Looney Labs Rabbits Mailing list Archive

Re: [Rabbits] *sigh*

  • FromMarnen Laibow-Koser <marnen@xxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateFri, 6 Jul 2007 10:24:25 -0700
On Jul 6, 2007, at 9:40 AM, David Artman wrote:

ep, me, too. Now I get to figure out if/when they're going to remove the hold on my card.

I call "corporate scum" on this BS.

I agree that it really sucks. However, I'm not quite ready to call "corporate scum" with you, for reasons explained below.

There is NO excuse for a company the size of Toys R Us to have a warehouse management and fulfillment system that's unaware of stock levels,

In principle, I agree. However, I have some experience in the area of warehouse automation, and I know that things are not always as cut- and-dried as would be nice. (I see from your later message that you also have experience in this area; the fact that our experiences are so different may point to the crux of the matter here.)

or an online system that shows unavailable items in a product search.

This I completely disagree with. I actually find it *helpful* to see unavailable items in a search -- sort of "we don't have it in stock right now, but we usually carry it, so check again later". Perhaps it should be a user preference.

The possible excuse that "well, they MIGHT be at a store in your area" is a very thin one, in my opinion (and if that's the notion, then why not let me specify my Zip Code so that I am only shown things that are AT LEAST available in a local store, if not also online?!?).

Depending on the nature of TRU's inventory system, they might not be able to know store inventories with the degree of certainty required for such a thing to work.

It is tantamount to false advertising,

Maybe. I do not think that advertising a product when it isn't currently in stock is automatically a reprehensible thing.

and worse, I have now given them a bunch of personal information for NOTHING in return (except future spam mail, I am sure); and I notice that I'm not offered a chance to now Disagree with their Terms of Service and, thereby, blast myself out of their systems.

Of course you are. They may not have offered it directly, but the ToS and privacy policy should have instructions on how to terminate the agreement.

Anyway, how does the fact that they cancelled your order change anything here? After all, in that case, they also have all your info -- which you gave them voluntarily.

This is a classic bait and switch ta ctic that should have been illegal (as false advertising) since snake oil and automobile undercoating was "invented."

It is nothing of the kind. If it were a bait-and-switch, then you would have been offered a similar, but probably more expensive, product. In this case, they just said "oops, we goofed. We don't have in stock what we thought we did, so you get your money back."

I think it's idle to attribute any sort of conspiratorial motives to TRU here; after all, *they* don't benefit from a cancelled order any more than *you* do.

If *I* were a product producer, this would at least prompt me to contact their purchasing director and ask what reparations they have planned--guaranteeing the price when restocked is a good start.

Reparations? For what? If anything, what TRU has done has *raised* awareness of LL products. Your approach would have had all the LL products invisible while they were out of stock, and no one would have heard of them.

That said, I agree that LL should be demanding a good explanation from TRU for what happened and why.

There are laws governing mandatory issuance of rain-checks for out-of- stock items during discount sales. They may apply in this case.

Depending upon my core target demographic, company philosophy, and availability of other distribution channels, this shoddy behavior might prompt me to pull my products from their store completely and irrevocably.

If LL did that, I would think it a fatally stupid decision, at least based on what we know now. Having distribution through a retailer the size of TRU is nothing to sneeze at, particularly for a business the size of LL.

But I AM a consumer; and Toys R Us just made The S**t List--I vote with my dollars, and they just lost all future sales from me or from anyone who will hear me describe this situation and agrees with me.

For reasons outlined above, I emphatically do *not* agree with you, at least not without hearing what, if anything, TRU has to say. Remember, anyone can make a mistake (and we have no reason to believe this was anything other than an honest mistake); the real test is in how it's dealt with once made.

There's a LOT of great, responsible, even eco-friendly companies that sell toys and games and clothes and vehicles and....

True. But if you feel that way, and if TRU does not make that list, then why did you order from them in the first place?

With a clarion call to arms;

Trying to forestall a rush to judgement,
Marnen Laibow-Koser

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