BY ASHLEY BURNS / 01.20.14
Remember that story about the father who freaked out when his daughter received deals for baby clothes from Target because the retail giant’s super sneaky spy network knew that she was pregnant, and that’s how he, in turn, found out? Well, this story blows that one away in terms of horribly inept marketing and mailing oversights. Last Thursday, while going through his mail, a Chicago man named Mike Seay found an advertisement from OfficeMax addressed to him with a very specific bit of information about him: “Daughter Killed in Car Crash.”
Last year, Seay’s daughter was indeed killed in a car crash, and this mailer with such a specific and incredibly needless reminder of that loss has shocked and outraged he and his wife.
“Why would they have that type of information? Why would they need that?” Seay told NBC 5. “What purpose does it serve anybody to know that? And how much other types of other information do they have if they have that on me, or anyone else? And how do they use that, what do they use that for?” (Via NBC Chicago)
All very good questions, and OfficeMax was quick to not answer them at all.
“The manager told her that it was impossible, that this can’t be happening,” Seay said.
Impossible? Sure, if by impossible they mean that it absolutely, 100% happened. But the chain’s corporate management quickly issued a response and put the blame square on the shoulders of a nameless third party that will probably never apologize on its own.
“We are deeply sorry that Mr. Seay and his family received this mailing from us, and we are reaching out to Mr. Seay to convey our sincerest apologies on this unfortunate matter. This mailing is a result of a mailing list rented through a third-party provider. We have reached out to the third-party mailing list provider to research what happened. Based on a preliminary investigation today we believe this to be an inadvertent error; and we are continuing the investigation. — ”
There’s a reason that people like their privacy and don’t appreciate when companies go snooping around in their personal information for the sake of “specializing advertisements and deals to cater to our preferences” or whatever BS terminology they use. I’m pretty sure that this is the best example of the argument against it.