Office Depot Executive E-Mail Carpet Bomb Scores Direct Hit

One of the best techniques for escalating a seemingly hopeless customer service problem is the “Executive E-Mail Carpet Bomb,” or as we lovingly refer to it, the EECB. Phill ran into some problems with his Office Depot order, so he followed our instructions for launching an EECB.

Not only did the EECB result in Phil’s problem being taken care of immediately, he also got a gift card for his troubles. Read Phill’s email inside.

A couple weeks ago I took advantage of a Consumerist Morning Deal for a $200 22″ widescreen LCD from Office Depot. Things didn’t go so well with the order and then I remembered your tips for e-mail carpet bombing company executives. Here’s the e-mail I sent to everyone at Office Depot:

    Subject: Office Depot Online Order
    Date: Tue, 22 May 2007 17:10:01 -0400

    To Whom It May Concern:

    I recently placed an online order for an Acer AL2216Wbd 22″ Widescreen LCD Monitor on May, 14 2007 (Order #387076822-001.) During the checkout process I was led to believe that I would receive next day delivery. After checking on my order later that evening the order summary stated that it would be delivered on May 21 between 8:30AM and 5:00PM. I also assumed that like most online retailers Office Depot would utilize a commercial carrier such as UPS or FedEx.

    After contacting customer service I was informed that it would be coming on an Office Depot truck and that I would need to be home to receive the delivery. While this was a slight inconvenience it was not a huge problem.

    On May 21st I took a day off of work so I could be home to receive the delivery when it arrived. I waited at home all day and there was no delivery made. I contacted customer service at 4:00 PM and they assured me that it would be delivered that day. I contacted them again at 6:30 PM and they informed me that they would escalate it to the Resolutions Center and call me back shortly. I never received a call that evening called back at 8:30 AM the next day. They again told me that they would escalate it to the Resolution Center.

    When I informed them that this had already been done, they said that I should hear back from them within the next four hours. After about six hours of waiting I once again called customer service and was informed that Office Depot had not yet received the monitors from the manufacturer. While I understand the need for delivery windows, the fact that one as large as eight and a half hours could not be met is utterly ridiculous. Not only that; but to miss the delivery date entirely is completely unacceptable. Delays are also reasonable and would not have been a problem whatsoever if I was not led to believe that my monitor would be arriving on a set day between a set timeframe.

    Now my monitor is two days late with no timeframe of availability at all. However, according to my monitor is still scheduled to be delivered on May 21st. I look forward to getting the time machine they are planning on delivering as well.

    The lack of communication is the poorest example of customer services I have ever witnessed. A delay would have been forgivable if I had at least been notified. This was the first time I have shopped online with Office Depot and it will unquestionably be the last unless this problem is sorted out very quickly.


I sent this e-mail around 5PM Eastern time and about 2 hours later I received a phone call from Georgia at Office Depot Executive Customer Service. She told me that she was going to personally look into the situation and send a $100 Office Depot gift card my way for my troubles. I got a call from her the next day and found out that indeed they had not received the monitors from the manufacturer yet but she had spoken directly with the manager of Tech Depot and tracked one down from another source. The next day UPS showed up at my door with my new monitor. It really is too bad that their standard customer service can’t be this efficient. Without The Consumerist I’d probably still be waiting. Thanks for all of your help!

To learn how to launch your own EECB, click here. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: didbygraham)

RELATED: How To Launch An Executive Email Carpet Bomb


Edit Your Comment

  1. timmus says:

    The carpet bombing technique is kind of an interesting concept. I think that psychologically, the recipient who is most aligned with fixing the problem gets a feeling of oversight by their peers.

  2. MonkeyMonk says:

    I don’t shop at Office Depot anymore. They once sold me a batch of faulty Lexmark inkjet toner cartridges and then wouldn’t accept the return a few weeks later (but before their standard 30-day) because they classify toner as “technology” which has a much shorter 7-day return period. In-store escalation didn’t work either. Guess I should have tried an EECB but it didn’t seem worth it for a sub-$100 complaint.

    I don’t use a Lexmark printer anymore either. Screw ’em both.

  3. mph says:

    Carpet bombing is a great idea because it gets attention when its unusual. Unfortunately once everyone starts doing it, it may not have the desired effect (although it certainly will be interesting when CEO’s get hundreds of customer-service emails a day!)

  4. VicMatson says:

    That’s a crazy excuse. I used to be an Office Depot delivery provider. The merchandise comes from one of their large warehouses then goes out with either one of their drivers or a contractor.

    It never comes from any manufacturer! The likely scenario would be either it was left on the dock at either of those two places or the driver just didn’t want to take it. Thats where contractors come in.

    In most cases they don’t have a clue where it is at any given time.

  5. HavocHQ says:

    @timmus: I think that’s spot-on. The email is read by enough people that work in the same administration that there’s bound to be at least one person who goes “Why is this coming to my attention?” and tasks someone with resolving it. Or, alternatively, someone who goes ahead and resolves it just so they can come back with an “It’s resolved already, sir” if it comes back to them.

  6. acambras says:

    The part about the time machine is my favorite.

  7. andimal says:

    Seriously? It was two days late (via FREE shipping) and they felt the need to email OD executives?
    Save these techniques for a real customer service problem, not a minor inconvenience.

  8. saram says:


    He had to take the day off of work to accept the delivery. I believe that’s what roasted his rump about it. Or at least, that’s what would have roasted mine.

  9. strathmeyer says:

    @andimal: You don’t happen to work for a company that provides goods or services to the public, do you? Because I would like to not shop there.

  10. ribex says:

    @andimal: As I read it, much of the “minor inconvenience” stemmed from the fact that Phil was told that he had to be home to accept delivery in an 8 hour time window.

    If someone is required to miss a day of work to receive a delivery or get some installation of something done, the delivery (or cable installer, etc) had darn well better show up in that window if the company does not inform the customer otherwise.

    Seems like the “two days late” is not the major issue AFAICT. That alone would probably not warrant contacting OD execs, but I believe it was appropriate in Phil’s case.

  11. 3drage says:

    I had nearly the exact same experience with Office Depot, except it was a desk. I took two full days off of work to make myself available for delivery. The first day no one showed up at the door, and I was told by the customer service rep that they had tried to make delivery three times and cancelled the order. The second time the exact same thing happened. No one showed up at the house, and it was reported that an attempted delivery was made. I ended up getting a similar desk from Staples instead.

  12. ljnd2 says:

    This is really stunning. I’ve had similar experiences with Staples, actually.

    (A great site for sharing experiences like this is – I’ve found it very cathartic to vent there.)

    I love the EECB – that’s so awesome. I’ll have to try that one for the inevitable next time.