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Thread: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

  1. Default Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Background: my cousin is getting married next weekend, and I wanted to have some nicer labels than what I have now to put on the mead that I'm giving him. I ordered PVC seals, bottle wax, and labels (among other things) from http://www.beer-wine.com, 2nd day air shipping so that I would have everything in time, be able to whip up a label design on my computer and print a few out to see what I like on the bottle. The website didn't say the labels were backordered. The website also said "indicate what color you want on the comments field of the order form." The order form had no comments field, so I emailed the sales department right after I placed the order to let them know I wanted white, if it was available. No answer. The box came, to my horror, without the one thing that I was most interested in having: the bottle labels. A note on the invoice said "BACK ORDER will ship separately (UPS Ground) when in stock." This unacceptable--by UPS ground, it will get here long after the wedding. So I called to complain.

    Customer Service Rep: "Beer and wine hobby, how can I help you?"

    Me: "I have a complaint about a recent order"

    Rep: "Certainly, what can we help you with?"

    Me: "I ordered a bunch of bottle finishing supplies last week, express shipping, including a package of label paper, and it all came just fine, except for the label paper, and there was a note saying the label paper is backordered. And it says that when the label paper comes in stock, it will be shipped UPS ground. Now, I didn't pay for two-day air shipping because I want this someday"

    Rep: "Well, I can change that for you so that it will ship second-day air when it comes in" (so far, so good)

    Me: "Well, when will it come in."

    Rep: "We don't know" (are you kidding me?)

    Me: "Well, don't you think it would have been useful for me to know that when you ordered, to have a notation on your website that the product is out of stock, like your competitors do?"

    Rep: "Sir, we have literally thousands of items for sale on our website, and for security reasons we just can't connect that to our inventory database." (Making excuses, never good)

    Me: "Forget about it, just cancel the label paper" (Oh look, you just lost a customer)

    ==========

    Things that a customer service person could do better:

    1) Apologize for your screw-ups.
    2) Don't make excuses
    3) Don't say it's impossible to do something that all of your competition does, and that online merchants have been doing for years, just because your inventory is SOOOO HUGE.
    4) Answer your customers' emails
    5) When somebody places an express order for something that's out of stock, and you have their phone number, call to let them know!
    6) Offer an alternative product that you can get to the customer in a timely manner

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Along with the devolution of spelling and grammar has come the deterioration of customer service. My negative experience with St. Pat's (along with a growing list of others) and your experience with beer-wine are pretty much illustrative of bad business and poor customer service run amok.

    Best thing to do is to write a letter to them, and a letter to your local consumer affairs department and better business bureau. Of course you can always make flyers and pass them out at a large industry event like someone I know once did. I't kind of an F.U. to the company when they come out to their car and see a flyer on it slamming them and their service on bright day-glo, can't miss at a thousand yards lime-green paper. And then realize that all the rest of the cars in the parking lot have the same flyer on their windshield.

    Cheers,

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  3. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Holy God, that is a great idea. Let's take it one step further... Do it at their store! That'll show 'em.

    I was in retail as a young man, and I never, ever acted that way to a customer. I'm telling you, society is falling apart. At the seams. I sound (much, much) older than I actually am, but these kids... (I am shaking my fist/cane in the air, my brow furrowed.)

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Part of the problem is what we value in society. Unfortunately as Wal-Mart has proven that is low prices. When I was I child if you had a problem at the local hardware store, you talked to the owner. The woman that took care of customer service at the 5 and dime (I'm dating myself, I know) was there from my earliest memories till after I finished college, this was her career. K-Mart and Wal-Mart have run all of those businesses out business. Now your tech support is usually paid barely over minimum wage, if that. They either don’t have the skills and/or education for a higher paid job, or they are kids that are there just long enough to start figuring out what is going on and then move on to a better paying job.

    We all shop the Internet looking for the best prices we can, so the distributor has to cut corners to be competitive and this is one place that they do it. My sister lives in the small town in New Mexico where I grew up. Yesterday she was complaining how all the supermarkets but one have closed since Wal-Mart moved in. She now has to drive 80 miles to the next town once a month to go shopping. However she loves Wal-Mart because it is cheap.

