Tuesday, April 14, 2009
The pieces are still drifting.
I've come to a conclusion for my own actions. I'm not going to give Amazon my business.
Why? The way I see this, it's a huge gaping hole of customer service.
I've have relatively few problems over the years with Amazon. Oh, a couple of bumps -- an item sent to me incorrectly that I wanted to return to them, but that they would never arrange for me to return, items shipped incorrectly or late, things like that. Over some 14 years of dealing with them, nothing ever happened to completely discourage me. In general, I could get what I wanted from them without much trouble. Friends didn't have such luck, or were more sensitive to the errors -- I dunno -- but I heard more stories about what amounted to lack of customer service.
Then, as Amazon became THE online e-retailer, I started hearing more and more from writers I follow or knew about the importance of being on Amazon. It made sense -- giant online retailer, you want to be there. Brick and Mortar stores had buyers and limited shelf space, but Amazon didn't have those limitations. They sold everything, right? If you looked, you could find it.
And we had the Kindle appear and things got a little more complicated. Not every book would be converted for the Kindle, you know. Amazon could pick and chose what would be available to Kindle users. That bothered me. Amazon now had more influence over what could be published than a seller really should.
Now, this "ham handed and embarrassing catalog error" takes place, threatening many authors and setting both authors and customers on edge. Did we hear anything from Amazon? Not much. No "We realize there's a problem and we are looking into it" or "Amazon has no intention of removing LGBTQ authors from searches as a policy; we are having a problem on our end and we will correct it." So many things they could have said on Sunday would have headed off this fuss.
They didn't say one of them.
They didn't apologize. They didn't explain. They didn't speak about valuing the customers who buy or the authors who sell.
And that is "fuck you, gimme your money" customer service. I don't want any of it. Amazon still has some competition out there. There are other booksellers, online and local, who will offer to do more than sell me a book. They will treat me with some respect, and TALK TO ME when there is a problem. They realize that I have choices and can take my money elsewhere.
So, byebye, Amazon. I'll be clearing out as much of my personal information from you as I can today. You don't deserve my business. I'll let you know when you do.