Amazon warehouse. REUTERS:Phil Noble

Let Me Be Wrong

My frustrations dealing with Amazon during the Switch Launch, and Amazon’s many Breath of The Wild based lies

I want to tell you a story about my recent experiences shopping with Amazon.ca. While part of this is just a therapeutic call out — I want to also question the assumptions of what constitutes “good” customer service in 2017. I have included throughout this piece the entire transaction of multiple chat sessions and emails, all talking about the same topic, as a result, they are best skimmed due to a lot of repeat information being provided.

I was infuriated. I was sick of telling Amazon all the same information, only to be ignored, only to be lied to, only to be treated like a cog in the algorithm they had designed for customer service.

Today’s date is Sunday, March Fifth, 2017. At this point, everyone knows about Amazon’s terrible handling of the Nintendo Switch Launch. If not, here are a quick couple links, and I’m sure your Google-Fu is as good or better than mine if you want to look into the whole situation deeper.

http://kotaku.com/sounds-like-amazons-switch-shipments-are-a-bit-of-a-mes-1792949536

http://ca.ign.com/articles/2017/03/03/nintendo-switch-amazon-preorders-suffer-widespread-delays

I haven’t bought a Nintendo Switch. Not for a lack of want, just ask some of my friends about how I was SHOOK when I turned down the chance to buy a Switch in EB Games the other day. I don’t want to talk about the Nintendo Switch however, no, I want to talk about Amazon handling my preorder of the Wii U Edition of the Legend of Zelda Breath of the Wild. Which — still hasn’t shipped but it should ship today.

Amazon order page view

Or… should it?

If you remember the date of this writing, it’s only the 5th

You see, it turns out, they were in fact, not offering release day Delivery for The Legend of Zelda: Breath of The Wild, but nobody wanted to just tell me that.

The Whole Situation

It would seem that the delays in Nintendo Switch orders have trickled into delays for all the products releasing at the same time as the Nintendo Switch. So, how did I get myself into this situation?

Back in 2015 Kingdom Hearts 2.8 Final Chapter Prologue (obligatory joke about that name here) was announced. I waited each day patiently for Amazon to add the game to be preordered. I had been pretty hyped for Breath of The Wild, but the ability to preorder it was completely off my radar. When I finally went to preorder KH 2.8, it was a serendipitous moment of joy. I saw Breath of The Wild in my suggested preorder list, and I snapped that up into my Amazon Cart as quickly as possible. By the end of the day, I had preordered most of the games announced that past E3 and during recent Nintendo Directs.

A dramatization of me adding games to my Amazon Cart

Now, as life dictates, I mostly forgot about all this. And as budgets became realistic, some of those game preorders were canceled. But I only became more and more excited for Kingdom Hearts and Zelda as time went on. Now when Kingdom Hearts released, something weird happened, and I had to explicitly ask Amazon to ship it. They upgraded my copy to a limited edition (that or it always was, and I just didn’t realize) and I was happy. The events had done me a concern however. Moving forward, as March third came closer and closer, I watched the Breath of the Wild Preorder closer and closer.

Come Wednesday March 1st, I noted the item had yet to enter the shipping process. In fact, its estimated arrival date wasn’t going to be until next week according to a recent email. I was confused as I was sure that the item was eligible for release day shipping. I attempted to contact Amazon to have this figured out. Chat support always proved to be the best options with other companies, so I contacted them. A transcript of our conversation follows.

