Please forgive the title of this article.  I know “Shitheel” can be an offensive word, but it is the perfect word to describe what happened to me on the phone last night with Payless ShoeSource Customer Service — and the “heel” in a “Shitheel” headline about a rotten shoe company was just too perfect to pass up.  Consider this story the perfect “Shitheel” shitstorm where all the crap in the world swirled into one, massively bungled, Public Relations and Customer Service nightmare and then shat on me.

The day before yesterday, I placed a big order for four pairs of men’s and women’s shoes on for $159.17 USD.  I liked Payless shoes.  Their shoes were cheap and good.  Oh, how I wish I’d remembered why I cannot afford cheap shoes.

The next day, expecting delivery, I went online to check my order status only to be met with this screen telling me my order had been CANCELLED!

Cancelled?  What?  Huh?  How is that possible?   I previously ordered from and and the same day without incident and their products were all arriving soon.  What happened with my Payless order?  It wasn’t declined by my credit card company:

I’d never had a problem with ordering from before, so I picked up the phone to find out why my order was cancelled and why nobody at Payless had let me know my shoes would not be arriving today.

I spoke to a Customer Service agent who told me I was not allowed to know what happened to my order.  She told me the security department cancelled my order and that was that.

I asked to speak to a Supervisor so I could make a formal complaint about the way my order was cancelled.  The Customer Service agent told me a Supervisor would tell me the same thing.

After a long wait on hold, Emily, a Supervisor at Payless ShoeSource, came on the phone and did, idiotically, parrot what I’d already been told:

EMILY:  Your order was cancelled because our security team uses thousands of parameters to decide if we process an order or not.  Your order did not meet our security standards and we cancelled it.

ME:  Why was my order cancelled?

EMILY:  We have no way of knowing why your order was cancelled.

ME:  Why can’t I know why my order was cancelled?  Why is that a secret?  Why wasn’t I sent an email or called on the phone to notify me there was a problem with my order so we could fix it and I could still get delivery tomorrow?

EMILY:  We have no way of knowing why your order didn’t pass our security measures.

ME:  What sort of answer is that?  How do I know the problem won’t happen again?  Why can’t you fix whatever was wrong with my order and then process it for me right now?

EMILY:  Your order was cancelled.  If you want to order from in the future, you need to go into a physical Payless shoe store, buy a gift card and then go home and use that gift card to pay for your online purchases.

ME:  What sort of answer is THAT?  You want to send me to a physical store to buy a gift card so I can buy online from you at home?  Do you see how that doesn’t make any logical business sense and wastes my time as a consumer?

I told Emily I really liked Payless shoes because they have a lot of Vegan styles that don’t use any leather, but I also told her, because of her responses to me, that I would never again buy from Payless and that I would encourage my friends and family and blog readers to do the same.

I immediately went online and placed a $200.00 USD order for a single pair of men’s Vegan boots with Moo Shoes.

I gladly walk away from Payless and I am thrilled to vote with my wallet — even though I’m now paying four times as much for one pair of shoes — and I properly leave behind the Payless ShoeSource Shitheels for some other gullible consumer hoping against a vague, and petty, Customer Service beat down in the name of “security” that punishes without protecting.


  1. I’m sorry about your terrible experience but I have to laugh a little because as I was reading I was about to suggest my favorite vegan store, Moo Shoes only to find you already had discovered it! 🙂 Their physical store is a delight to visit as well.

    1. It was an actual Twilight Zone moment with Payless on the phone last night. They cancelled my order and refused to tell me why so I could fix it and give them my money. I felt like some sort of criminal talking to them. It made zero sense on any level for Payless to treat a loyal customer like that and the longer I was spun around by Emily, the Supervisor — the angrier I became at the inanity of it all. Why did I bother to call to try to fix the problem?

      Yes, I love Moo Shoes. I find the store to be sort of antiseptic and cold — nobody really wants to wait on you and they never have my size in stock — so the distance of ordering from them on the web is reassuring… too bad they don’t have a lot of stuff in stock online, either.

  2. I am glad you walked away. Don’t give them money if they don’t want it. I guess Payless isn’t suffering in this terrible economy like so many other companies. I agree with Gordon and give all your business to Moo Shoes. They’ll appreciate it much more than the S-Heels.

    1. I think you’re right! Payless doesn’t care about customer happiness or retention. They just want us to go away if their “thousands” of security checks peck on your order in some odd, unknowable, way. It’s Moo Shoes from here on out, say I! SMILE!

  3. P.S.

    I tried to delete my Payless account last night. No way to do it. So I just changed all my identifying information to try to scrub myself from their system.

  4. a) I’ve never needed to shop online with that establishment
    b) I didn’t know they had an online presence (I should have, everyone else does)
    c) I’ve recently put my Payless Shoe covered foot in my mouth 🙂
    d) last but not least SECURITY reasons??? How Bizarre!

    1. Yes, totally strange. I haven’t purchased anything from them anywhere since I wrote that article. They don’t want my money — I don’t want their shoes!

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