Home > Uncategorized > When you DON’T care to send the very best

When you DON’T care to send the very best

Greeting card companies want to make people feel good, or so I thought. I (mistakenly) believed that they yearn to help us have our hearts warmed and to feel good about ourselves and one another. I guess I wanted to believe that they want us to feel all “comfy” inside.

Then I had a less-than warm-and-fuzzy experience with Hallmark.

You see, our two-year-old foster son was given a gift about a year ago. I think officially it’s called an interactive story buddy, but around our house it is simply known as “Cooper.” Cooper comes with a book and when you turn Cooper on by pressing his ear and read the story, he responds to certain lines in the book. Of these, the most notable is when you read, “Cooper, I love you,” to which he replies “I love you, too.”




Our little guy loves this talking teddy bear, especially when he is able to get Cooper to respond affectionately to what sounds like “Coober, I wub you.” That is, when Cooper is functioning.

But during the past few months, Cooper has been unaffectionate and unresponsive. He just simply hasn’t worked. New batteries, messing with the power pack and even pseudo-violent shaking have not been effective in bringing Cooper back to life.

In a move akin to calling 9-1-1, yesterday I phone Hallmark’s customer service line to see if there was anything they can do. What I got was a lesson in uncaring corporations.

I wish I could remember the customer service agent’s name, but I can’t. I’ll just call her Tia. Over the course of a few minutes I explained about our foster son, his love of Cooper and how the teddy bear had gone lifeless. Tia told me that she had heard there had been a lot of problems with Cooper and his kin, all of the other interactive story buddies. She suggested I hold Cooper closer so that he could “hear” me. After I explained that Cooper needed a complete resurrection, not a hearing aid, she put me on hold to “see what she could do.”

When Tia returned to the line, she was very apologetic and said that since Cooper was more than 90 days old, he was past the (warranty) point of no return. So she was (again) sorry. “Is there anything else I can assist you with,” Tia asked, trying to keep her service-time score as low as possible.

That’s when I told her that I thought it was ridiculous that she has already confessed to me that there was a “medical” history in Cooper’s family, yet there was nothing she could do. Then Tia went somewhat off-script: “Well, you could take the doll into a corporately-owned Hallmark store. They might be able to replace it.”

I asked why she suggested a corporate store. Her response (direct quote): “They are nicer.”

I couldn’t believe that she just sold out all of the franchise owners that proudly represent Hallmark across the country. In essence, she told me either that they were unhelpful and unfriendly or that their stores were trashy. Either way, I’m sure it’s not an image that the Hallmark bigwigs want to portray about (and to) their franchisees.

Tia then served me (as only she could) by telling me where the closest corporate store was—some 300 miles away.

I told her I wasn’t willing to burn a barrel of gasoline to replace a $30 toy.  Again she said, “I’m sorry.” Next, for my trouble, she offered to send me a gift card.

I assumed the gift card would be enough to replace Cooper, but to make sure, I asked. “How much?”

Her answer? $5.

I couldn’t believe it. An unhappy little foster child was only worth $5 to Hallmark. Or at least the big corporation that is Hallmark. Heck, most of their greeting cards cost that much.

I sighed and said good-bye to Tia, who thanked me for calling Hallmark Customer Service.

I immediately called my local Hallmark store and spoke to the franchisee.

I told Lois the same story about Cooper and how he won’t wake up any more. I shared with her how Tia said the corporately-owned stores are “nicer” and how customer service did not want to serve this customer. But Lois did.

She immediately went to see if her store had any Coopers on the shelf. They did, and she promptly put him behind the counter for me.

An hour later, we made a Cooper-for-Cooper swap and Lois called the regional sales director for Hallmark to give him a greeting of her own. I’m sure that wasn’t a “warm and fuzzy” experience for him.

My foster son, however, was thrilled that Cooper worked again, and he kept telling him of his affection.

“Coober, I wub you.”

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. November 29, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    Brings up many memories, Les. The worst was when my mom was flying here from Florida and she missed her connecting flight somewhere. We went to the airport and the clerk wouldn’t give me any information and my daughter thought Nana had died. I don’t remember the airline, however it just didn’t get any better. Sometimes big business really should look at who really pays their bills. I am glad that you now have a new Cooper!

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