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6:19 PM Initial Question: Hi! I was confused about the lack of release day delivery with Breath of the Wild? 
6:19 PM Ayanda has accepted the chat.
6:19 PM Ayanda (CSA) : Hello, my name is Ayanda. I’m here to help you today.
6:19 PM Ayanda (CSA) : May I have the name on your account?
6:20 PM Shawn Dorey : Shawn Dorey
6:20 PM Ayanda (CSA) : Thank you. Your email address is Redacted, correct? 
6:22 PM Shawn Dorey : correct
6:23 PM Ayanda (CSA) : Okay thank you
6:24 PM Ayanda (CSA) : Thank you very much for your patience Shawn
6:26 PM Ayanda (CSA) : Upon checking the release date it is showing March 3 2017
6:26 PM Ayanda (CSA) : This item is not an active order on your account
6:27 PM Shawn Dorey : An active order?
6:27 PM Shawn Dorey : I’m not sure what that means
6:27 PM Ayanda (CSA) : The order is canceled on the account
6:27 PM Shawn Dorey : UM
6:27 PM Shawn Dorey : I didn’t cancel it
6:27 PM Shawn Dorey : And I just got an email
6:27 PM Shawn Dorey : saying
6:27 PM Shawn Dorey : We now have delivery date(s) for the order you placed on November 13, 2015 (Order# 702–9845311–6870610). We’ve listed the item(s) listed below with the expected delivery date(s):
“The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Wii U Standard Edition”
 Estimated arrival date: March 07, 2017 — March 08, 2017
6:28 PM Shawn Dorey : And it’s in my open orders list??
6:30 PM Ayanda (CSA) : Okay checked Breath of Wild, which showed your previous item
6:30 PM Ayanda (CSA) : From what I can see the date changed due to the release date being on March 3 2017
6:31 PM Ayanda (CSA) : I noticed now the order is written The Legend of Zelda
6:31 PM Shawn Dorey : Whoops, sorry
6:31 PM Shawn Dorey : Anyways, my confusion is, as a prime customer
6:31 PM Ayanda (CSA) : Oh no its okay
6:31 PM Shawn Dorey : shouldn’t I be getting release day delivery? 
6:31 PM Shawn Dorey : Or is that not valid? If so, that’s fine
6:31 PM Shawn Dorey : Just that doesn’t even seem like, within the regular prime window? 
6:33 PM Ayanda (CSA) : I understand the estimated date is just an estimation, we must get the items at the fulfillment center first
6:35 PM Shawn Dorey : I’m asking becasuse
6:35 PM Shawn Dorey : The last item in this order 
6:35 PM Shawn Dorey : didn’t ship when it was supposed to at all
6:35 PM Shawn Dorey : so I’m wondering if it’s properly listed as an item being ordered by a prime customer 
6:36 PM Ayanda (CSA) : I assure you Shawn you are
6:36 PM Shawn Dorey : Okay, cool 
6:36 PM Ayanda (CSA) : I checked the shipping method
6:36 PM Shawn Dorey : Thank you
I’ll just check back in on Friday if it isn’t listed as shipped, thanks

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At the time of that phone call I was exhausted and defeated, and the twangs of betrayal were beginning to sink into my mind.

Looking back on this, I really should not have been satisfied with the responses provided. I made it clear that I expected release day delivery, and Ayanda skirted the issue. Still, I was tired and had other things to do that night, so I called it quits and focused on those other things. Still, even at that moment I knew I wouldn’t be getting the game on time, I just had a sinking feeling. And sure, that is fine, but I’m writing this not to vent my frustrations with not having the game and enjoying this moment of Nintendo History. Yes, That is frustrating, but what I’m frustrated with is instead the customer service experience. This is the first salvo of many conversations I’ve had about what should have been a quickly solved solution. You see, it turns out, they were in fact, not offering release day Delivery for Breath of The Wild, but nobody wanted to just tell me that. It took a phone call, a few more chat sessions, and a handful of emails before I could get all the answers I need.

On Friday morning I would find out that Breath of The Wild was not eligible for release day delivery, and that Amazon had known this “for awhile now”. I discovered this in my second phone conversation with an Amazon rep. This is where I would share the recording, but I’m terrible with knowing when to record my phone calls, and alas, these phone calls have not been saved. My previous phone call with Amazon had not been much help and only reassured me that “the item would release on time. At the time of that phone call I was exhausted and defeated, and the twangs of betrayal were beginning to sink into my mind.

Before that second phone call I had contacted Amazon by email, as well as chat support. The chat transcript follows. Before both of these I had called on the phone the first time, but that phone call proved to be mostly ineffective, and did little to elucidate more than the fact that the product was releasing on the third.

