Gen-X Sports rep makes an impression -- not good

SNEWS, like most companies and folks we know, hate SPAM of any kind -- be it by email or fax. So when we received two faxes in the space of two days from Gen-X Sports we did what we normally do -- sent an email asking the sender to remove us from the fax database. Imagine our surprise when...

SNEWS, like most companies and folks we know, hate SPAM of any kind -- be it by email or fax. So when we received two faxes in the space of two days from Gen-X Sports -- -- we did what we normally do -- sent an email asking the sender to remove us from the fax database.

In our email, we informed the sender that we did not like SPAM faxes, and that since we were media and not a reseller, wholesaler or distributor, we really didn't need its offer of services to sell our excess inventory, despite the sender's assurance that "I want you to feel comfortable coming to me with your excess items."

Imagine our surprise when we received, four days later, the following email response (all emails printed exactly as received without any attempt at editing or correcting):

"OH MY GOD! I have sent you Two whole faxes????
Your number must be printed in a sporting goods trade show
book and unless you can tell me which one and under which sporting good company name, there is nothing I can do. It must be a typo - sorry
fortunately I only fax each book twice a year
have a nice St. Patty's Day!"

Figuring perhaps this person was having a bad day, or two, or three, we sent the person a reply email that stated we were not aware of our fax being printed in a directory. Nevertheless, we would expect Gen-X to be able to remove our fax number, which we provided, from their database. We were also a bit surprised that it claimed not to know our company name, since it was on the email and in the signature card that accompanied the email, but we decided not to point that out -- yet.

And, bless her soul, if this person didn't decide that it would be a good idea to quickly fire back another email, within 24 hours, pointing out to us (with a quippy little attempt at humor) that we were the ones who had erred. Curiously, she still made no attempt at any apology or any mention that our number was going to be removed from the system.

"Apparently you are "snoozing" yourself
you don't know who you give your fax number to.
This is a sporting goods book perhaps you've heard
of it "outdoor retailer" and your fax number is clearly
printed. have fun !"

We have to give her credit, as she was correct about that. Our fax number was printed in the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Show Handbook since SNEWS was an exhibitor this year. Of course, now fully entertained with her absolute commitment to become a poster child for bad customer service, we responded that Outdoor Retailer was not a sporting goods book, as she had implied, and that since she now obviously knew who we were (media), we were hopeful that she'd finally be able to remove our number from her database.

It took her only 24 more hours to fully establish her stellar position in the "Bad Customer Service" hall of fame: 

"Outdoor Retailer is a sporting goods show
NOT a directory at all - your name is listed as an exhibitor
obviously I would not intentionally fax a media group -
perhaps instead of SNEWS you should call you self
Snews MEDIA - then you would not get faxes from me.
When your typing a mile a minute to enter names and numbers Snews didn't stand out - Sorry
I didn't know your company name until I pulled up the old
data base - luckily I hadn't deleted it yet - that is how I
found you. YES, I do mass faxes and I really don't care if you have a
problem with it - I've been doing this for 11 years and I've NEVER gotten a letter like this before
have you ever heard of a trash can! USE IT!"

Naturally, we were thrilled that she corrected our correction of her correction leaving us wondering what was corrected. For the record, Outdoor Retailer is NOT a sporting goods trade show (did we really have to tell you that?). OR representatives told us that they firmly refer to their trade shows as Outdoor Specialty shows. OR representatives also told us that while they cannot prevent folks from using the handbooks like Miss Gen-X clearly does, they do not condone the practice and intend the contact information printed in the books to be for the primary use of retailers.

We also find her Gen-X logic disturbing that it is our problem if we don't like the receipt of her SPAM faxes. We do know what a trash can is, and can assure Miss Gen-X that her faxes were placed there immediately (Actually, we prefer the recycle bin, since we hate the thought that she is killing that many trees in her gleeful spamming). We also checked with others who might have received her faxes and they also confirmed that junk faxes don't get responded to, they just get trashed. Apparently, it hasn't yet occurred to her that she hadn't received a response yet because, one, she offers no opt-out opportunity on her SPAM faxes (which by law the company must -- click here to read regulations specific to your state or country) and, two, everyone simply tosses the paper. So, let's do some basic math: She claims that she only faxes each book twice per year. Even conservatively, that amounts to at least 2,500 junk faxes sent, or 2,500 pieces of paper wasted, or 2,500 more pieces of trash potentially added to an overwhelming amount of trash already filling our dumps. And that only accounts for OR trade show handbooks. We imagine she's faxing her little heart out with other show directories, too, wasting potentially thousands more sheets of paper annually.

Miss Gen-X wants us to feel comfortable coming to her with our excess items? We came to her with a request to handle only two excess faxes and she couldn't even cope with that. Leaves us wondering how on earth she can expect to handle actual customers with real products.

Lesson learned here? In order to prevent folks like Miss Gen-X from enthusiastic SPAM fax campaigns, it appears we have to ask Outdoor Retailer not to print fax numbers or emails in the show handbooks. What a waste!



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