Type in “Christmas” into the Mrs. Fields website search box and you get a page that states: “Sorry, no records were found with the search parameters you provided. Please try a new search now.” (See UPDATE)
This Week’s Top Scrooge – October 12, 2007
Pity, apparently some of us are shopping Christmas gift ideas now and thought cookies, maybe even Mrs. Fields cookies, would make a good gift…especially if they were Christmas-themed.
At least that was the case laid out recently by the American Family Association (AFA) in an Action Alert email headlined “Mrs. Fields bans Christmas from their products.” The alert stated that “Diane H. of Michigan called Mrs. Fields and asked to speak with a supervisor in customer service about why they banned Christmas, the supervisor told Diane that they do not offer anything with Merry Christmas because they don’t want to offend anyone.”
AFA has been monitoring these sort of Christmas shortcomings by retail companies for three years. The first one on its radar this year? You guessed it…Mrs. Fields.
According to Randy Sharp of the AFA, their email alert sent to their subscribers yesterday prompted 73,000 emails to Mrs. Fields in less than a day…and has Mrs. Fields scrambling to do damage control.
In response to the email campaign, Mrs. Fields put up a “Dear Valued Customers” letter Friday morning. In it the company states “Please rest assured that we are in the business of celebrations and smiles, and Christmas will arrive at Mrs. Fields this year, along with all the other holidays we hope to make warmer and more delicious.”
Mrs. Fields temporary home page to assure that Christmas is in the plans.
Sorry, Mrs. Fields, but you are This Week’s Top Scrooge. Nevermind, that you’ve attempted to “assure” us that you’ve been diligently “busy at work for many months on a line of Christmas products.”
AFA was told by Mrs. Fields that they had hired a third party to do its customer service. Other than a website homepage letter, no other announcement has been made. However, Sharp said Mrs. Fields will make a statement that denounces the customer service remark and that the Christmas exclusion is not part of the company’s policy.
An email to the company president was not returned before publication of this story.
Sharp says regardless of whether Mrs. Fields had plans for a Christmas product line or not, the usage of an outside customer service company is not an excuse for distancing itself from the issue of Christmas.
Company policy should be reflected in third parties, he said.
“Over the last few years retail companies have become callous and have used outside sources for their customer service,” said Sharp, AFA’s director of special projects. “This is coming back to haunt them.”
I agree with Sharp and the AFA. The damage has already basically been done. Even the appearance of excluding “Christmas” from your retail line hurts. Many people are burnt out on political correctness gone a muck.
Mrs. Fields’ Christmas “concern” and product line is only half-baked.
UPDATE: By late Friday afternoon, searching for “Christmas” on the Mrs. Fields website produced three gift items that will be ready for shipping November 1st. They include the Twelve Days of Christmas Bundle, Christmas Tree Cookie Cake, and Holly Berry Christmas Cookie Cake.
UPDATE: Oct. 13, 2007 – To see a letter Mrs. Fields sent to its franchises regarding this story go to comment No. 6 of this post.
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