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8:15 AM Initial Question: Why is The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild only listed as shipping on the sixth?
8:16 AM Anaya has accepted the chat.
8:17 AM Anaya (CSA) : Hello, my name is Anaya. I’m here to help you today.
8:19 AM Anaya (CSA) : Our chat has now been idle for 1 minute. Please either close the chat or respond within 30 seconds if there’s something else I can help you with. Otherwise, I will disconnect this chat.
8:19 AM Shawn Dorey : Whoops, it didn’t beep
8:19 AM Shawn Dorey : Hi Anaya!
8:20 AM Shawn Dorey : Shawn Dorey is name on the account
8:21 AM Anaya (CSA) : Thank You. and do you have the order number?
8:21 AM Shawn Dorey : 
ORDER # 
REDACTED
8:23 AM Anaya (CSA) : Thank You, it looks like this was a pre order and there was no actual release date
8:24 AM Shawn Dorey : The listed Release date is the third
8:24 AM Shawn Dorey : https://www.amazon.ca/gp/r.html?C=136D8O8M01HM8&K=A2A790V0DD2DOG&R=UYFMKLUBI5PW&T=C&U=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.ca%2FLegend-Zelda-Breath-Wild-Standard%2Fdp%2FB00LCHZRIK%2Fref%3Dpe_584920_33952720_sr_1_1&A=H22NUYHPAXGI8AO1KXCDADPPVWWA&H=YAWSME2AO5MZHRWKJICCBQXAYH0A&ref_=pe_584920_33952720_sr_1_1
8:25 AM Anaya (CSA) : I am seeeing the Estimated Delivery Date as Tuesday, March 7, 2017 — Wednesday, March 8, 2017
8:26 AM Shawn Dorey : When I click tracking
8:26 AM Shawn Dorey : it says it -will- ship out on the sixth
8:28 AM Anaya (CSA) : It must be an error, because the item is actually getting shipped out today
8:29 AM Shawn Dorey : Alright, I’ll keep an eye on it, thank you
8:29 AM Shawn Dorey has left the conversation.

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First I sent an email, jaded against Amazon’s chat support.

I wasn’t satisfied with this answer. I questioned why Anaya was claiming that it was just an error, so I reached out to Amazon via email. Not wanting another unsuccessful phone call. At the time, I was determined to have to only call on the phone once. I hate talking to customer service reps on the phone, it’s time consuming, and I have one too many bad memories from dealing with Canada’s National Student Loan Center, as well as the New Brunswick Student Loans office. As I’ve said before, I usually find chat support to be the best format for getting things done — so I went back to it again. But since that wasn’t very satisfying, I decided to send an email inquiry. I don’t have a transcript of my initial query. But I do have the following reply.

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Hello from Amazon.ca.
I apologize for any misunderstanding about the delivery estimate for your order. We rely on the manufacturer for release date information. Our most recent information was that “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Wii U Standard Edition” will be released on March 3, 2017.
Once this item has been released and we receive copies, we will be able to ship it to you. In general we will receive the items from our suppliers before 24 to 48 hours of the listed release date.
I’ve checked and see that your order has already entered into the shipping process.
Since you’re a valued customer, I’ve taken ownership and I’ve forwarded your regarding to our shipping department. Since I’ve forwarded this to our shipping department, our shipping department will take necessary action to deliver the item on the Release day for you.
When your order is shipped, we’ll send you an e-mail confirmation. We don’t charge you for items until they enter the shipping process.
I hope this information helps.
If you still have any other concerns, please contact us so that we will be able to assist you better.
Thanks for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you again soon.​​​​​
We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.
Best regards,
Anto J

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SUCCESS! JOYOUS DAY! The Game is on its way!

Actual representation of my heart while reading this email.

Except, savvy reader, as you know, This promised expedited shipping was impossible and if I may speak frankly — a bold face lie. Now after I traveled through Waterloo, Ontario searching and failing to find a Wii U copy of Breath of the Wild, feeling petty and wanting the game ASAP — wanting an excuse to cancel the sale Amazon had secured, prime discount be damned, I felt like I needed some sort of Satisfaction. Much like Alexander Hamilton, the end result would lead to me not feeling Satisfied. I’ll never be satisfied. I was so frustrated with the whole situation, I contacted Amazon support today hoping they would be able to provide me with a coupon or the sort for all the headaches they gave me. I didn’t explicitly ask for that though, I just vented my frustrations. Even this was hard to deal with however. First I sent an email, jaded against Amazon’s chat support. My Initial email and the response follow.

