Koenji, the world and elsewhere

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If your company is named S’well, your product shouldn’t suck.

I first came across S’well bottles three years ago, in a retail shop by Tokyo’s Shinjuku Station. I liked the look of them and they made big claims:

HARD WORKING Triple-walled Therma-S’well technology keeps beverages cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 12, and maintains a condensation-free exterior.

Seeing as I was in the market for a new tumbler (as they’re called in Japan), S’well was on my radar. However, the bottles were ¥6,000 (~$60 USD) so it wasn’t exactly an impulse buy.

A month later, while visiting BC, I came across them again, in the Capilano Suspension Bridge gift shop. They were a steal at $45. Canadian!

I bought it.

I was happy with it. For a very short amount of time.

Firstly, It kept my water cold. Granted, I never kept it filled long enough to see if it would do so for 24 hours.

It also kept my coffee hot. But I typically drink my coffee within an hour. However, the occasion soon came when I had my coffee for a few hours, and I quickly realized S’well’s 12-hour hot promise is complete bullshit.

Oh well, what did I expect from New York marketing? I’d just have to drink my coffee quicker.

Then came S’well’s real Fuck You moment. Less than a month after purchasing my $45 water bottle, I dropped it.

From waist level. (ie: about 3-feet.)

Its fancy beveled bottom dented and it was never able to stand up again. Actually, it could technically stand, but would fall over if a mosquito flew past it. I put it down on a Starbucks table and it fell over all on its own, putting a huge dent in its lid.

The bottle may as well be made out of papier-mâché.

So, I contacted S’well Customer Service.

The cheerily told me to take it up with the retailer. Because, it empowers the stores. Not because it absolves S’well of any responsibility.

Don’t you love it when Customer Service doesn’t solve your problem, then signs off with something like this?

Have a great rest of the day!
S’well Engagement Team

I replied that I bought it in Vancouver, but live in Tokyo. He told me they can’t ship to Japan. (I guess the bottles they sell here are grown on trees at the foot of Mt. Fuji.)

He then gave me this helpful tip.

You can always attempt to make an exchange through your local retailer, but I honestly don’t believe they will give you a new S’well.

Fuck. You.

Fed up and furious, I put back in its precious cylindrical box and put on the top shelf of the cupboard, where I keep the useless things I’ve yet to throw out. (Too bad they didn’t put as much effort into the product as they did the packaging. It’s a really nice box.)

I then bought a Zojirushi tumbler for ¥2,000 (~$20 USD) on Amazon. It’s not as pretty as my S’well junk, but it’s got an easy one-hand pop-top and can take a beating. It’s gone smashing into the road while cycling, been on countless hikes, rides, and excursions, and dropped countless times over the past three years, and it keeps on working.

Sure, it’s got a few scratches, but it can stand up.

Oh, and it keeps coffee scorching hot for hours.


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Honest criticism does not meet Microsoft’s guidelines

I took time to write an honest review of Microsoft’s Assure Software Support Plan. Which I stupidly bought. And am now paying the price for my stupidity. On the Microsoft Store website I left a One-Star review. It was without profanity, without name-calling, without lies. Unless “smug” hurt their feelings. It was simply an explanation of my dissatisfaction. So other consumers could make informed decisions before purchasing (or not).

Unsurprisingly, it did not pass the Microsoft Censors. But they ended their email with an exclamation point and an inspiring “you’ll get ’em next time, slugger!

The Pitch

They’re available online to provide your service 24/7 throughout the US, whenever it works best for you.

The Scam

You get in line with everybody else (ie: free support).

Microsoft Store - Answer Tech Chat Page(1)

The Review

I bought this a couple months ago for advanced support with a “Level 2 Tech”. I scheduled a call for the next morning (they require a 2-hour window). The two hours came and went. Nobody called. I tried phoned them. Nobody available. Scheduled another call. Some smug unhelpful guy called me a day later. Ended up resolving issue on my own. Had a second problem last week. Waited in queue (it’s the same queue as everybody waits in, not a priority service queue) for 8 hours. So much for a Tech Support at my service 24/7. Finally scheduled a call for the next morning between 8-10am. The 2 hours came and went. No call. I emailed, tweeted and phoned. Someone finally phoned at half past midnight! The worst Customer Support I’ve experienced. Made even worse by paying for it.

The Reply

Our staff has read your review and values your contribution even though it did not meet all our website guidelines. Thanks for sharing, and we hope to publish next time!

MS is full of BS.