As I See It? 6-23
Sunday, December 9, 2007

By Jasmyne A. Cannick

First of all, thanks for all of the support from me and my sister Jorjanna.  All of the letters to the management of Zappos, have really made a difference.  So much so, that I received the following email from the CEO of Zappos this week:

Dear Jasmyne,

First and foremost, I would like to thank you for taking the time to write about and contact us about your sister's experience at one of our outlet stores. It really saddens me to hear that your sister was so upset, and I can understand why she felt that way. I would be upset as well if I felt that I was being racially profiled. While we strive to provide the very best customer experience to all of our customers, there is always room for improvement, and certainly the last thing we want to do is have even a single customer go through an unpleasant experience.

Our outlet store on Maryland Parkway has unfortunately been a victim of multiple thefts. These thefts are either from people who come in and literally run out of the store with  a pair of shoes, or more commonly, from people who carry in large handbags or backpacks and then stash the shoes in their bag and walk out.

We've done a few things to try to address the theft issue. For example, we ask customers with large bags to check their bags at the front of the store. My understanding was that your sister was asked to check her bag but told our staff that she preferred to carry the bag. If a customer does not want to check his or her bag, then our staff is instructed to keep a closer eye on customers that use our bathrooms, because from past experience we've learned that that is typically the location where a thief would transfer shoes into his or her bag.

Unfortunately, because your sister through no fault of her own happened to fit the above behavioral criteria, our staff was simply following instructions to be extra watchful. I offer this not as an excuse, but simply as an explanation, and we would like to improve on our training and processes so that future customers do not feel uncomfortable.

So if you and your sister are open to the idea, I would like to take both of you out to lunch so we can discuss your sister's experience and the challenges with theft that we are having at our outlet store. I would love to get both of your ideas on how we can make the experience for all of our customers better while at the same time addressing the theft issue.

I would also love to give both of you a tour of our corporate offices in Henderson.

Is this something you and your sister would consider? Thanks for taking the time to read my email, and more importantly thanks for taking the time to share your and your sister's concerns with us. Also, since I do not have your sister's email address, if you could forward this email to her that would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

Tony Hsieh

I explained to Tony that that his staff is not telling him the truth.  Neither myself nor my sister were asked to check in our purses.  Mine wasn't as large as my sister's was, but nevertheless, we entered the store together and were not asked to check our purses.  And just to make sure that I wasn't mistaken, I just called my sister to double check and she confirmed this.
Again, I appreciate Zappos getting back to us however, this still isn't resolved in my eyes.  And to now add to it that the employees are obviously trying to cover up their mistake only makes it worse.  They need to just own up to what they did to my sister.
I suggested to Tony that if his store has cameras that record the front door entrance which is a few feet away from the register, where most of your employees were when we entered, he should be able to go back and see that no one approached us about our bags.
So that’s where we are right now.  Tony is checking into the video and says that Zappos is still undergoing an internal investigation as to what exactly happened.

At 30, Jasmyne Cannick is a critic and commentator based in Los Angeles who writes about the worlds of pop culture, race, class, and politics as played out in the African-American community.  She can be reached at www.jasmynecannick.comor   


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