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This was what I included in my feed back email:
I sent a feedback report that includes my frustrations about the lack of transparency in regards to what is or is not available for release day delivery, but I guess I’ll reiterate the source of my frustration. I ordered the item in 2015 and was never told that The Legend of Zelda Breath of The Wild would not be available for Release Day Delivery or shipping. After getting a ship date and charge, there was nothing explaining why it wasn’t shipping on the third/for the third. I used chat and phone support, as well as email support, and was told multiple times it had to be an error and that it would ship sooner. Before my final phone call, where I was told it was a known problem with Breath of the wild, and the game was not available for release day delivery. That on its own is fine, but I do not appreciate how the store front in no way makes this clear, I was never warned, and that all the other service reps misled me and out right lied,
one of your support staff promised release day delivery:
Amazon 
Your Account Amazon.ca 
Message From Customer Service 
Hello from Amazon.ca.
I apologize for any misunderstanding about the delivery estimate for your order. We rely on the manufacturer for release date information. Our most recent information was that “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Wii U Standard Edition” will be released on March 3, 2017.
Once this item has been released and we receive copies, we will be able to ship it to you. In general we will receive the items from our suppliers before 24 to 48 hours of the listed release date.
I’ve checked and see that your order has already entered into the shipping process.
Since you’re a valued customer, I’ve taken ownership and I’ve forwarded your regarding to our shipping department. Since I’ve forwarded this to our shipping department, our shipping department will take necessary action to deliver the item on the Release day for you.
When your order is shipped, we’ll send you an e-mail confirmation. We don’t charge you for items until they enter the shipping process.
I hope this information helps.
If you still have any other concerns, please contact us so that we will be able to assist you better.
Thanks for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you again soon.​​​​​
We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.
Best regards, 
Anto J
^ Transcript from the email. I do not appreciate being lied to, and am quite upset about this.

REPLY FROM AMAZON

Hello from Amazon.ca.
I’m sorry for any inconvenience that may have caused you regarding the longer delivery estimates of your order.
I’ve checked the product detail page on Amazon.ca, and found that this item is not currently eligible for Release-Date Delivery.
Please note that, we only offer the Release-Date Delivery option when we know we can get the item from our suppliers in time to meet our delivery promise to you. It is possible that this item will become eligible as the release date gets closer and we’ve confirmed our inventory.
However, this item is not eligible for release date delivery. This being the reason the order is not being delivered on March 7, 2017 — March 8, 2017
If the item was eligible for release date delivery, you will receive it on release date itself if you are a Prime member.
Since the item was not eligible for release date delivery, even if you place via Priority it will not be delivered on March 7, 2017 — March 8, 2017
I’m sorry for any inconvenience if this information might cause you.
Please disregard the estimated ship date and delivery date details that are listed on your order right now. They are just an estimates.
Once the item releases the revised ship date and delivery date details will be updated for this item. Meanwhile, I can assure that your order will be delivered by above date the first business day after the item releases.
I am truly sorry that we were not able to fulfill your expectations for this level of service. I hope that you will honor us with another opportunity to prove the quality of our service to you in the future.
I’m so sorry, but we can’t offer any additional insight or action on this matter.
We appreciate your business and hope to see you again soon.
Best regards,
Varadharajan J.
Thank you.Amazon.ca

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At this point, I was infuriated. I was sick of telling Amazon all the same information, only to be ignored, only to be lied to, only to be treated like a cog in the algorithm they had designed for customer service. I looked at the Amazon listing for Breath of the Wild one more time, and it was a moment of the straw breaking the camel’s back. This is what faced me.

Yep! That’s right! It was offering for Breath of The Wild to arrive before my current copy left the warehouse!

Feeling even more vindicated. Feeling like I needed satisfaction more than ever. Someone needed to pay for this, I contacted Amazon Chat Support.

