It used to be that you could incidentally be a dick to one insignificant customer and it was no big- your secret would remain safe and you could rest assured in the knowledge that one dude could take his business elsewhere with little to no threat of a large impact on your business.
The internet changed all that, and just like you can hit gold with a single popular video, you can send your whole web business up in a ball of flaming emails just by angering the wrong person. Such was the case this week with the spectacular blowout regarding Ocean Marketing (also misspelled by the owner as “Ocean Marketting”) and their unbecoming behavior in dealing with one guy who had the misfortune of ordering some kind of special Playstation controller from the apparently not-very-reputable online retailer.
It all started when a customer of Ocean Marketing- a man known only as Dave- emailed asking after the status of a months-old order for the gaming device. Met with a vague “Dec 17” reply, Dave asked again whether the items had been shipped, if they’d arrive on December 17th, and whether he’d be lucky enough to receive the controller by Christmas. The ensuing exchange- which ended up on Penny Arcade, the front page of Fark and sparked a bunch of fevered Twittering- reflected poorly on Ocean Marketing’s treatment of people who order from their company.
When Ocean Marketing’s Paul Christoforo responded that the items hadn’t even left China yet, Dave was understandably pissed and threatened to cancel his order and re-order to get a newly offered discount. Instead of apologizing for poor communication and a ridiculous delay, Christoforo replied in a very unfriendly way:
“Yes it can be used with xtend play if you remove the stand and no one is allowed to cancel and re order if we catch anyone doing it we will simply just cancel your order all together and you can buy it retail somewhere else… put on your big boy hat and wait it out like everyone else. The [coupon for a future order] is a token of our appreaciation [sic] for everyone no one is special including you or any first time buyer . Feel free to cancel we need the units were back ordered 11,000 units so your 2 will be gone fast. Maybe I’ll put them on eBay for 150.00 myself. Have a good day Dan.”
Eventually, Dave the Customer looped in several influential sites, but Penny Arcade took the exchange from “pissed off dude” to meme status. You can read the entire chain of emails here, but Christoforo has since been decried as unprofessional and kind of a douche by IGN as well as Engadget, in addition to the Penny Arcade ire and a thorough shellacking from the Fark commenters.