Posted by Steve Gulsvig on Feb 08, 2018

I subscribe to one of those services that provides me with an endless supply of new razor blades, delivered according to my custom schedule. (The brand name ends with the same sound as roulette or Corvette). It really is a very good service, reasonably priced, and super convenient.

The other day, I wanted to start using one of those shiny, sharp blades. I pushed my razor into the holder, heard the affirming click, and pulled it out of its holster slot. As the blade came out, part of that magical silicone and gel strip simply crumbled off. A perfectly good blade was now worthless. These blades cost around $4 or $5 each, so not a really big deal. Except when I thought about it, it kind of was. What if there are more like it in this bunch? What if the entire bunch is bad and I’m out $20? Or worse, my next scheduled shipment isn’t for another three weeks, so I might have to actually go to a store and purchase blades. Oh, the horror of it all. Okay, now that I write this out, it seems pretty silly. But, I reasoned, the company would probably want to know about this problem, right?  

I spent a few minutes searching for their customer service email address and began to describe the situation. There was also an option to include a picture, so I set up the perfect shot to capture the faulty blade, took a picture with my iPhone, uploaded it to my iCloud, and then downloaded it as an attachment to my email. Okay, so I’m into this now for about 15 minutes. Not bad. I sent the email and received an automated response that I’d hear from someone within a few days.

I received a cordial email within two days. I was thanked for my description of the problem and the picture. I was assured that they would be forwarding my information to manufacturing or quality control or whatever concerned group appreciated my detailed information. However, the real satisfaction I derived for my efforts was being informed that I would soon be receiving (within 8-10 business days) a coupon for $5! Yay! Except, I can’t use it towards my subscription. When I inquired regarding the use of the coupon online towards my subscription or having them simply credit my online subscription for $5, they told me that they have no way to do that. Imagine. Proctor and Gamble doesn’t employ one IT or website person who’s smart enough to figure out how to credit their subscription customers a measly $5 to their account. I guess talented programmers are hard to come by.

So now, I have to actually go into a store, purchase a set of blades (reminder: the brand name ends with the same sound as roulette or Corvette), and then I can redeem my coupon. Awesome. I will spend an additional $20 to redeem a $5 coupon on a set of blades, all because I couldn’t resist telling the company they had a flaw in their blades. Of course, I can just choose to not redeem the coupon. If I hadn’t gone through all of the trouble to document and inform, I’d merely be out the cost of the one flawed blade (so far). Instead, I spent time writing an email, taking a picture, uploading and downloading the picture, printing a coupon, eventually going to a retail store and purchasing a set of blades, and ultimately, giving the offending company additional money for my troubles. By now you should be screaming, “Why did you waste your time on this?” Honestly, I thought they’d offer me an additional set of blades in my subscription or at least credit my account. Instead, they merely offered a coupon to buy more of their product. It’s brilliant from the company’s standpoint, but I’ve learned my lesson. Large corporations are not benevolent when it comes to individual customers. (Reminder: the brand name ends with the same sound as roulette or Corvette). Of course, they’re quite happy to give you a coupon for your troubles.