this gentleman is the owner of the biggest provider of anime/manga/light novels etc in North America. We are in the same serious collectors group. he just posted this to us, and it just kind of blows my mind. just wanted to share.An open letter to the community:
Apparently, civility is no longer a thing. But it should be, and needs to be.
I hate to even have to even have to post a message like this, but after two or three emails that have been sent out, the behavior continues.
We had an unprecedented storm on Monday, and the whole office staff spent about 2 hours in the basement. Around us, there were 80-100mph winds which created widespread damage in our area, and knocked out power to our building. We still do not have power, along with about quarter of a million other people in Iowa. What’s a bit ironic is that many of our Iowa power professionals were loaned to the southeast during this time to help with hurricane damage. No one expected a hurricane in Iowa.
We have already been running short staff on rotation due to the COVID situation. Since we have no power, we have no air conditioning, and the office temperature has rapidly jumped to 90+ degrees. We’re running on partial generator power, and much of the staff is working in the dark at the end of extension cords attempting to take care of customer issues; our phones are not working and we cannot use any of the heavy equipment, as we have no way to recharge it. Even the auto-tape machines aren’t working, so we’re back to the old manual tapers to seal up boxes. You work to make things efficient, but when the tools you use to do so aren’t available, things slow way down. But you make the best of it.
Much of my staff has already been working 60+ hours a week the last few months to make sure that customer orders continue to flow, but when dealing with supply chains that are broken, warehouses that close for cleaning or for other reasons, production and product delays, and more, there is only so much that can be done. Adding lack of power just takes things up a notch.
When you contact any company looking for help, you will have much greater success if you go about things with kindness rather than with acidity. When you start an email or phone call with an attitude of “I hate you and I hope you die you f***” you don’t make the person on the other side have a great deal of desire to help you. While I understand we have all been dealing with difficult times, channeling your rage against someone who is trying to help you isn’t going to achieve your desired result, it’s delusion. In fact, what it is going to do is get you a permaban from my store, because I’m not going to continue to put up with my people being treated this way. These are good people, many of whom are dealing with their own challenges right now. Iowa nice only goes so far. And after the last couple of weeks, I can certainly see why some companies have dropped having phone support at all and force people to other mediums.
Your card was declined and you didn’t contact us? We canceled your order. How is this our fault? We’re not in charge of your finances. Tracking hasn’t been updated after it left us? We unfortunately can’t control the shipping companies, and with holiday-level parcel shipments, these companies are have having problems of their own with staffing and delivery times. We're finding that scans are often being skipped in the system. A publisher canceled your item? Why scream at the messenger, unless WE were the publisher, we can’t really do much about it. You ordered several items that were out of stock and it’s holding up your order? We can’t economically ship every single item to you individually, and we’re struggling to keep up with orders now. Hint: order something where everything is in stock, and the other stuff will be dragged along. A nice customer service person would tell you that, if you didn’t scream in her ear about how she’s a B**CH and that the whole world’s problems are her fault. We haven’t received in product X? It’s likely because the vendor’s having manufacturing or shipping issues and we are trying our best to get a restock in to fill your order. Unhappy with life in general? Buy a copy of Aria and watch it and chill rather than taking it out on my staff. Meditate on how truly lucky we are all to be alive, regardless of what is happening in the world. Show some kindness to those around you.
While every company has its challenges, and we make our share of mistakes, our staff really takes pride here to make sure that we do the best that we can for our customers. But I encourage folks to realize that when you lead with Defcon-1, all nuclear missiles ready to launch, you give no opportunity for the person to actually listen and want to help you. And if you start swearing up a storm and berating them, I have instructed them to hang up the phone.
I sympathize and understand people are frustrated and tired and angry at the world right now. 2020 has definitely been, in my opinion, the year of the Dumpster Fire. But realize that that’s not the fault of the person on the other side of your e-mail, live-chat, or telephone call. Practice a little civility, and the results will pay off for you. Be an asshat, and you can go somewhere else.
Shawne Kleckner, President
Right Stuf Inc.