cranky pants: an ethical conundrum.

3 03 2011

surprise! i’m a fucking wreck this week.  the balls to the wall schedule, the stress (MUST LEARN TO TAP DANCE!), the poor diet (toast and hersehy kisses again?), the lack of sleep… i suck hard right now, and there’s no denying it. i’ve even been cranky with my poor dog (who has been attempting to eat his own poop lately,but still doesn’t deserve the ‘tude)!

unfortunately, my intense level of crank got spit out into the universe this week in kind of a crazy way.  i sent an EXTREMELY BITCHY email to a company that at the time I felt had seriously wronged me. and then i regretted it. and then i didn’t regret it… and then i asked you to tell me whether or not i should regret it (i think i feel a poll coming on).

flashing back to a few months ago: a marketing company emailed requesting me to review a product. it wasn’t just a free to anybody wanted it, or even a lottery, they asked ME specifically- on purpose even! i didn’t really give a shit about the product, but felt pretty fucking special for being asked.

i responded enthusiastically to their email and waited patiently for the date that the product was scheduled to arrive. it never did. i emailed the company politely to ask them if they still wanted me to do the review, and a few weeks later a press kit arrived in the mail.

now, i’m used to the truly stunning efforts of vocalpoint with their fistfuls of coupons and their intricately packaged full sized products. this folder, with its “i printed this out at home” style info sheets and SINGLE coupon, was not particularly enthralling, but i was pleased that they had finally arrived and that i could prove my value to this marketing company.  i promptly went to the store, grabbed my freebie, took it home, tested the crap out of it, and wrote a not entirely positive but honest review. TA DA!

ok, i wasn’t exactly expecting a goddamn parade, but what i was also not expecting was that another local blogger friend who responded to the same email would tell me that she received a styrofoam cooler packed with full sized product samples. cue the self doubt. did they forget about me? was my cooler lost in the mail? was it determined that of all the bloggers that responded, i was less worthy than others…  it was totally stupid (my fragile blog ego!) to let it get to me, but it stung a little bit.

and then i pretty much forgot about it.

flash forward to earlier this week: the very same company sends me an email regarding a new offering at a fast food restaurant that contains this EXTREMELY CONFUSING LANGUAGE:

We would love for you to try the XXX and/or provide you with more information on other XXX’s offerings. Please let me know if you are interested.

because of my prior experience, i initially assumed that they were going to provide me with the product. then, i read it again. and again. nope, no offer for a free product. i’m pretty sure they just wanted me to try it and tell people about it. basically they are asking me to advertise for them without even so much as tossing a free XXX my way… HELL NO.

in my completely unraveled state, this bit of spam (especially in light of the prior incident) made me lose my mind COMPLETELY. and before i even really knew what i was doing, i had hit the send button on this insane and somewhat narcissistic reply:

Sounds delicious, but I would have to order it without the bacon as I am a vegetarian. I am also a bit confused about the terms of the offering… It sort of sounds like you just want me to go buy one and tell people about it? I’m not entirely sure why this would be a worthwhile pursuit for me.  Also, I won’t lie, I’m still a little insulted that all the other local bloggers got 6 full sized ZZZ, and all I got was a coupon… Not that I’m poo pooing anything free (and I did buy, try, and write about the product), but it sort of made me unpleasantly hyper-aware of the value you put on my blog.

although i do tend to be kind of good at it, it is never my goal to be mean. pushing other kids around on the playground is only fun for a minute, until you remember that people have feelings. oh, and that having everyone think you’re a scary bitch isn’t really that fun (unless you’re anna wintour. she seems like she’s having a good time…). i also know that this is a tiny local blog, and expecting any sort of special treatment makes me an asshole.

on the other hand… this was her response:

Thanks for the note. We just wanted to alert you to the new XXX product if you were interested in trying.

As an FYI- we did not send any local bloggers actual samples of the ZZZ products.

LIIIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEEEES! my blogger friend definitely got full size products.
in hindsight, i think i wish i had just deleted the offending spam and moved on- because that would have been the classy thing to do. although i really do think what they did was all kinds of suck. any thoughts? what would you have done? how should i repent for my sins?
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19 responses

3 03 2011
Patrick

It’s quite possible that the person you heard from is just an intern working on one campaign who has no clue about a similar – yet separate – campaign being run by other people on the other side of the office.

You both still got something for nothing, and sure – you got the less “wow” of the two, but I still sort of doubt that anyone would lie about something so trivial.

Now, as for them hoping you’ll buy and review their shit going forward? Well, that’s tacky. It’s not lying, but it’s tacky.

4 03 2011
kate.

nope, same exact person. here’s a snipet from her first email to me:
“We would love to send you samples to try and explore the different opportunities for supporting your online audience.”
and i got 4 full-sized samples in a giant styrofoam cooler.

6 03 2011
bessmarvin

and i’m still SO JEALOUS. thanks for backing me up!

7 03 2011
bessmarvin

now that you know that it wasn’t an intern, and she was definitely blatantly lying (assuming you read kate’s response), do you still think that i overreacted? (it’s ok if you do).

12 03 2011
Patrick

Well, I never said you overreacted in the first place…

13 03 2011
bessmarvin

that’s good! although truth be told, i still sort of regret doing it. justified or not, definitely not the classy thing to do.

3 03 2011
Cindy

Your reply was not out of line at all. Forthright, concise, and you didn’t even swear – a fact which totally impresses the hell out of me.

7 03 2011
bessmarvin

wow, apparently i should have dressed up my response with a whole buncha f-bombs… maybe a couple of c-bombs for good measure!

8 03 2011
Cindy

Well, sure. Then you would have something you could legitimately feel good about feeling bad about.

3 03 2011
imogen flowers

They’re just lucky you didn’t xxx all over their xxx.

6 03 2011
bessmarvin

you’re probably right. i should grease up my xxx just in case.

4 03 2011
forefrontfash

well played you.

6 03 2011
bessmarvin

thanks laura! i’m actually really shocked how many people have been supportive. apparently it wasn’t as much of a gaffe as i originally thought!

4 03 2011
InfamousQBert

so, i’m a glutton for punishment AND can’t control my urge to feed the trolls, per se. so, i would totally have sent that email AND would now be sending them another email to the effect of “this picture of XXX at blogger friend’s house? i have it.”

i’ve never been afraid to burn bridges, and this bridge seems awfully flimsy and flammable anyways.

6 03 2011
bessmarvin

the punchline is that the company is actually one that i would want to work for… so i do feel a little shame/regret for burning the bridge. but i don’t think they would hire me anyway, regardless of “the incident”. i just don’t understand why they would even bother to lie about it. it doesn’t make sense!

6 03 2011
Winnie

No f-bombs, even…I would say you showed extreme restraint…

6 03 2011
bessmarvin

no f-bombs, but i did write a snarky and thinly veiled blog post about them! THEY KNOW WHO THEY ARE!!!

6 03 2011
chris

i also applaud your lack of swear words in your email to the lying scum at this company. i have no such filter. you should tap dance on their asses.

6 03 2011
bessmarvin

thanks! part of me felt like it would have been classier not to say anything… but the rest of me was SEVERELY ANNOYED. glad to know that i’m not the only one who would have lost their cool a little (fonzie would be aghast!).

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