My apologies in advance for the horrible formatting and the terrible length of this post. I’ve messed with it, but can’t get it right, and I’ve thought about editing out the email exchanges, but I want to provide you with all the information so you can make your own informed judgement.
(I wrote a shorter version of this sans the lengthy email exchanges. Read it here. Sorry, still can’t get that wall of text to look better with some freaking spaces.)
It took me half the day, a glass of wine and about 100 deep breaths to come to the point where I feel like I can blog about this in the most objective manner possible. I struggled with whether or not to write anything on here about my experience with Dimples Cupcakes all day, simply because of what I have already endured after merely posting one calmly worded negative review of my experience with them on a local message board. But to think a CEO of a local company believes he can get away with treating anyone like this, just ticks me off. I refuse to be bullied. I refuse to be scared by his threats. Just as I would tell you all about a company or service that I love, and have many times before, I’m going to be upfront with you all about my unfortunate experiences with this company.
I reached out to Dimples a month or so ago after I saw that they planned to open a location in a local mall I sometimes take Kendall to for playdates. I asked if they could donate a door prize and maybe even some goodie bag stuffers for a fundraiser this weekend that I’m co-hosting to raise money for my marathon for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. Here is what I wrote on the board.
Not so happy with this company
I’ve been looking forward to Dimples Cupcakes opening in Willow Bend for a while now. When Liz and I started planning our MNO fundraiser I contacted them to see if they would donate a door prize and maybe some goody bag stuffers. Obviously, it would benefit us, but it would also be a great way for them to get their info out there to a set of consumers in their target market.
The man I have dealt with from the beginning started out telling me it “shouldn’t be problem!” and that he just had to confirm some stuff. I sent him the info over a month ago, have followed up various times only to get the “I’ve been busy, still need to check” line from him. And each time he got increasingly more rude on the phone to me. Finally, I called today to see if he could finally confirm everything for this weekend and he was terribly rude. He went on and on about how they give so much and are so busy and acted as if he hadn’t even really considered our proposal at all.
Listen, I’m not mad about being told no. That’s understandable. What I am mad about was his attitude and that he wasted my time.
Don’t think I’ll be lining up for any of their cupcakes any time soon. Oh well.
As you can read, and what is hopefully evident, what I was upset about was the way I was treated by a representative of their company, NOT that I didn’t receive a donation. I even reiterated that in a response later in the thread
I don’t get my feelings hurt when people tell me no. I realize that not everyone can give to everything. That’s life, that’s business. Just don’t waste my time. Ugh.
The thread, which you can read by going here, up until this morning had fewer than 170 views and only 5 responses. Was I annoyed with the way I was treated? Yes. Was I now considering not going to their grand opening? Certainly. Was I going to boycott their company forever? Probably not. Cupcakes usually win out. Was I encouraging anyone else to boycott their company forever? Definitely not. At least, not up until today.
This was an email I received from the CEO of Dimples Cupcakes this morning.
I was shocked today when I noticed that you had posted a very derogatory story on a blog about Dimples Cupcakes. Dimples Cupcakes takes great pride in the fact that as a start-up company we donate to charitable causes on a weekly basis. We spend more money on charitable donations then we do on our advertising budget. I think it is terribly unfair that you would write a blog that is completely non reflective of the principals of Dimples Cupcakes.
We are very proud of the fact that we have NEVER had a negative article, review, or customer complaint every published on the Internet or any other media. We have certainly never had someone that was not granted a request for a contribution/ advertising contract to conduct them self in such a reckless manner. I am struggling to wrap my mind around the concept of someone participating in such a noble cause, as to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation and when your request was not granted you post blogs about that company.
Clearly I can not control what you choose to post on the Internet, however I hope you realize as one reads your post, it totally diminishes your cause. I would think that this is a terrible reflection on the charities that you represent. I would respectfully request you reconsider your actions and remove your posting or I will immediately response to your blog posting and fully disclose the full scope of this situation including your name and contact information along with any and all organizations whom you may represent. *
I certainly think that you should be very specific with your sales calls not to mix different events and different causes that gave the totally wrong appearance. I await your response, as I have place a call to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Foundation and TheBump.com.
Bolding was done by me
*as a side note to the story, I had also sent a media kit to Dimples for a company that I occasionally freelance for.
This was my first email response back to the CEO:
I would love to speak with you further about this issue as I feel there are many miscommunications involved. Would you like to call me? I feel like it will be easier to openly communicate in a transparent manner over the phone versus email, which can get confusing. My phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx. I look forward to hearing from you.
After an hour and no phone call, I sent a second email.
