I mentioned in my (non-)resolution post that I wasn’t entirely sure I would participate in one of the yearlong challenges I was contemplating because of some recent events that had left me feeling a bit disenchanted. As of today I have made up my mind. Before I go on I want to stress one thing: I have no wish to deter anyone from participating in this photography challenge. This is purely my experience and my personal feelings.
Yesterday I unrolled my yoga mat, placed a foam block and my water bottle on top of it and took a photo. It was set up and taken specifically for Project Life 365 to represent the day’s theme of “resolution.” You might have seen the image, but it’s since been deleted.
On Sunday I purchased a copy of the field guide, which isn’t required to participate but was advertised as a good source of inspiration and I thought might be a beneficial read with a year of daily photos looming ahead of me. It should be noted that due to the nature of my work through ICGOLD Photography I’ve made use of many of Design Aglow‘s products; I’ve always found them completely worth the investment. So, anyway, I jumped right into reading the guide and for the most part I thought it was worth the $25; however, it contained numerous typographical errors beginning with the very first sentence. Not just missing words or simple errors spell check would overlook, but incomplete URLs, duplicated sentences and poor grammar. Honestly, it didn’t just seem like it could use to be copy edited, but that it hadn’t had even a cursory second glance given to it.
This is not what I’ve come to expect of DA’s products, so when I saw the guide being pushed again on the challenge’s Facebook page, I left a comment stating this fact. Now looking back I admit it wasn’t the most constructive comment I’ve ever written and this might not have been the best venue to disseminate such information, but in any case a few hours later I noticed that other comments had received replies and mine had been deleted. There was no mention on the page about the discovery of any errors in the guide and so my only conclusion was that my comment had been purposefully ignored.
I left a second comment, stating again that the guide had errors and that I was quite frankly offended that I’d been ignored and my comment deleted. I also posted this on Facebook, which I still maintain is an important aspect of utilizing social media as a business. About an hour later I noticed that my second comment was also deleted and that I no longer had the ability to leave comments or post on the page. Before I could turn into a mass of boiling rage, I received an email from one of the staff at Design Aglow regarding my comment. We emailed back and forth for the next hour. I gave a vague explanation of the errors I’d found in the field guide, noting that I wasn’t about to look up each specific instance since there were so many. And let’s face it, I wasn’t going to do their work for them. I also stated that I was more upset with how things had been handled: that my first comment was ignored and deleted; that rather than acknowledge the issue upfront I was privately emailed after my second comment was also deleted; and that I seemed to have been blocked from their Facebook page.
The person I was emailing with wasn’t aware of what had transpired before my second comment, but did apologize for the situation. I was told that their preferred method for customer service was direct communication rather than utilizing Facebook. I was assured that the guide would be proofed and there was a lengthy explanation given as to the cause of the errors. I was told I’d be sent a new copy and I was offered a credit to the store in the amount I’d spent. Both of which I refused because (a.) I’d already read the guide, errors and all and didn’t need a second copy; (b.) I wasn’t so upset by the product itself as to need an incentive to maintain my business with the company; (c.) regardless of their policy, I still felt that contacting me privately after deleting my comments was trying to hide the issue from public scrutiny; but mostly (d.) absolutely no acknowledgement was made whatsoever about the fact that I’d been blocked from their Facebook page. I mentioned it in two emails. And I even tweeted about it.
I’ve stated my feelings before about not utilizing Facebook properly as a business. If you aren’t going to allow for feedback from your customers, then I don’t really see the point. Mostly, though, banning me from any further comments makes me feel like my opinions don’t matter. I was willing to accept that it was a snap judgment or even a mistake, but since no one will acknowledge that it even happened I’m left feeling that it was intentional. Further, now it’s impossible for me to participate in the challenge via one of their main social networks! [EDIT: Seems they have an FB group set up for the purpose of sharing photos.]
In specific to my issue with the product, the only means of contacting them is through a form on the website. There isn’t any clear direction that you can or even should use it if you have a product issue, which doesn’t instill much confidence in me that I would have received a reply. Whereas they seem quite active on social media and do interact with customers. However I have since noted that I don’t see anything specifically negative on their wall or in comments. More to the point, I wasn’t exactly in need of support, which is why I left the comment initially rather than go the length of officially contacting them.
What I find the most confusing and bothersome is that they emailed me from the address I placed my order, which isn’t the same email I use on Facebook by the way. Not that I’m attempting any type of anonymity, but they could have messaged me through Facebook. Since being contacted, though, that email I used to order things has been subscribed to at least two of their mailing lists. Interesting fact? I was already subscribed to their mailing lists but with an entirely different email that isn’t easily associated with my name so I’ve since been receiving duplicate messages and so far as I know I only opted in with one email. In the end I’m just very conflicted about the entire thing. I’m not claiming their customer service is lax or their products are sub-par, but I am more than a little offended and so I don’t really feel like being a part of their community challenge.
I’m not turned off to all the challenges I vaguely mentioned before, though, and I do still intend to keep up with the photo-a-day goal. In fact, I am hoping to drag a friend with me to wander through Vale Park later today. I’ve never been and something about the idea of a cemetery covered in snow is hauntingly beautiful to me.