The Worst Tip We Have Ever Received

Yes, our pro-consumer bias has its limits. For instance, when a customer service representative tries to help you, don’t respond by telling them to “go back to school,” or by mentioning that your fourth-grade class can “spell better.” Of the tens of thousands of tips you have sent us, this is one of the worst. Do not be this guy.

Here’s the situation: Reader Bryan ordered an item from Adorama’s Amazon store. After the item shipped, he decided to change the shipping instructions so he could pick up his package at the UPS store. Amazon’s policies kept Adorama from changing the instructions on a shipped item, so, after apologizing, Adorama gave Bryan two options: a full refund, or once the item returned undelivered, they could re-ship the item with the right instructions.

Bryan didn’t send us his original request, so we’ll start with Adorama’s response. The writing isn’t the clearest, but the content speaks for itself:


unfurtunaly this is an Amazon order and we wont be able to have you pick it up. I apologized for the inconvenience this may have caused you.

Adorama customer service

Brian responded:

I don’t see why it being an amazon order changes anything. It’s MY package that I paid for, and paid shipping for. UPS is not able to deliver to my location, all I want is to be able to pick up the package THAT I PAID FOR.

Make it happen, or I’m just returning all of it, and then you’ll be refunding my money.

Right off the bat you can tell Bryan is trouble. “Make it happen?” Tell that to a waitress and you’ll rightly end up with a drink down your shirt. Let’s see how Paola responds:

I apologized for the inconvenience but our contract with Amazon is like that we cant make any changes to the order or have ups hold it for you , if you are unable to be at the address you provide with your order for shipping the order will come back to us and we will give you the money back for the item.

have a nice day!!

Adorama customer service

Paola provided a direct explanation to Bryan’s question. Adorama’s contract with Amazon prevents them from changing the shipping address. Simple enough, but Bryan kept pushing:

Well, I guess you just lost some money. I have NEVER had any issues with getting UPS to hold a package that I have bought from Amazon.

I’m so sorry for the inconvenience maybe you place the order through Amazon and it was ship by another company. I don’t want you to feel like if we don’t appreciated your business but unfurtunaly we can not hold the pack. if the order was place directly from us we wouldn’t have this problem.

again I apologies.

Adorama customer service

Another fairly direct response from Paola, and a way to avoid the problem in the future. Fine.

How Bryan choose to advance his case?

Please learn proper grammar and english. It would make your messages much easier to understand.

At this point, Paola could have stopped responding. The substantive interaction was over. If we were in Paola’s place, we wouldn’t have been able to respond with anything approximating a polite response. And as we’ll see, advancing the conversation doesn’t help anyone, even if the intent is to help an unreasonable customer.

Oh thank you…. For the compliment… am just trying to give you good customer service. at least someone is paying attention to your problem.

Adorama customer service

See, this is what I’m talking about. Re-read your last 2 messages. They are written poorly. “unfurtunaly” is spelled “unfortunately”.

All this poor grammar and spelling lets me know is that the employees at this place are incompetent, and that I would never order anything from you again. No one is paying attention to my problem and I am NOT receiving “good customer service”. If I was receiving “good customer service”, my problem would have already been taken care of when I called yesterday. I can’t believe all this hassle is being put into this situation. All I want to do is pick up my package; this should not be an impossible task.

You fail. I will never order anything from adorama again.

Are you a teacher? All I m trying to do is help you and “unfortunately” you don’t see that you are just looking for mistakes in the grammar. I hope you have a very nice day!

Adorama customer service

Yes. I am a teacher. I teach 4th grade, and they spell better than you

and can complete sentences using proper punctuation. It reflects poorly on you and the company you work for. If you can’t do this, maybe this is the wrong job for you. You are doing NOTHING to help me. If you want to help me, offer to overnight me another camera with no restrictions on the package, so that I can pick it up at the UPS office. Sitting here and arguing with me does nothing to fix the problem.

Today, I will be contacting any management/owners that I can get ahold of and informing them of the awful customer service I’ve received. If you can’t solve the problem and just type gibberish to me, then you are of no use in your current place of employment.

With the respect you deserve let me explain you something. I was trying to assist you since the first time that you call , but you just say that you wanted your money back and started complaining about my grammar instead of telling me that you wanted the item expedited, is very frustrating for me as a customer service representative that is doing her best to assist you, to only get this kind of email in response like if I was one of your students . Am really sorry this is going the way is going, you are the first customer I get that is a “teacher” and act like a student.

If you want the item I will be more than happy to place a new order for you, I will need to charge you for the item again and am supposed to charge you for shipping as well because I don’t see where we mess up with your order we send it to the address that you provide Amazon for shipping. if you will like I can ask my manager as a first time courtesy to give you free shipping. And if you want fell free to contact my manager to complaint about my customer service skills her ext# is 2219 her name is Leah, I am sure she will be happy to listen to you and read our emails….thank you and have a nice day!!!!!!

Adorama customer service

Can we all agree this is a reasonable solution? Paola offered to resend the item, possibly even waive the shipping. And she volunteered her manager’s number and rightly suggested that any third party might find Bryan’s behavior offensive.

So how does Bryan respond to the olive branch?

Wow. I have no clue what any of that says since your sentences are all run-ons and really really long. Go back to school.

The situation deteriorates from there.

I just feel sorry for the kids you teach … You are very disrespectful, maybe my problem can be solve going back to school but in your case you will have to be born again.. Respect others is easy and make others life easier too. Here at Adorama we treat our customers with respect because that’s how they treat us. but that’s not you case. Have a good life.

Adorama customer service

Spend less time telling me to be ‘born again’ and more time studying an English book. Religion is just a crutch for the weak.
Sent from my BlackBerry(r) smartphone with SprintSpeed

Be happy!! Have a nice day!! “teacher”

Adorama customer service

I was happy today until I had to deal with you. And for some reason you decide to bring religion into this. I’m making phone calls right now, doing my best to make sure that you don’t have a job by the end of the day.
Sent from my BlackBerry(r) smartphone with SprintSpeed

Ok she is waiting for your call ext#2219 leah .. bye

Adorama customer service

If you were Bryan, how would you characterize this interaction when you sent it to our tipline? What one point might you seize upon to sensationalize your story?

Okay…. Here’s an awesome email exchange between an camera customer service rep and myself. Yeah, I’m an asshole, but this ignorant woman actually suggested that I become “born again”.

All this because they put all kinds of restrictions on MY package which won’t allow me to pick up my package at the UPS office.


You sure got one thing right, Bryan.

Clearly the exchange could have been handled better by everyone. The telecoms and other large companies use rigid customer service manuals to limit similar debacles. Their customer service is like Plinko: your complaint’s destiny is governed by its fall down a maddening decision tree. Bryan would have been dismissed with a simple: “We cannot accommodate your request at this time. Please be assured, your business is important to us.” We prefer companies where employees can treat us not just as consumers, but as people.

When dealing with any company, always treat customer service representatives as you would want to be treated yourself. The whole Golden Rule thing and all. Not only is it common decency, but it’s the single best way to get exactly you want.

(Photo: paolo màrgari)