Friday, December 10, 2010

Letters of Intent - Amazon's turn

Y’know, we’ve had some pretty good luck getting responses from companies that find themselves featured on King Julien’s Letters of Intent…


And this week is Amazon’s turn.

Apparently they didn’t take the hint from the Costco debacle – let’s see if I’m the only person who thought this merited a letter.


See, I was minding my own jolly business as I shopped online for some wrapping paper.  And I realized that more stores are selling it as “gift wrap” nowadays (did anyone else just snort that I used the word “nowadays”?  I feel like Estelle Getty).

They don’t so much sell wrapping paper rolls, but mostly in sheets.  Come on now… what fun is that?  (Says the little and big boys in our house who  love sword fights)

I was salivating over stuff like this:

(+) click 
                    to view larger


So I hopped on Amazon to check out all the designs.

I typed in “gift wrap”… and SWEET JEHOSEPHAT… this is what came up:

amazon giftwrap

In case you can’t see clearly, the very first search result is a lovely giftwrap that repeats “Happy F-ing Holidays”.

I’ll let you read my email to Amazon for the rest.


I've been very pleased with numerous Amazon purchases in the past.  I'm just a bit puzzled at the prioritization of Gift Wrap Paper search results.  While I wouldn't call myself overly-sensitive, it seemed a bit crass to have the first result be "Happy F-ing Holidays", the second be "Suicidal Snowman", the sixth be Santa defecating in a chimney, the eighth be a joke about genitals, the eleventh be a drunk Santa, the fifteenth be a depiction of piles of excrement, the sixteenth be Santa with scantily clad women saying HO HO HO... and etcetera.  Considering that the average shopper looking for holiday giftwrap may not be expecting the first results to have items like these... I'm disappointed and well... kinda bugged that all of these were on the very first page of my search.  I need wrapping paper, but I'm not crazy about wading through R-rated content on Amazon to find it.

(I have a screenshot available of the search results if needed).



I received a rather canned reply, but y’all shouldn’t be surprised that most companies WILL respond to your email.  And even if it’s a standard “thank you and we don’t care” reply – I’m willing to bet that cumulative customer complaints are forwarded on up.



I understand your concern.

I've passed your comments about the Gift Wrap search results on to the appropriate department in our company for consideration. We truly value this kind of feedback, as it helps us continue to improve our store and provide better service to our customers.

Strong customer feedback like yours helps us continue to improve the selection and service we provide, and we appreciate the time you took to write to us.  We'll consider your feedback as we plan further improvements.

When you use our search engine to look for items, our system attempts to find the products you're most likely to be looking for based on the words you entered. 

The related search results on our website are based on a variety of automated criteria, including the typical search queries and misspellings of other users. Sometimes a spelling correction will be offered for a query that is spelled correctly, simply because our automated system decided there was a good chance you would find the alternative helpful, based on the searches of previous customers.

We look forward to seeing you again soon.

Thank you for your recent inquiry. Did I solve your problem?

Best regards,
Bharath M.
Your feedback is helping us build Earth's Most Customer-Centric Company.



Y’all – this was only about the FIRST page of search results.  It’s Amazon’s prerogative to sell off-color products – it was just bizarrely low-class to feature them as the top items when someone isn’t looking for pooping Santas.


And for the record?  All the big ticket Christmas gifts I wanted to purchase from Amazon?  Itty Bit’s new bed, Mr. Daddy’s camo top for the Rhino, Rachel’s ceramic hair straightener (ahem)?  All NOT purchased at Amazon.

Can you hear me now?



Click on Julie’s Letters of Intent Button for more - the letter-writing that gets results! Smile


Lisa said...

I'm with you with Amazon.
I am disgruntled that they even considered "that self published" book to offer on their site. I understand they took it down and all that...yet what kind of world do we live in when money becomes more important then the character of the business. AGH!!
Pees me off and ever since that I will never shop with Amazon again.

Christy@WickedHappy said...

Maybe, (based on the reply you received) you made a mistake when typing in "Gift Wrap". Maybe that's what you THOUGHT you'd typed, but instead you actually entered "Naughty Gift Wrap"? Seems reasonable.... oh no, not really. You were right to be alarmed. What an icky way to do business. Bravo to you for taking yours elsewhere.

Tiffany said...

Interesting that they "blamed" it on customer misspelling rather than addressing the more glaring issue of inappropriate material. Way to pass the buck Amazon! Yet another website to add to the "my girls can't go there" list.

Aunt of 14 said...

I received a similar shock when I went looking for Whoppers (malt ball candy) on I will refrain from being explicit here, because its YOUR blog, not mine. I can asset to the fact that my search results were the last thing I expected to pop up.

I hate those canned automated responses like the one Amazon sent you!

Brandi said...

I'm guessing you didn't hear about the pedophile handbook they were selling? I'm pretty disgusted with them.

myletterstoemily said...

this is the second disappointing amazon
story ihave read in a few weeks. it makes
me mad at myself for ordering all my kids'
gifts from them! that wrapping paper is
about what i would expect from urban

no more!

thank you for your sweet prayers!

and good luck on the wrapping paper

Emily said...

Holy Moly! Your letter was pretty nice compared to what I would have said! Amazon should be ashamed of themselves!

Saimi said...

I'm not getting it! Think about what all is involved when designing the off color paper.

Someone has to have the idea, present it to the board, everyone discusses it. Design people draw it up, then there's the whole processing and marketing thing.

All for what??? Stupid paper that no one in there right mind will buy.

What a waste!

K- floortime lite mama said...

That is soooooo bizzare on Amazon's part
I mean Christmas has a huge religious and for kid component to it
SO stupid of them

HeatherOz said...

Nice! *rolling eyes*
I went to buy something on Amazon that I saw at Toys R Us and instead of being $17, they were selling it for $50! Ridiculous!

Foursons said...

Wow. Way to transfer the blame Amazon. Nothing like accepting constructive criticism. Seriously, you ought to have those kinds of obnoxious products in a separate area of your online store. The general public should not be subjected to such stench.

Thanks for linking up Rachel!

Anything Fits A Naked Man said...

Holy Smokes!!! That's CRAZY!! I loved your letter, and I think it ABSOLUTELY needed to be sent! I hope you also let them know that you wouldn't be purchasing any of the big items on Amazon. And yes, I think they can DEFINITELY hear you now! GEEZ!!

sara said...

Amazon is getting worse and worse...maybe it was always like this, but I am considering jumping off the Amazon wagon too

Mom of M&Ms said...

Umm I am writing one for AT&T.. a month in our new home and our phone is still not right...

Amazon is having some issues...I can not wait for the follow up.

kc said...

I was going to buy gifts at Amazon, changed my mind when I typed in angel and got search results that were less than angelic. UGH!!!

Amy said...

BURN Amazon! You just lost LOTS AND LOTS of business!

And i just love the "insert their issue here" reply. Lovely and so not fitting to the situation. "Did I solve your problem?" well lets see... no not a bit. You didn't even really try. But thanks for acting like you care... barely.

I can't stop laughing at the "Your feedback is helping build earths most customer-centric company".... Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha! Oh okay.

Kmama said...

Okay, that is just crazy. CRAZY. You'd think that when you do a general search, general stuff would come up and you could further narrow your search from there. Isn't that how it normally works on Amazon??

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