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1:28:07 PM Shawn Dorey: Hi, I’ve been trying to issue a complaint about being lied to in an email, and I’d like help. I was trying to figure out why The Legend of Zelda Breath of The Wild hadn’t been shipped yet on the second so it would arrive on Release day. On the Second, I received this email.
I apologize for any misunderstanding about the delivery estimate for your order. We rely on the manufacturer for release date information. Our most recent information was that “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Wii U Standard Edition” will be released on March 3, 2017.
Once this item has been released and we receive copies, we will be able to ship it to you. In general we will receive the items from our suppliers before 24 to 48 hours of the listed release date.
I’ve checked and see that your order has already entered into the shipping process.
Since you’re a valued customer, I’ve taken ownership and I’ve forwarded your regarding to our shipping department. Since I’ve forwarded this to our shipping d
1:28:39 PM Jess: Hello, my name is Jess. I’m here to help you today. Thank you for being a Prime member with us! To better help assist you today may I have your name please?
1:28:50 PM Shawn Dorey: My name is Shawn Dorey
hi Jess, I feel like some of my preamble got cut off haha
Which I realized was a lot of email transcripts that I could have just summarized
1:30:00 PM Jess: Thank you Shawn! I’m so sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused, I would be happy to take a look into this for you.
1:30:42 PM Shawn Dorey: Did you get the full preamble on your end?
1:31:03 PM Jess: May I have the order number please?
Yes I have all the previous correspondence
1:32:55 PM Shawn Dorey: The order number is:
ORDER #-Redacted-
But my complaints have to do with the correspondences ABOUT the order number, I know nothing can be done about the shipping of the product, I was told as much on the phone, I just am upset that in one of the many previous correspondences I was told incorrect information, and essentially lied to, and I’d like to file a complaint
1:33:50 PM Jess: Absolutely, I would be happy to look over the emails and take the correct action towards that agent in regards to the misinformation.
1:34:53 PM Shawn Dorey: You should have all the relevant correspondence in the initial preamble
I don’t have a full transcript, and some of my conversations were phone calls (which were much more helpful)
1:35:21 PM Jess: Is that from the most recent email sent on March 4?
1:35:58 PM Shawn Dorey: March 4 was the email where they didn’t respond about the miscommunication
1:36:11 PM Shawn Dorey: Or wait
1:37:34 PM Shawn Dorey:yeah that was March 4
1:38:01 PM Shawn Dorey:
and March 2nd was the facetious assurance from Anto J: 
Hello from Amazon.ca.1:38:01 PM
I apologize for any misunderstanding about the delivery estimate for your order. We rely on the manufacturer for release date information. Our most recent information was that “The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild — Wii U Standard Edition” will be released on March 3, 2017.1:38:01 PM
Once this item has been released and we receive copies, we will be able to ship it to you. In general we will receive the items from our suppliers before 24 to 48 hours of the listed release date.1:38:01 PM
I’ve checked and see that your order has already entered into the shipping process.1:38:01 PM
Since you’re a valued customer, I’ve taken ownership and I’ve forwarded your regarding to our shipping department. Since I’ve forwarded this to our shipping department, our shipping department will take necessary action to deliver the item on the Release day for you.1:38:01 PM
When your order is shipped, we’ll send you an e-mail confirmation. We don’t charge you for items until they enter the shipping process.1:38:01 PM
I hope this information helps.1:38:01 PM
If you still have any other concerns, please contact us so that we will be able to assist you better.1:38:01 PM
Thanks for your patience and understanding. We look forward to seeing you again soon.​​​​​1:38:01 PM
We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.1:38:01 PM
Best regards,1:38:01 PM
Anto J1
1:38:01 PM Shawn Dorey: ^ The one I have the biggest beef about
1:39:58 PM Jess:Oh yeah! Definitely see that the previous agent stated they would make sure the item was going to be delivered on the release day and I am terribly sorry for that, just a moment while I pull up that exact email to take the corrective actions
1:41:17 PM Shawn Dorey: Yeah, I’m also annoyed that when I emailed my grievances about that, the response I got, completely ignored what I was complaining about, and told me things I already knew about BoTW which, like, wasn’t the point
1:41:39 PM Shawn Dorey: Awesome, thank you — side bar, on my end, how do I tell when an item is no longer eligible for release day delviery?
1:43:41 PM Jess: I can also see the emails that you have sent about the experiences that you have had and they have definitely been logged at feedback and sent to the correct department.
Jess: If an item is eligible for release date delivery it will be on the item detail page as well as in the checkout when choosing the shipping options, unfortunately not all pre-orders are available to get on the release date.
1:44:34 PM Shawn Dorey: I feel like the status changed between 2015, and now, but hard to say xD, but it’ll be explicitly said on the sale page, got it
1:44:49 PM Jess: I have located the first contact now about the misinformation about the game in Chat and I’m taking action on that one now.
1:45:31 PM Shawn Dorey: Yeah, like, it took quite awhile for someone to say, “hey, it’s not eligible” which, was all I was looking for?
1:45:53 PM Jess: Yeah it will say it right below the description “Want this item on release day” and that is how you would know as well as the shipping options at checkout
1:46:06 PM Shawn Dorey: awesome, thanks
1:46:35 PM Shawn Dorey: It was a little more confusing cuz it was an old order for me, but I know what to expect going forward!
1:48:39 PM Jess: Yeah no problem!
1:49:53 PM Jess: I have made sure the corrective action has been taken about the wrong information you were provided, is there anything else I can assist you with today?
1:52:04 PM Shawn Dorey: It seems your end has access to all the transcripts from the past few days (minus the couple phone calls) is it possible you could send me some uber log of it all, including this chat, please?
1:52:48 PM Jess: I can send this transcript, let me see if I have the option to send you the others
1:54:04 PM Shawn Dorey: Alright
1:54:36 PM Jess: I’ll send a transcript of this chat session to the e-mail address on your account for sure.
1:55:49 PM Jess: If I am able to send the others I will do that separately as well, is there anything else I can assist you with today?
1:56:14 PM Shawn Dorey: No, that’s everything! Thank you very much
1:56:17 PM Jess: It was a pleasure assisting you today! We look forward to seeing you again soon. If there is anything else I can help with, please let me know. Otherwise, you can click the *End Chat* button on the top right corner of this window.