    So next time, if you have that luxury, go to your local homebrew shop where you can get to know the owner, or buy from a reputable distributor who you know values good service, even if it means paying a bit more. We as customers have the ability to change this pattern, if we would just be willing to pay for the level of customer serve we claim to want.

    Off my soap box,


    Cheers
    Jay


  5. #5
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    I feel that the lack of manners is more the problem with poor customer service these days. Young people are just not brought up to respect anyone, whether they are the parents or strangers. When was the last time someone held a door open for you? Manners are then not taught to the young people who deal with customers.

    Angus

    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  6. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Quote Originally Posted by JayH
    So next time, if you have that luxury, go to your local homebrew shop where you can get to know the owner, or buy from a reputable distributor who you know values good service, even if it means paying a bit more. We as customers have the ability to change this pattern, if we would just be willing to pay for the level of customer serve we claim to want.
    I used to buy all of my supplies from the LHBS, until my car died and made it largely inaccessible to me. Ithaca isn't the sort of city where you absolutely need a car, but that is one thing it took away from me. That, and access to the woods. If all goes well, I'll have a new(er) car in the next few weeks and the problem will be solved.

    Even if I did have a car, though, my LHBS doesn't carry labels and they don't do rush special orders (which I don't fault them for, because they don't claim or pretend to), so I probalby still would have been mail-ordering this one.

  7. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Jay, I couldn't agree more. Well, except for that whole free market economy thing. If you want people to pay extra for something, then they must feel that there is "value-added," to borrow yet another yuppie-coined term.

    I have a local feller here that I drive WAY out of my way to go see and get my junk from. Other day, I drive WAY out of my way to go up there, and he's closed. I found another, closer place on the online yellow pages, so I head over there. Better prices, and since I was carrying my one-year-old with me, the young man (!) at the counter actually BAGGED MY STUFF AND CARRIED IT TO THE CAR. You could have knocked me over with a damn feather.

    Will I go back there? You bet. I'll still go see Claude, but he's going to have to share me, now...

    ANGUS

    Blame that one on the yuppies. They won't spank their kids. I could go on a rant, but I won't. Suffice it to say that I believe there is a DIRECT correlation between discipline and respect, and that the bulk of today's yuppie offspring are lacking in both.

    CHIA

    Ithaca, eh? My favorite 20 gauge came from there...

  8. #8

    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Quote Originally Posted by DeltOgre
    Blame that one on the yuppies. They won't spank their kids. I could go on a rant, but I won't. Suffice it to say that I believe there is a DIRECT correlation between discipline and respect, and that the bulk of today's yuppie offspring are lacking in both.
    There are a lot of liberals who won't either, the difference I think would be that liberals tend to raise their kids to be more tolerant and accepting. Not that this doesn't cause problems as well.

    Wrathwilde

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    ::sigh::

    I am a yuppie, and some would call me a liberal. DeltOgre, you're relatively new here, so just be aware, you're sitting on a Hot Button right now. Put down the labeling, back away from the tarring, and no one will get hurt. Wrath, you know better.

    I don't spank, and never needed to. I punish by withdrawing priviledges (toys and such when she was young, and access to car/horse/stereo/computer/etc. now).

    Anyone who has met my daughter will tell you she is polite, respectful, articulate, smart and clean. She has the maturity of someone twice her age of 14 (more than some of my friends, truth be told), and she is a model guest when she visits or stays over with friends. She is tolerant and color-blind, doesn't condemn people for their race, creed, religion, sexual preference or the way they wear their hair.

    Don't start on the liberal/conservative thing, you'll get me off on a rant about the intolerant doofuses that cherry-pick from the Old Testament to justify their twisted sense of what is 'right'. My answer to that crap is 'can I now stone you because you ate pork last week?'.

