Friday, November 22, 2013

Here's what Mattel had to say about their terrible "GUP A" toy. (Life With Unicorns)

The other day I wrote about my displeasure with Fisher-Price and a crummy toy they made, a crummy toy in a line of crummy toys based on the "Octonauts," a toy so crummy that it made my son sob with sadness.

I emailed that complaint to Mattel and tried to post it on their website (I was unable to do so; it kept saying I didn't meet the age requirements) and posted it on Amazon.

I got THIS response back from Mattel:

Dear Ms. Pagel,
I'm so glad you contacted us! I was sorry to learn about your disappointing and upsetting experience with the Gup A Mission Vehicle. I can help you with this, I just need a little more information. I am not quite sure which Gup A Mission Vehicle you're asking about.
You can help us by e-mailing the product number or a detailed description of your product to us. The product number is usually five numbers or five characters beginning with a letter. It is located on the packaging above the barcode or can often be found on the bottom or back of your product.  Also, can you look for a manufacturing code that is engraved into the plastic?  It is four numbers followed by two letters.
Also, please send your mailing address.
If you would rather communicate with us by phone or Live Chat, please use this link to see our contact information:
We can't wait to hear from you!
Thanks,Susan CMattel Consumer Services Team

PS. Did you know you can visit us at for replacement parts, product information, and frequently asked questions?

I can forgive the "Ms," as many people make that mistake.  The rest is corporate nonsense, as demonstrated by my reply:

I have already thrown out the box for this toy.  However, the GUP A Mission Vehicle was both pictured (twice) in my complaint, and is locatable on your website.
I don't like to provide my mailing address for no reason whatsoever, but if you need to contact me, you may do so by this email, or by mailing to my office:

Briane F. Pagel, Jr.c/o Krekeler Strother, S.C.2901 W. Beltline Highway, Suite 301Madison, WI 53713

When I wrote, I was merely trying to bring this defect to your attention, as well as to warn others not to buy this toy.  I think that your response is disingenuous in its suggestion that you could not identify the toy, and in seeking my mailing address.
Originally, I was going to simply write the review and leave it.  Now, though, I would like my $19.99 plus tax back.  Sales tax in Wisconsin is 5.5%, so the tax is $1.10.

 Please send me $21.09, payable to me, at the address above.  Please do so by the end of November, 2013. 

Briane Pagel

The reason we throw out the box is that if Mr Bunches gets used to having the box around, he will always associate it with the toy, and have to have the box forever, and we don't want crummy old ratty cardboard laying around.  But more importantly, the response points out that Mattel was simply dodging the issue.

There is only ONE GUP A vehicle toy, period. ONE.  And even if there were MORE THAN ONE, I sent a picture.

I was, as I said, simply going to complain.  Now, I think I might take this to small claims court.  I'd like to sue Mattel for $21.09.  I frequently tell my clients that the only thing corporations understand is money.  Until you cost them money, they do not care.  So maybe I will have to pay $85 to file a small claims summons and complaint, pay $35 to serve it on Mattel's corporate representative in Wisconsin, and then go down to the return date to get a judgment for $21.09 plus my costs -- and Mattel would have to pay just over $100 -- assuming they didn't hire a lawyer to defend it -- because they had a stupid corporate representative who thought it would be funny to try to play stupid corporate mind games with a consumer lawyer.

A REAL response would have been "We are so sorry about that, we don't want kids to cry, can we replace the toy for you or maybe offer you a small store credit or just say we are very sorry?"  I wasn't even asking for money.  I just wanted them to know their toy sucked, and they responded with Corporate Smarm.

Corporations may be people, but they are people that I hate.

My original post here.


Rusty Webb said...

Corporations tend to be pretty heartless, as far as people go, they're among the worst sometimes. Of course, they're responsible only to their shareholders, and as long as they can get away with it, no one else.

I've often envisioned purchasing controlling stock in every corp that pisses me off and then firing everyone... then I remember that I'd be out trillions of dollars if I did that, which meant I had trillions of dollars to start with. Then I wonder why I would choose to fantasize that I'm a multi-trillionare only to spend my money purchasing companies and firing people. Because the more I think of it, I'd only end up hurting the numerous people who actually need their jobs, and doing nothing to the high paying folks that actual set policy, approve sub-standard products, and would have no problems getting equivalent roles at other heartless corporations.

So, in the end, I'm just tired and need a nap. Who knew revenge fantasies were so much stress?

Briane P said...

I literally have nothing to add to that. I don't even know why I'm talking. You just summed up the beauty, and misery, of capitalism in one paragraph, and topped it with a siesta. Like a metaphor sandwich, topped with the parsley of analogy.

Briane P said...

Only after I typed that did I realize that I made a simile of a metaphor.

Nigel G. Mitchell said...

So what was it that made him cry? Did the toy break or not do what it was supposed to do?

Andrew Leon said...

Corporations are only people to their Republican overlords. I only say it that way in that corporations tend to prefer Republicans which tells me that they must be the overlords. Except, actually, I'm sure it's the corps that are the overlords.

Liz A. said...

There's this great documentary called "The Corporation" that talks about why these things came to be and... Oh, I don't recall all of it now. Anyway, they went on to compare a corporation to a person as in if you were to judge a corporation as you do a person, the corporation is a sociopath.

Kinda says it all.

Briane P said...

Nigel: it was poorly constructed and wouldn't seal up. It's a SUBMARINE.

Andrew & Liz: I try not to judge all corporations by one example. I help run a corporation, after all -- my firm is a "service corporation."

But when something goes wrong with one of our products (legal advice) we make it our number one priority to respond to the complaint. Often, my first question to a disgruntled client or other person interacting with us is "How can I make you happy again?"

Note that I don't say "Hmmm, I'd like to want to help you out, do you have a secret 14-digit code that would allow me to go on talking to you?"