No iPod, Soap!

We’ve all heard of iPod’s vaunted “clean design,” but this is ridiculous.

Reader Sean bought what he thought was a box-fresh iPod from Imagine his surprise when he ripped off the shrink-wrap and instead found inside two bars of Irish Spring soap and a package of cheap batteries.

“I picked up the phone and gave Smalldog a call,” writes Sean, “I was ready to really tear into someone when…”

    “…when a supremely polite and nice customer service rep answered the phone. When I told her about my situation (and not too nicely, I might add), she started laughing.”


    “For a second I was shocked! I mean, first you screw up, and then you laugh at me!? But the next thing I knew, I started laughing too. She used just the right amount of humor and seriousness in helping me figure out what had happened.

    In the end, she put in an order to have it inspected by UPS, and put another unit on hold for me, and gave me her direct line, informing me that the second UPS is done inspecting the package that I was to call her, and she would ship it right away. She also wanted to know if I took any pictures, saying that she’d love to have a few to show the other people in the office.”


    “UPS showed up the next day, and right after they left, I gave her a call (she answered after two rings), and shipped the iPod overnight express. Needless to say, I was thrilled with the sophisticated level of customer service at Smalldog.”

    It was good to see that someone could have a sense of humor and still be incredibly accommodating at the same time.”

Kudos to Smalldog for fixing this so quickly, and with such grace and humor. However, they should track down where they got the iPod from and wack somebody’s grubby little hands. And then wash them. And then clean their mouth out with soap. And while the soap is still in there, shrink wrap their mouth shut.

Oh, and just because something is in the box and shrink-wrapped, doesn’t mean it’s new. Shrink wrap devices are not hard to come by. All you need is a roll of plastic, a heated cutting device, and a section of table.


Edit Your Comment

  1. Ah, the good ol’ rocks in the box trick. This is why packaging with a window into the contents is a good idea.

  2. Triteon says:

    Maybe it’s a nefarious ad campaign by the fine folks at Colgate!

  3. I love Small Dog. Their people are fantastic, and their website is even better. They have thousands of pictures of dogs that customers have sent in! Everybody loves puppies!

  4. DeeJayQueue says:

    I’ve been hearing a rash of these lately. I have every reason to thing that UPS and FedEx have some less-than-scrupulous drivers working for them.

  5. Punerific choice of soap by whomever scammed the box…Irish Spring is about as close to iSoap as you can get.

  6. Marcus_T says:

    Sadly, my story isn’t nearly as amazing, but I ordered a pair of shoes online (since that’s the only place I can buy the kind I like). When they arrived, I was staring at 2 left footed shoes. There was no right one. What the hell?

    Thankfully, all was resolved very quickly.

  7. Falconfire says:

    Smalldog is EXCELLENT in customer service. I have used them for parts for some of our Macs plenty of times, and they have a neat trade up policy for iPod sales where you can trade in your old iPod for a discount on a new one.

    As for the UPS thing, doesnt shock me at all except Im glad Smalldog took care of the hassle for you. More than once I have heard about that crap happening and UPS saying they arnt liable and fuck off when a investigation is asked by you.

    The fact that a company did it is probably the only reason UPS looked into it. If you had called they would have told you get bent and that their contract makes it so they are not liable for anything.

  8. ckilgore says:

    I have always had good experiences with Smalldog, too. They are super nice and have a very down-home friendly kind of customer experience philosophy.

  9. pk says:

    i’ve bought every mac i’ve owned from smalldog since 1996, couple of ipods too. they’ve always been excellent.

  10. Check this out:

    They call their weekly e-newsletter Kibbles and Bytes! How adorable is that?

  11. AcidReign says:

    …..I like that suggestion at the end of the post, especially the shrink-wrap!

    …..I tricked my little brother into taking a bite of Ivory soap when I was a kid. I think he screamed for at least 30 minutes, and to this day, he says that it was the worst thing ever put in his mouth!

  12. emjsea says:

    Regarding shrink wrap… when I worked at Kaybee toys back in grad school, we had a shrink wrap machine in the back so that when someone returned something we could put the package back together, shrink wrap it and return it to the shelf as if it had never been opened.

  13. ChazB says:

    Regarding shrink wrap… when I worked at Kaybee toys back in grad school, we had a shrink wrap machine in the back so that when someone returned something we could put the package back together, shrink wrap it and return it to the shelf as if it had never been opened.

    This is a very common practice in many businesses. My fiance worked music retail for 6 years and they would open a CD for a customer to listen to, then rewrap it after.

    The cell phone provider I worked for would rewrap returned stuff too. Even if it was defective because we had a restocking fee on every item returned regardless of reason for return. They were cheap bastards. We had over 50 computers running pirated copies of Windows, Office etc. They bought one legitimate copy, installed it on everything, rewraped the box, and returned it.

  14. econobiker says:

    My ex-spouse’s lilly-white, straight-as-a-rod, never-jaywalked-in-her-life cousin bought a sewing machine at Wal-Mart. She got the box home and opened it to find a group of bricks inside the styrofoam pack inside the box. And then -she- was paranoid about returning it to the store for another one. The thief had opened the box from the bottom, snagged the sewing machine and then hot glued the bottom flaps back to the box. I told her to chill get her money back as this type of stuff goes on all the time, the fact of which she was dumbfounded…

  15. batricorico says:

    Interesting that everyone blames UPS for this. As the owner of a shipping agency that uses all carriers, including UPS, our experience is that if a UPS employee (or more often, hired third party independent contractor) is going to steal something, they will take only one cool item out of a package of several things (on the theory that they can assert the shipper failed to pack all items), or the package will simply vanish.

    I guarantee you that the handlers, past the original driver pick-up and whomever he might let know he had pciked up packages from, had no (easy) way of knowing what was in the package, other than that it emanated from SmallDog (unless there was a label or packing slip on the outside off the box, which is not my experience with SD), and to think that any UPS handler has time to cherry-pick the hundreds and thousands of hundreds of packages that wind their way through sort facilities is pretty far fetched.

    Why put a bar of soap in the box if you are a UPS employee? Are you wearing gloves and have a complex kit of pre-determined like-weight & size product replacement articles while you work the sort facilities? Not to mention a shrink-wrap machine, or a roll of shrink wrap and a hair dryer?

    “Hey, Don, is that a roll of shrinkwrap, a hairdryer and a boxed bar of soap in your pants, or are you just happy to work at UPS?”

    You know you are fingerprinted when hired; you know that most areas are under video surveillance; and you know you are not allowed to bring bags or other such items to the work floor. Are you really going to risk your union wages for a mere iPod?

    The most likely source for this switch happened either at SD itself (not likely, given their stellar reputation and family-like organization), or the supplier/ supply chain to SD in the first place. Only they would have the time to install a weight-like replacement and reseal it in order to not tip anyone off easily to the missing articles inside.

  16. DutchFlat says:

    Smalldog rocks. A really great company.