An Open Letter to Mark Shale

Dear Mark Shale of Chicago,

My name is Trevor. I recently learned of your retailer through Blake men’s clothing company, an imprint of Item House, Inc., while shopping for a new winter coat. Their website informed me that your stores carry their products, and a quick internet search showed that you have three stores in the Chicagoland area. As I am in Chicago several times a year, I thought this was a great opportunity to check out your store and put money into the local economy.

While browsing your website Wednesday (Dec. 28), I discovered that your list of retailers did not include Blake. As I didn’t want to waste a trip to your stores without knowing if I would find their collection on your racks, I wanted to contact you. I thought that asking directly through social media would lead to an informed, friendly answer.

I saw and Liked your Facebook page (I was #726) the same day and noticed that I could post on your company page’s wall–which had lots of corporate posts about your products and prices. “After all,” I thought, “they must want people to ask them questions if they allow people to post on their page.” So I posted my question (this is the exact one):

“Does your Michigan Ave. store carry the Blake Men’s Collection? Item House Inc. (Blake) lists your store as one of their retailers. Thanks!”

So I waited a day and did not get a notification about my question. I went onto your company page and noticed that my question was gone. No response, no explanation on the page nor in my messages. (Luckily, Facebook saved the post, which explains why I quoted it exactly.) I was understandably bothered by this. “Was the question in poor taste?” I wondered. It did not appear so. I looked back at your company wall and only noticed those corporate posts and the occasional response from the page’s friends.

My guess is that your social media person, and the company by extension, does not like people asking questions or making unique posts on your company wall. I would have abided by this unexplained rule if there was a rule in print to go by. Therefore, the move to delete friend (customer) feedback smacks of a lack of positive customer service. If you do not want your  “friends”  to post on the page, it would help to not allow people to make individual posts on your wall.

Like all customers, I prefer positive customer service from businesses. The deletion of my Facebook wall post does not strike me as positive customer service. Because of this, I Unliked your page. More than that, and going forward, I will not shop at your stores. I will not only not recommend your company to others, I will tell them of my experience and persuade them not to shop at your stores. I will post this letter online, including several websites with loyal, large followings.

Social media is a two-way street. It takes a person effort to communicate to an audience, and it takes another to respond. Because of your approach to wall off your communication, I will use my means to spread the word that your business is not one to invest money in. I know that I will not be spending my money at your stores.

Wishing you the best,

Trevor (aka Genial Black Man)

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