I had hoped to get a call from you by now, but since I haven’t I will address some of your points in email while my son naps.
The message I posted on TheBump.com was an honest account of the way I was treated by (name removed) at your company. The fact that the “story” that it told may be non-reflective of the principals of Dimples, is not my fault. I was treated unprofessionally by (name removed), and if that is not a manner in which you want your company to be known for conducting business, then, perhaps, that is something you need to take up with him, and not lash out at me for posting my honest account of the exchange of communication between us.
I will, again, reiterate that my disappointment did not result from anything to do with my relationship with (name removed) and I will forward you the email that I sent (name removed) this morning clarifying that.
I will also point out that my post did not even hint at me being upset with not receiving a donation. I think it’s wonderful that Dimples gives so much, and I commend you for that. I mentioned in my post both here:
Listen, I’m not mad about being told no. That’s understandable. What I am mad about was his attitude and that he wasted my time.
And in my response here:
Exactly, Char. I don’t get my feelings hurt when people tell me no. I realize that not everyone can give to everything. That’s life, that’s business. Just don’t waste my time. Ugh.
I understand that companies can not always give to every organization that contacts them. The only thing I said I was upset about in my post and in my reply was the way I was treated by a representative of your company. I felt (name removed) wasted my time and treated me disrespectfully. Honestly, had I had any idea how to contact a CEO, I would have asked to speak to you to express my disappointment before posting this message, but (name removed) was very evasive and would never tell me the names or contact information of any other “decision makers” at your company, leading me to believe he was in a leadership position. You can hopefully understand, then, how upsetting it was to feel like I had been treated so
poorly by such a person.
Also, my experiences with your company have NOTHING to do with the validity and honor of the charities I represent. I work hard to raise money for these valuable causes, dealing with companies dayin and day out who treat me kindly and professionally. Many of them are unable to help me by
donating, and they tell me so in a timely, professional matter, and I move on. If I was upset with every company who has denied my request for a donation and, as you have accused me of doing, posted derogatory stories about my dealings with them because of it, that board would have many, many more posts. But, as I have expressed time and time again, my disappointment does not come from being told no.
I do apologize for “mixing” my cause with business. I felt at the beginning that (name removed) and I had a casual dialogue, and I honestly just thought you all would be interested in what (name removed) had to offer. However, I never meant for him to think that one had anything to do with the other, and I believe I was very clear about that in all my communication with him.
I have to say, I am upset that instead of reaching out to me to hear more of my side of the story, you have instead threatened me. I will tell you that TheBump.com will not allow any sort of posting of any personal information, and if you do so, I will not hesitate to get a lawyer involved. What I have done is not at all against any sort of law, what you are threatening certainly is.
If you would like for me to remove the post, trying to scare me is not the way to go about it. I truly hope you take me up on the offer to speak over the phone. My son will be sleeping for a couple more hours and I will be free to talk with no interruptions.
After a couple hours, my phone rang. What I will tell you from here on will obviously be my take on the conversation. I will do my very best to remember what was said and give you an honest account. Obviously, you know that this is my side of the story.
The conversation started off with a series of apologies from Chad, but each was followed with an excuse. “I’m sorry you feel that way, but we’ve been under a lot of stress…” “I’m sorry you got that impression, but he’s a great guy and that’s not like him at all…” Not my ideas of sincere apologies, but whatever. I was open to hearing him out. I was open to communicating. I was, after all, the one who encouraged him to call me to discuss this matter.
Then he started telling me how my post was the only negative comment his company has ever received and it was irresponsible of me to post it just because I was mad I didn’t get a donation. I explained in very clear terms AGAIN that I was not upset that his company was unable to donate to my fundraiser. I was upset with the way my time was wasted and the way I was treated by his employee. I asked how it would be any different if I was treated poorly by an employee while ordering cupcakes. He insisted it was very different because I was obviously just mad about the donation.
We went back and forth for a little bit, recounting each of our sides of the story. He kept trying to explain why this person may have treated me badly or, at least, why I would “feel” that he treated me badly.
Again, a couple “I’m sorry, but”s thrown in. I tried to explain that this was merely a vent about poor customer service to a group of girls who I’m close with. Had this been five or ten years ago, I would have possibly vented about it to some friends over coffee or on the phone, but that, in this day and age, he has to accept that unfavorable reviews like this are going to pop up on the internet and he should be confident enough in his company to know that one bad review is not going to do a lot of damage if there are ten other positive ones that outweigh it. I also explained that if what he wanted me to do was to remove my post, he certainly wasn’t getting there by threatening me, like he did in his first email to me.