    That is just *one* of the gazillion gripes I have with narrow-minded, intolerant, self-serving people who can't look beyond their own noses or self-interest and tend to label everyone as less than them. They aren't 'liberals' or 'conservatives' or 'yuppies' or *anything*. Call them what they are: assholes. *That* is a label I will allow. But stay *away* from the whole liberal/conservative thing, or you'll see my ire. I refuse to let that left/right crap pollute my forum.

    In short, guys, drop the labels and tarring entire groups of people with the same brush. Because according to your labels, I'm one of the people you speak of. Sure you want to keep on this line?

    Vicky - most politicians are immoral self-serving crooks, and those who blindly follow party lines are fools - I've told my hubbie that often enough (so much so that he's actually questioning his past blind party adherance)
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Bravo and well said Vicky.

    Teaching your child manners is so important for our society. Our 19 year old was brought up to respect others, and to be polite. And, like your daughter, she projects a maturity far in advance of her classmates and most other 19 year olds I have met.

    And you are correct. I did use too broad a brush with my statement. I should have said "a lot of young people", since there are many parents out there who are raising polite and considerate children. Sorry about that.

    Angus
    Chan fhíach cuírm gun a còmhradh

    A feast is no use without good talk.

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    As my dear old mom used to always tell us,
    "Courtesy is the oil that allows the wheels of society to turn."


    Cheers
    Jay

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    It's interesting about kids and the way they behave. Mostly I've seen that the childrens' behavior pretty much mirrors the parent's. So I know if someone's a complete jaggoff their children will probably be acting pretty much the same way. There are exceptions of course, but it's pretty much that way in the crowds I hang with.

    Delt, ya'll need to take a step back from the "Yuppie" thing. I'm a full blown yuppie, and the generalizations don't fit . . . at all.

    GIT AAA LONG

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  13. #13
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Here are the ones I live by:

    ================================================== =========
    "Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."

    "A long and wicked life followed by five minutes of perfect grace gets you into Heaven. An equally long life of decent living and good works followed by one outburst of taking the name of the Lord in vain - then have a heart attack at that moment and be damned for eternity. Is that the system?"

    "A society that gets rid of all its troublemakers goes downhill."

    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when one may have to back up his acts with his life."

    "Anyone who considers protocol unimportant has never dealt with a cat."

    "Don't ever become a pessimist... a pessimist is correct oftener than an optimist, but an optimist has more fun, and neither can stop the march of events."

    "Don't handicap your children by making their lives easy."

    "Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done."

    "For me, politeness is a sine qua non of civilization."

    "I am free, no matter what rules surround me. If I find them tolerable, I tolerate them; if I find them too obnoxious, I break them. I am free because I know that I alone am morally responsible for everything I do."

    "A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity."

    "Be wary of strong drink. It can make you shoot at tax collectors... and miss."

    "It is a truism that almost any sect, cult, or religion will legislate its creed into law if it acquires the political power to do so. "

    "When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives. "

    "You can have peace. Or you can have freedom. Don't ever count on having both at once."
    ================================================== =

    ....Some of you may recognize these as being from R.A. Heinlein, possibly one of the most insightful people of the 20th century, IMHO. His words shaped my views during my teen years, and continue to provide sanity checks today.


    Vicky - student of life, who wants to be a Long when she grows up....
    Wassail!

    Vicky Rowe
    Owner & Webmistress, Gotmead.com
    Executive Director, American Mead Makers Association
    http://www.mead-makers.org
    Making Mead since 1995

  14. #14

    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicky - GM Webmistress
    Vicky - student of life, who wants to be a Long when she grows up....
    I'll settle for a Loong. [Hi Miriam!]

    Nice quotes Vickie -- worth keeping around.

    I'm also a non-spanker. Never had to, and so far so good. Haven't gotten to the teen years yet so I'm crossing my fingers.
    <><><><><><><><><><>
    <><><><><><><><>
    Dan McFeeley

    "Meon an phobail a thogail trid an chultur"
    (The people's spirit is raised through culture)

  15. #15
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    Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    I grok.

    I find all I need to know about politics, religion, philosophy, etc. here. I'm sure you'll see what I mean.

