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Extract a pound of flesh for a fallen button

June 15th, 2008

Here is a true story of a popped button. A customer purchased a shirt from MauiShirts.com’s mirrored listings on Amazon.com. A button fell off a shirt. The customer, being a lady, sent an email requesting a replacement button. Her email was not answered immediately. She then entered the following remarks in the public form of Amazon.com. “This shirt lost a button immediately. I contacted the seller, and never heard back from them. I will have to replace all the buttons on the shirt to make them match.

My response: (MauiShirts.com is entitled to have the last word when a customer leaves feedback). This is absolutely ridiculous! Why in the world would you post such utter nonsense? Buttons are FREE. All you have to do is ask. There is a toll free number to call. I have received no request from this person.

Now, you might say that was not such a bad thing for her to say. It was her experience and Amazon.com automatically asks all customers for feedback from their partner shops’ customers. But, you must realize that the MauiShirts.com customer feedback, now into the hundreds, from thousands of transactions, before her remark was at 100%. Her little remark of dissatisfaction knocked the positive feedback down to 96%. Not so bad. Well, I’m very sensitive about this sort of thing.

Then, as things go, her email is discovered in the spam, trash folder, along with the penis enlargement, Viagra and lottery scam emails. I replied to her email and asked for an address. She did not include an address to ship the buttons within all the pages of her email. My guess is she expected us to research her order, investigate the situation with the attempt to locate her address. And, I can only assume after due diligence the address located was where we should send the buttons. We can not assume anything in the Internet business. The address that you had your order shipped to, might not be the address where the buttons should be shipped to. There is little room for error. We can not, and will not, assume anything. All we ever ask is that you give us the information we need to ship you what you want.


Why did her email find itself into the spam, trash folder? Her email contained colored copy that she copied and pasted from the Amazon.com web page from where she originally placed her order, along with the detailed description of her order, her shipping tracking number, her order number and various Amazon.com hyperlinks. Naturally it found itself into the trash folder. Her email, several pages long, had everything, and then some, expect an address to ship the buttons.

Not realizing that this email was from the same person who entered the negative remarks within Amazon.com at first, I replied to her email asking for an address to send the buttons. That same day, two other customers requested buttons. This was coincidental, humorous and a little strange. I have never received more than three requests for buttons in any given year. I have been in business for almost ten years. MauiShirts.com ships over 30,000 garments a year. It is impossible to inspect every button before we ship. Possibly the breast or chest of this person caused the button to pop off. Possibly it was sewn on the shirt incorrectly. The apparel we sell is hand sewn and made it Hawaii. Possibly the sewer had a bad button machine or was having a bad day when the shirt was sewn.

Let me make this perfectly clear in case you lose a button. BUTTONS are FREE. All you have to do is ask by sending an email with a shipping address or call the toll free number. We pay the postage and gladly send them to you without hesitation.

I sent her an email requesting that she remove the negative remark. Here is a copy of my email:


You have published untrue, exaggerated feedback within the public forum of Amazon.com. Please remove your negative remarks.  Your comments are unfounded and have affected our ratings negatively. We at MauiShirts.com are hurt that you would say that we do not respond. Four people derive their income from our Amazon.com sales of our Made in Hawaii apparel.

You have affected our income by stating such nonsense. No other clothing company is more passionate with shipping to our customers and no other clothing company responds faster to customer concerns. Our customer’s positive feedback was 100% until you published your remarks. I do not see myself sending you free buttons and paying shipping charges to do so, with your remarks in the public forum. When they are removed, I will send the buttons.

I must interject here. After re-reading my email I must say that it was a bit exaggerated and a bit over the top. It did not get the response I was hoping for.

She responded:

Amazon solicited my feedback, and, my feedback was accurate to my experience.  I emailed requesting a replacement button on May 27, and at the time Amazon requested feedback almost two weeks later, I had still not heard a response, and, frankly was no longer expecting one.
Again, to be frank, I am not the least bit comfortable being held hostage by you to remove my feedback to replace a defective part on my shirt. My feedback was not unfounded or inaccurate.  You had not responded to my email.

I interject again. I like that part about the “..defective part of my shirt.” This could have been one of those Janice Jackson wardrobe malfunction incidents.

Finally, I never requested a free button, and would have been more than happy to pay for the button and shipping. I just wanted to be able to wear the shirt.
Now, I will NEVER do business with you again, and may revise my feedback with Amazon to reflect this most recent, and extremely inappropriate, email from you. Our business is concluded.

Well, then, she told me fair and square.

I then responded. I’m not one to take things sitting down. I stood up and replied:

Thank you for your reply. Your email was resting in trash folder on the Yahoo server. Had you not included bold colored numbers and copy into the body of your email it would have been answered in a timely fashion and it would not have found itself in the spam, trash folder. I filter through over 1,000 emails a week

All you had to do is call to have satisfaction. There is a toll free number to call. It is on ALL 3,000 pages of the main web site and a link is provided by Amazon.com on all listings.

Had you looked at the customer feedback from thousands of previously happy Amazon.com transactions you would have, or could have, concluded that something was amiss when you did not receive a response to your email. Instead of lashing out with some vindictive remark in the public forum, a simply phone call would have done the job.

It is not a perfect world. The Internet and email are not without error and omission.

There is no need to further threaten me.

I try very hard to make people happy.
I little respect is all that is necessary.

The only thing that is inappropriate is your jumping to conclusions over a few silly buttons.

Needless to say, there was no further communication.

Button, button, who’s got the button?



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