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 Payless.com 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 Target.com and Gap.com and Kaz.com 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 Payless.com 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 Payless.com 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 Payless.com 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.