    Oskaar
    Is it tasty . . . precious?

  16. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Holy cow!

    Wow, I really wish I had picked this up a while back... I have some crow to eat, and that's a dish best served fresh, to paraphrase...

    Vicky, I apologize for the "Liberal" and "Yuppie" labels. I happen to be a pretty middle of the road kind of guy, so people at both ends of the spectrum tend to get me worked up. And I'm with you; tolerance and polite manners are paramount to the good function of society. Unfortunately, at least where I'm standing, that's all crumbling, and in a hurry, at that!

    You are definitely right about labeling people. It's never useful, and it's never nice. I'm not a tar-and-featherer... I promise.

    Around here, most of the people who actually DO fall into the people group "assholes," of which I was briefly one, until you pointed it out... we're all capable... fall into the category of "yuppie," and that doesn't mean that ALL yuppies are assholes. I know that, and I misspoke... Again, all apologies...

    In a certain suburb of Cow-Lumbers, here, there are more assholes than one would ever know what to do with. They seriously all seem to be concentrated in one area. I can't explain it, but you would know if you went there... Anyways...

    SO, that crow being sufficiently eaten, it bears mentioning that I do believe in corporal punishment, administered only when necessary. Vickie, you obviously lucked out and got a decent kid who didn't need it. I got one who, let's face it, acts like I did when I didn't know better. He'll need it. I promise.

    And again, you are quite right when you mention the fact that most kids mirror their parents' actions, and we do, in fact, see that ALL THE TIME. Around here, that mostly translates into kids looking down their noses at people who deserve their respect, generally because their parents do the same thing... Those people, at least around here, tend to fall into that "category that I shall not mention again." Again, I mean this only as a means of explanation, and not as the prior "wide brush stroke" which I used ignorantly and without heeding the possibility of offense.

    SO, what I meant to say, and as a final means of clarifying my position and as a careful and somewhat apologetic vehicle, is that the ASSHOLES that don't LIVE BY GOOD EXAMPLE and TEACH THEIR CHILDREN WELL (Thanks, David Crosby...) are the reason that this society is crumbling around us... And those people fall into ALL people groups.

    Lesson learned. Sorry.

    I hope that helps...

    Oh, and it should be mentioned that if you've ever heard of mead, renaissance fairs, or the SCA, then you DEFINITELY DO NOT fall into the "yuppie" category that I mentioned before. You may be a yuppie where you come from, but you wouldn't be, here... I had in mind a very specific type of person who lives in a certain suburb of Cow-Lumbers. Not that that makes what I said "right" by any stretch of the imagination... just wanted to clarify. Things are definitely a bit "different" around here.

  17. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Quote Originally Posted by Vicky - GM Webmistress
    I am a yuppie, and some would call me a liberal. DeltOgre, you're relatively new here, so just be aware, you're sitting on a Hot Button right now. Put down the labeling, back away from the tarring, and no one will get hurt. Wrath, you know better.
    Hi everyone!
    I am Muirghein Tarot's wifey. Vicky.. I have to say that there are good yuppies and bad yuppies.. Just like in the Wizard of Oz ("Are you a good witch or a bad witch?"). You are a good yuppie.

    I got tired of my hubby reading these posts to me and me not being able to reply and he wont type what I say. LOL so had to sign on myself.

    Teren von der Morgenstern
    aka the Valkyrie
    aka the misplaced gypsy

  18. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Having re-re-re-re-contemplated all I said, before, I felt the need to further qualify my position on child-rearing...

    For argument's sake, let's say that 20 years ago, when "everyone" was okay with corporal punishment (Extremes only for the sake of argument...), then those children who would not respond to "groundings" and the like would get the quick swat on the butt, and they would then understand that what they did was wrong. Vicky, your daughter would not have needed that, since she does, in fact, respond to the grounding sort of discipline.

    As a result, the bulk of people out there (Switching gears back to "real life" results...) were courteous and polite to others. Those that did respond to groundings were okay, and those that did not were, too. For the most part, anyways...

