Pitu, welcome to the Web

During a business dinner at a Brazilian resturant a few years back I was introduced to a terrific drink – the Caipirinha. It was very tasty, especially considering I don’t drink liquor as much as beer.

In preperation for my upcoming beach vacation this weekend, I visited the Pitu site (this liquor is the key ingredient for this tasty drink) to try to locate a store near me that sold it. To my excitement, the site has a "Where to Buy" section where I could fill out a form with my details in order to receive info from a local distributor. Great!

The downside was that in order to get this information, I was asked to give my name, company name, street address, city, state, zip, phone number and email address. I happily left my name, email address, city, and zip. But the form required all the fields so I used fake data for my street address, phone number, and company name.

This morning I received this mail from the Pitu folks:

Dear Jake:
 
    We are at a loss to understand why people like you visit our Pitu web site contact page only to submit bogus information.
 
    All we do is send out Pitu recipes and a Pitu muddler, plus we give the name of the distributor in the person’s area, who then supplies the name of a retailer where Pitu can be purchased. Nothing else is done with the information.
 
    Have a nice day.
 
    Loretta Krauss
    EFCO Importers

Really makes you excited to go out of your way to find an uncommon product, doesn’t it? Here was my reply:

Wow, that was the single rudest business email I’ve seen yet.

As you can plainly see, I gave the level of information to you that I was comfortable with. Requiring me to give you my full name, mailing address, phone number in order to simply find out where in my area I can find your product boggles the mind. The fact that you can’t understand that boggles my mind even further. Additionally, why you would think it professional or appropriate to respond in this manner is beyond me.

I’m at a loss here.

Jake

Clearly enough people have done something similar to what I did, which I guess is what set off Ms. Krauss. If there’s enough people doing this to make her this mad, perhaps the better answer would be to ask me (politely) why I choose to do what I did, rather than insulting me for it. Not only would I have rushed out to buy some of her product, I would also be taking this new drink to my friends on our beach vacation trying to convert them too.

There’s a clear lesson here for all of us to learn: Just because you’re frustrated at something doesn’t mean your community members are stupid. Take the time to ask them for clarification and you’ll probably learn something new.

UPDATE: I just re-read the email from Ms. Krauss and discovered something cool – apparently (I think) they send out physical goods, which is why they want my full address. Of course if they don’t tell me that, how they can expect me to know it or willingly give my personal data to a liquor company is beyond me.

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