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Customer Service needs to move away from a “yes-person” model.

Looking Forward

The final steps

Now if I was writing a think piece about Millennials, this is the part where I would blame us for being “too entitled. If I was attempting to parody that, I would blame it on Boomers, who are the true entitled crowd. But like Adam Conover says: Millennials don’t exist. I am writing this piece partly to sort through my own feelings, and partly for there to be a (mostly) complete archive of exactly how this all went down. There is a phantom to deal with in the room, however.

The Customer is Always Right approach to customer service is that phantom. When you work Customer Service in 2017, you are trained to be afraid to say no to what a customer asks. No matter how they cage it, a no could be the end of your job. This manifests in many forms, and having been born in 1991 and spent most of High School and early University working in a grocery store, I am all too familiar with the horrors of telling an entitled older person that they can’t be given special treatment, or that yes, their precious little boy needs to put his pants back on. But looking forward by looking back on this most recent dissatisfaction from Amazon, I am faced with only one conclusion: Customer Service needs to move away from a “yes-person” model.

The great irony of this situation, and this is most likely going to sound trite and cliche, is that in trying to better serve and satisfy me — Amazon just ended up pissing me off. They were so afraid to tell me the truth about company policy, they played hot potato with the bad news, tossing the responsibility between one another.

Gifs really can visualize anything — god bless the Internet

I can’t help but sign off tying this to Trump. Can you blame me? This just feels like another attack on truth, another attack on honesty and transparency. As our political leaders create monopolies in our governments, and abuse those, our retail monopolies look to those same leaders for guidance in terms of ethos and general ethics. Lie to your customer (aka constituent), and vehemently avoid the truth until you are forced to say otherwise. It’s just another sign of that “post-truth” world. While I may make these points in jest, I do feel disturbed that I am seeing these trends at all and am able to even sarcastically make the connection.

I hope that my complaint to Amazon results in less people afraid to tell the truth. But I doubt it, it’s easier to just constantly blow off people like me, most people would just sit and suffer when confused about a policy. As is, it feels like I’m an anomaly for asking anything at all, and that’s why Amazon isn’t equipped to deal with the problems I face when using their platform. While that idea doesn’t comfort me, the concept provides some form of relief. Still, I hope soon we will see a revitalization of Customer Service practices, and the the rallying cry of front end staff, “The customer is often wrong” is a motto that actual customer service policy begins to adopt.

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