    FLASH TO TODAY. We have now, as a society, taken things a little too far. VERY few people believe in corporal punishment, nowadays, and the results are that those children who do respond to groundings are okay, but those that do not are not. I have a hard time believing that a good swat on the sitter isn't called for when I hear the mom at the store saying "No, honey... no... no... no..." and the child screaming in return with no discernible response, whatsoever.

    All I can say is that I needed my (once) little butt whipped on a few occasions. I got it, and I've turned out just fine...

    I do think that all the little pricks out there were basically ignored in the discipline department, altogether, by their parents. Show any one of them the least little bit of authority, and they'll respond to it... And no, I don't mean for everyone to go around swatting people on the behind, although I'm relatively certain that there are some out there who could use it...

    I guess the message is that discipline is needed, now more than ever before. Whatever your style, just so long as it isn't "complete pushover." Do it. Too many people, at least around my nape of the neck, are completely controlled by their kids.

    It's a crying shame...

    I also got to thinking about the whole diatribe about "yuppie," and again, I apologize for my use of that word, in particular, but again, I would reiterate that my particular usage of "yuppie" does not, in any way, reflect what you have self-applied. (I'm looking at you, Vickie, and Oskaar.) Just from what I've read, here, about you, Vickie, you DEFINITELY don't fall into my personal vision of "yup-dom," and I've actually spoken with Oskaar, and I know for a FACT that you don't, either. Granted, I don't know either of you personally, but you just don't seem to fit into my personal scheme of "yup."

    Anyways, that's more of a "my problem/opinion" type of thing than anything else... I've just given that sort of term to a certain level of negativity, more based on my present geographical location than anything else.

  19. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    I was born and raised in Alabama. I was raised politely and respectfully. My dad did the physical punishment while my mom did the grounding. I can remember when my dad would tell me that it was time for me to go outside and get a switch. Note that this was only when I had dome something wrong. (Not once did my dad ever abuse me.) He would swat me five times and then explain to me why he spanked me and then he would hug me and dry my tears and that would be that. I use to get my face slapped (not hard) when I didn’t say yes sir/no sir or yes ma'am/no ma'am.

    One time, I got into a fight at school. I was in fifth grade and actually I didn’t start it and I didn’t finish it either. This girl shoved me down the stairs and then started hitting on me because of a disagreement. I asked my mom "why didn’t you whip her". I got detention and so did the other girl.

    When I got home my mom told my dad what happened. He got his belt and spanked me three times.. One was for getting into the fight, one was for not fighting back and the last was for not finishing the fight. At the end, he sat me in his lap and asked me why I didn’t hit her back. "My arms were full of books and I didn’t want to get in trouble for fighting" then he told me that NEVER take any crap off of anyone. Well I turned rebellious after that because I ended up thinking that meant not to take it from my parents either.

    My whole point to this story is that when me and Muirghien have children, I will raise them with spankings and with groundings. If they are not polite then I will correct them.

    This whole thing with people telling kids that if their parents "Beat" them that they need to call 911 or tell someone is (in my opinion) ridiculous. YES some people do take punishment to the extremes but when people tell kids that they need to tell when they are "beatin" needs to make sure that the child understands what "abuse" means.

    I look around our neighborhood and see kids just running rampant and it all boils down to the parents not caring where their kids are. As long as the kid(s) aren't bothering them, why should it matter? This is not the way to see things. Parents should see to their kids. Talk to their kids and care to know who, what, where, when and how they are instead of depending upon the police to drag them in. This world would be a lot better place if kids were taught "respect". All it takes is common sense.

    Okay. I have probably stepped on toes or repeated what others have said so I will end this post here.

    Teren

  20. Default Re: Bad customer service--www.beer-wine.com

    Teren, nice making your acquaintance... And well put, that which you said about the good yups and the bad ones... I wasn't very clear at first, and it seemed that I was being all inclusive. I hope everyone knows that I'm not a people-hater... That's not what I meant, at all.

    Switches... Never had to go get one, thank God, but I've heard some tales. I was never abused, either, but I got some (well deserved) spankings, for sure.

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