Customers who read [blank] also enjoy [blank]

Friday, 12 September 2003

Almost exactly five years ago I was writing apologies for Amazon.com 10-12 hours a day. Each week I was doing about 300 high quality ones for the real problems and up to 2,000 completely canned for those that were either PEBKAC or marketing related.

At that time it was the best job I could ever imagine having. Though the systems were spotty and some parts of it were a savage grind, the staff and atmosphere were fantastic; truly. It’s why the subject still comes up. I really miss those days and so does most everyone who was there then. Few of them are there anymore.

One man wrote a polite request to have book recommendation mail for his wife cease. I remember it as reading, “You can cancel the mail. My wife passed away on Tuesday.”

She died on Tuesday. I read somewhere that that’s the day the most people die. I don’t know if it’s true but it should be. Tuesdays are just depressing. You know the ones I mean. When it’s windy and all.

I looked up her account to see about discontinuing her book recommendations. She had only ever bought one book from Amazon.com. It was a Hemlock Society publication; a suicide manual. She bought a book to help her kill herself, comfortably, and she, presumably, did so on Tuesday. We sent her recommendation mail on that Wednesday. Since she’d only purchased the one book, it was the basis for our software to suggest further reading.

That her husband wrote calmly and politely is a testament to human dignity in the face of the some tacky fucking bullshit.

The guy who runs the software group at Amazon responsible for repeatedly sending gay porn to naïve wives of the closeted and pregnancy book recommendations to women who had their miscarriages and moved on to not being pregnant a year or two earlier, well, he’s highly regarded there for being a contributor to Amazon.com’s success. His wife was a pushy, unpleasant, dimwit though, so I always sort of had my doubts.

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Comments


chris holmes

Re: Customers who read [blank] also enjoy [blank]

gosh this brought back memories. so well written, evocative. i knew at the time i was living a vida loca and unique but wasnt sure what. i said to steph, "this is like the wild west. im a non techie ageing fart trying to fake it and learn, but im working aside top gunfighters who are crazy and young and brilliant and it will end in tears when we have to grow up but, f***, what a time to be part of. i'm glad i read that; thanks. i dont cling to the past but i do require occasional reminders of when i was happy so i can train myself to spot the next ones coming round the bend.

always wanted to retire to a rose garden with grandkids vera chuck and dave and call it "Dun Greppin'"

By chris holmes on 25 April 2007 · 14:30
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Ashley

Re: Customers who read [blank] also enjoy [blank]

I miss it so much sometimes I can barely stand it. I wish I knew the formula (or maybe I do and I just really wish I was 15 years younger). I’d try to recreate it.

By Ashley on 25 April 2007 · 14:56
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Eolake

Re: Customers who read [blank] also enjoy [blank]

Well, stuff happens. I think Amazon is doing a great job.
(Though admittedly I'm not sure if you're actually saying that they aren't.)

By Eolake on 10 May 2008 · 16:25
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