At another point in the conversation we had some sort of exchange about respecting customers, to which he told me that I “wasn’t a customer”. I explained that I was a potential customer and he retracted with, “Well *everyone’s* a potential customer and you’re not treating me with a lot of respect by posting that.” Confused, I moved on. Then it was back to me being upset with them because I didn’t get the donation. Seriously. It did not compute. I can’t believe I had to do so much explaining. This is when I started to get really irritated. He again implied that my post was spurred by not getting the donation and I finally cut him off. I did raise my voice a bit, because I was sick of being accused of something I clearly did not do.
I told him I would not allow him to tell me anymore that I was posting out of anger over the lack of donation. He then asked why I posted on the message board anonymously to which I had to LOL a bit, and then, possibly with a snarky tone, told him that he needed an education in the way the internet, blogs and message boards work. Well, that set him off. He told me, (this is all paraphrased to the best of my memory) “No wonder he was rude to you if this is the way you act!… You are a piece of work… I know what type of person you are and I’m sure with your personality type you deal with this a lot… I’m done talking to you… You are irrational and can’t be spoken to… I don’t know where you are from, but if you plan on doing any fundraisers in this town you better watch out because it is a small world… I will ruin your reputation in this town (<<<THAT, I know he said word for word)”
I calmly said, “Chad, I apologize for raising my voice” and went on to tell him a little bit about how a message board works and how I wasn’t posting “anonymously”. I was posting under a screen name, and then told him all the reasons why it would be bad to post personal info there like my phone number and home address, like he implied he would do in his threat to me. He expressed that he was upset that I didn’t sign that post with my first and last name (and now a roaring LOL from the internet community) or the companies I represent.
Well, last I checked, if a person works for, say, Dell and they write that they aren’t happy with the way the guy at Subway treated them, that doesn’t mean that Dell is now not happy with Subway, right? I mean, unless he was writing on Dell’s behalf, and I wasn’t writing on anyone’s behalf but my own. Okay, this is all obvious to everyone, right? Then, at some point toward the end, he called me “Diabolical” more than once. I was so taken aback, I thought I heard him wrong. I asked him to repeat what he just called me and he said, “you are diabolical”. Then again threatened with the reputation thing. He told me to have my lawyers contact his because he was going to take further action.
There was some legal banter back and forth. I let him know that I had already notified TheBump.com and the LLS and forwarded all chains of communication to both of them. Then he floored me by asking what city I live in. I told him that’s none of his business and I wasn’t going to tell him. He then asked where my phone number was from. I told him that there was no way I was telling him anything about my location. Then I calmly said, “I’m done talking with you, Chad. Good bye,” and hung up.
I’m really, really trying to think if I called him any names, but I swear, I really don’t think I did. I’m trying to think if there was anything I said to him that was disrespectful other than the snarky internet education comment, but I truly don’t think I did. I really held my composure for the most part, except when I did raise my voice a little after getting so aggravated with the incessant accusations. I am just… just… astounded by the way he treated me.
Prior to today I probably would have ended up purchasing a Dimple’s Cupcake at some point in the near future. And, had he emailed me with an open mind, asked to hear my side of the story, took at least partial responsibility for the way I was treated without making excuses, I would have at least considered posting an update to the original message board post saying that the company went out of their way to make things right. All would have been well, damage would have been controlled and I would not be blogging about this tonight for thousands to see.
But, no, Chad. I will not be bullied into removing a negative review of your company. And I really have to wonder if these scare tactics are the reason why you can say there are no negative reviews of your company out there. I stand behind what I said, but you should know that your actions today have eclipsed any negative experience I’ve had with your employees up to this point x 100. You said you would “ruin my reputation” so consider this my preemptive strike.
Associated with nobody except myself and this blog, which is read by hundreds, if not thousands of DFW area residents
Edited on December 11, 2009 to add this email I received from Chad on December 8, 2009
I would like to apologize for everything I have said to you or written in an email. I am not attempting to make any excuses for the way I handled the situation and the tone I took. I wanted to apologize immediately after this unfortunate event, however I did not want to appear insincere in light of your blog postings. Again, I obviously handled myself in an inexcusable manner and upset you terribly. I can only say I am sorry and would like to more than simply send an email.
Dimples Cupcakes would be very happy to make frequent donations to the charity of your choice. We would also like to display your charity on our website to bring additional awareness to your cause. I know how passionate you are about the cause you champion and together we could do great things to benefit it. I hope you do not think of this as a way to encourage you to take down your blogs, as I am very aware they have been up for some time. Please share your thoughts.
I’ve passed the information for the North Texas chapter of Team In Training and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on to him.