Seriously, Who Writes This Stuff?

On June 2, I ordered a pair of jeans on According to the original order confirmation, the jeans should have been delivered by June 13. Today is June 14 and I have yet to receive the jeans, but I did get this email from the company.

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > >
Dear Roger Marquis,

Thanks for shopping We will be unable to ship the merchandise listed below until 2013-07-12T23:59:59-04:00. If you don’t want to wait, you may cancel your order by calling our toll-free customer service number, 1.800.GAPSTYLE (1.800.427.7895). If you have already been charged for the merchandise you will receive a full refund.

If we do not hear from you before we ship the merchandise, we will assume that you have consented to this shipment delay.

If we may be of further assistance, please reply via email at

Thanks again for your order and remember if you want the merchandise, there is no need to call.

Customer Services

> > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > > 

And, so I ask, who writes this stuff? Better yet, who approves this as their corporate communications strategy and believes it makes sense?

First, if a company is going to personalize an email, shouldn’t the personalization be stylistically correct to begin with? Who writes a business letter, or even a personal letter, using first and last name in the greeting? If the company has the data, which I assume is already parsed in the database, why not simply write ‘Dear Roger’ or ‘Dear Mr. Marquis’?

Second, why am I getting an email a day after the date I was originally suppose to receive the merchandise just to inform me that the merchandise has not shipped on time? Wouldn’t the company know ahead of time, instead of at the last minute, that shipping dates were slipping? Why should an email like this come after the fact?

Third, why am I being given the year, month, day and time when the order will now ship in a format that’s not easy to decipher (2013-07-12T23:59:59-04:00)? Is that July 12 or December 7, 2013? And, do I really need to know the time it will ship? Is that Eastern Time, Pacific Time, Greenwich Mean Time, Zulu Time? Why not take the ‘time’ to filter information, so it makes sense and, more importantly, seems as though a human actually wrote the email in the first place?

Fourth, why does the company jump to the immediate conclusion, or make the immediate assumption, that I no longer wish to wait for or want the merchandise any longer (If you don’t want to wait, you may cancel your order by calling our toll-free customer service number…)? Wouldn’t it be more friendly, and go that much further with respect to building customer loyalty and positive word-of-mouth, if the email read, “Thank you for your recent order. Unfortunately, we are unable to ship your merchandise by the date stated in your original order confirmation, so please accept this discount coupon, free t-shirt, you fill in the blank, as our apology for this inconvenience. Your order will be shipped on, etc., etc….”? Sure, no company what’s to give out discounts and free merchandise if it doesn’t have to, but to do so in a strategic and calculated manner, a customer-driven manner, I believe, more than justifies the cost.

Fifth, does the word ‘consented’ really need to be in an email like this (If we do not hear from you before we ship the merchandise, we will assume that you have consented to this shipment delay.)? It’s hardly customer-friendly and strikes me as though I have moved from simply being updated on the status of an order to interacting with some sort of legal document.

Sixth, what’s a few extra letters in an email address? The company can’t spell out, instead they have to abbreviate it custserv? Is that supposed to be cool and hip and reflective of the brand, like using the word ‘thanks’ instead of ‘thank you’?

Seventh, can’t the email be signed by an individual in customer service or any other department, as opposed to the impersonal and very generic gap.comTo me this indicates that no one in the company really wants to take ownership of a customer service issue, let alone anything else. How unfortunate. At a time when an individual or group can shine, just the opposite takes place here.

Enough, I’ll stop there.

If this email is a reflection of how conducts business, I truly wonder how they are able to retain customers and grow sales. And, the kicker of it all, I’m not even given a reason as to why my order can’t be processed on time, let alone in another month. Is my size so out of the norm, did the container fall off the ship, did the company run out of denim? What can cause a 30-day delay? Can’t the company find the jeans I want in a bricks-and-mortar store and facilitate the order that way? Oh, that’s right, on-line and off-line are probably looked upon as silos and kept separate from one another. Does the term omni-channel retailing mean anything?

At a time when online business is supposed to be quick and easy (i.e., frictionless), my interaction and experience with has been anything but. Will I ever shop there again, probably not. Stay tuned.


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