Will, I'm glad the takehome message came through on that. I would be honoured to fight the good fight with you, if the need ever arises. Just holler.

Thanks Monica, although I hope you don't mean you expect to see me on the top of the water tower with a deer rifle haha. (oops, too soon?)

It's still going on, Mel, which is my biggest excuse for not having finished your cds hahaha. This week!

I figured you'd like the Smiths' quote, Hilary. They really are suitable for all occasions, aren't they?
Did I really pwn them? Yay!
The media-contacting is getting closer all the time, and frankly Mr Shankly, I'm pretty pumped.

I'm glad you liked the term "adversarial relationship", GOB, because I completely stole it from you! You are a great friend to have at my back and I can steal powerful phrases from you to boot.

I don't know which made me howl more, Alana - "anuses" or "Bash Office Depot Bash". Aww they're both great.
The weird thing is, I'm generally pretty easy going, but you know what they say about when you push an Amiable over the edge...

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I am feeling the spirit, Allison. And it's telling me to carry on. Hallelujah. oops, got a little carried away there.

hilary m. said...

You'll go down in celluloid history!!!


karen said...

Excellent work. Perfectly pitched letter. Wishing you lots and lots of luck (but also secretly hoping you are forced to go to the media!) I too hear the Rockford theme tune but it keeps morphing into Quincy...

loring said...

wow. you didn't swear or anything. i'm impressed.

Will said...

Great letter Barbara. You deserve a positive response for that. Now lets see if they get their ass in gear.

Karen said...

Holy Shit! My McDonalds letter pales in comparison! That is awesome Barbara. You were direct, to the point, and unemotional. Excellent job. Good on you for sending it to the very high mucky-mucks as well as cc'ing the guy who actually got back to you from the customer care dept (at least he sort of did his job unlike the other nimrods) and for letting the media person know that they should expect some very unpleasant contact from the media. I also liked your mention of the UofC being the 4th biggest city employer, that'll make a HUGE dent in their bottom line if the university decides to pull their business! No need for a STFU! I'm totally behind you.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

No no, Hilary, I think it's cellulite history in which I will go down.

Quincy, now there's another guy you don't mess with. Thanks for the reminder, Kees, that will keep me pumped. And I may need to borrow your new boots if I end up on tv.

Hi Loring, welcome! I'm saving all the choice curse words for yelling at them out loud as I type.

Thanks, Ben - we shall see, we shall see. Otherwise, in the words of Bugs Bunny, "of course you know this means war".

Thanks Karen! The action would be more powerful if Office Depot was actually one of the university's systems contractors, but alas they are not. Still though, they don't need that kind of publicity.
I thought it was only fair to mention when I did get customer care from individuals, as that is ultimately what this is all about.
btw your McD's letter was great! Any response yet?

Karen said...

Nope, no response. I faxed it off but didn't include a return fax (I was at work...) and didn't include my phone number. If they respond, and that's a big IF, it will have to be by mail.

Please make sure you keep us all updated on whatever progress is made on the Office Despot front. I'll make another mention of your fight against their tyrannical ways on my blog as well.

Neil said...

for fuck's sake. Just STFU already!!!!


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks Karen! You better hear back from that creepy pedophile clown, is all I'm going to say.

HAHAHAHA Neil!!! I guess I asked for that, didn't I?

Anonymous said...

I have won a small battle in my little fight against Arby's. Its not much but its a start against the horrible service standards in Alberta now because of this boom. I went with my friend to Arby's down town and it was 5:50. Since I don't eat red meat I asked for a chicken sandwich and the cashier informed me that it was too close to closing time and that it would take 4 minutes to cook and told me to order something else. I said no thanks and stood there for over 7 minute waiting for my friend's food. So I went online and filed a complaint. Today I got a call from the Manager of that Arby's apologizing to me and hes sending me a voucher for free food! It wasn't about the food. I was mad at the way they treated me. So that's my small battle. I hope that gives you some inspiration and everyone else to not put up with being treated like crap by people working in the service industry!

Barbara said...

I am curious how far this has to go before you win. The fact that you might be a 'guest' on cbc again because of this... well that is interesting.

Speaking of special guests...
The new post on our other blog is up and I am running around letting people know to go check it out...
I am sure there is a link on your sidebar to the Stroumboulopouli.

