I am pleased to report that The Squirrelologist is alive and well. After a lengthy absence due to an extensive field study I am back to report on my squirrelly findings.
The” most squirrelly corporate behavior and example of bait and switch tactics Bad Nut Award” goes to Vistaprint. It seems that the powers that be at Vistaprint have not gotten the notice that you are supposed to honor the prices you clearly advertise.
Your very own Squirrelologist went to Vistaprint to order some business cards for his other nut collecting ventures. The site very clearly promotes 500 business cards for $10. Should you go to the “premium business cards” link and follow it to the pricing you will find the same great price. Follow the links at that bottom of the page to pricing and yet again, the same prices clearly listed. Sounds great so far. Now start to place an order, it gets even better. The site tells you that shipping on card orders in quantities over 500 is free. This deal just keeps getting better and better. But wait, this can’t be so. Nothing is this good, and this company is no exception.
Since this deal seemed so good I decided to order three different sets of cards. What did I discover, the first set costs the advertised price but the second two sets cost three times as much. It’s not the price that bothers me so much as the fact that no where on the site does it say the listed prices are only applicable to the first item ordered and additional items will have different prices.
Finding this bait and switch somewhat disturbing I decide to investigate this squirrelly behavior and call customer service. The first individual I get listens to my complaint and says he can see about creating a different offer to improve the price. Already a bad sign of worse things yet to come. The representative comes back with a new offer that brings the cost down significantly, though still not as low as it should be if they honored their advertised prices. And to make matters worse, suddenly there are shipping costs. And we are not just talking about average shipping costs, these are grossly inflated shipping costs with a significant profit margin built-in.
Shocked at this outrageous bait and switch I ask to speak to a supervisor to share the fact that California frowns on companies not honoring their advertised prices. I am connected to the soon to be infamous customer service supervisor Latoya in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Latoya appears to have a very distinct job, to be as rude and argumentative as possible with customers. Latoya’s response to my requests to be shown anywhere on the Vistaprint site that the advertised prices are only applicable to one item and that other items will be charged at different prices is to essentially go $#*% myself. She raises her voice to a near yelling volume, constantly tries to interrupt when the other party is speaking and tries to speak over them to shut down whatever they are trying to say. It seems that if you are right about something and Vistaprint is wrong, the corporate policy is to yell at you until you give up and go away.
Little did Vistaprint and Latoya know, they were dealing with the Squirrelologist. A trained expert in researching just this sort of squirrelly behavior. In addition to sharing this story with all of the faithful Squirrelologist readers, it was also shared with Dennis Rockstroh, consumer advocate and writer of the Action Line column in the San Jose Mercury News. Dennis and his consumer advocate colleagues share in much of the initial inspiration for The Squirrelogist. Be a good nut and read Dennis’s column and send him or your local advocate your reports about lousy business practices at Vistaprint and other companies. They can help.
So to Vistaprint, our Bad Nut of the Day award and two pieces of advice, honor your advertised prices and be honest and clear about any changes or limitations, and show Latoya the door.
****Special Tom Brady Bieber hairdo update****
After extensive observation the Bieberific object observed on Tom’s head over the last few months appears to be an as yet unidentified species. This species seems to have an unexplainable behavioral impact on adolescent girls and underwear models. It does however seem to have a negative impact on Tom Terrific’s quarterback skills. 131 completions for 198 attempts and only 1362 yards through 7 weeks. Even Alex Smith has thrown for more yards, Yikes. The Pats are 5-1 but it will be hard to maintain that spot behind the Jets with Brady’s Bieber chasing off Moss like talent. Rumor has it that the Bradber bit Fred Taylor’s foot and is responsible for his missing so much time.