Serah said...

You should get some kind of positive response back. I know that anytime anyone has a complaint to our customer service, the customer tends to get some sort of response.(there have been two, and yes one did involve me...and showing a woman that my socks get pilled too!)
Examples: being sent an entirely new set of socks. (I learnt my lesson there!) and personal letters from management and an extension of the employee discount.
I see you getting ur money back and a nice fat gift certificate in your future.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks for sharing your tale of your dealings with Arby's, Monica. I think that Karen will be interested in reading this as well, as she is going through a similar issue with McDonald's.
That is so great to hear and yes it certainly does give me renewed vigour. Good for you!

This thing certainly does seem to be taking on a life of its own, doesn't it, Barbara W? I am prepared to go on the CBC if need be to see this through, but hopefully it won't come that.

Things happen sometimes in retail that need to be addressed, and I guess that's why they have customer service, Sarah. Anyone can accept that people sometimes make mistakes. But with your company, these things were addressed. So far Office Depot seems to be saying fuck you.
Interesting attitude toward the customer.

Anonymous said...

Look at all this love, I suddenly wanna be a hippie. :D

Power to the people! Stick 'em where they're closeted, Barbara.

Yeah, GOB's a great consumer crusader. It's almost frightening, heh.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

You would be so much fun to hang out in a commune with Michelle! Growing crops, baking bread, making wine. Let's do it! Let's be hippies!

And GOB of course would be the communal crusader...

Karen said...

Awwwww, let the love fest begin (searches for her beads and birkenstocks...).

Monica, glad to hear that you won your battle with Arbys. Just remember that sometimes it's those small battles that win the war (they certainly add up!).

Barbara B? What's this about it possibly being your 2nd appearance on CBC????? When was the first one? How did I miss it...

As for the Stomb...i site, I haven't been there for a while. I'm going to head over there now and check it out.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I thought you would be happy to hear about Monica's victory over Arby's, Karen. That's heartening, isn't it?

The CBC appearance? Well I've been to a taping of the Hour, but never actually appeared on tv. The Nature of Things did a show on our stroke program once, but I got editted out. Oh I know, I'll bet Barbara W is referring to the radio interview I had with the Arts reporter. It's linked on my sidebar if you are interested in listening. It's about 5 minutes long.
I wish I had some Birkenstocks.

Anonymous said...

Jeez, Barb…you were almost on The Nature of Things? That is really incredible. David Suzuki is really, amazingly cool. Can we invite him to be a part of the Commune?

I regret that I will need to turn down the position of Commune Crusader. I wish to maintain my amateur status in hopes that Synchronized Consumers with Issues is made an exhibition sport for the Olympics. I cannot be the Commune Bastard…that would be too easy. How about Jester, I’d like to apply for that.

Living off the land! Growing our own socks! Milking the trees! Plowing the goats! Mining for Whiskey. I cannot wait for the french fry vines to begin blooming.


Anonymous said...

Make wine, make bread, make love. That almost sounds Christian. ALMOST, heh.

karen, beads 'n birks?!?


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Michelle, GOB and Karen - so it's settled then. We'll get the land, set up a training course for GOB's Olympic endeavour, but in the meanwhile GOB will be the Jester. Or maybe you should be the joker, GOB (cue the Steve Miller tunes). Karen will supply us with birkenstocks and beads, Michelle will bake bread, make wine, and whatever else she feels like making.
I'll do the dishes or something.

Stephanie said...

Holy crap you are my HERO

Anonymous said...

...some call me the gangster of love.

Maurice (GOB)

Barbara Bruederlin said...

swww garsh, Stephanie, I don't know nothing bout bein no hero, but thanks!

GOB - HAHAHAHAHA, some people will call you Maurice now.

Anonymous said...

oh oh oh, I'll take lots of pictures like Dennis Hopper in Apocalypse Now! Yeah! I can also knit & crochet, I'll make us all Rasta tams!

I think I'm ready to convert, your plan is a go in my life plan Barbara.

I forgot to mention, I do speak the pompitous of love. Maybe that'll help.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Oh yes, Michelle! I am so there. I would love to wear a chelle-made rasta tam, and maybe you could also teach "pompitous of love as a second language" classes.