Dear Willliams Sonoma. Send the Spatula, not the Guilt

Dear Williams-Sonoma:
I just received my order of assorted miscellaneous Halloween baking items and plastic bowls, and the minute I opened the first box, I was disappointed. Disappointed, annoyed and even pissed off. When I opened the second box, I felt even worse. Not because of the items I ordered, which are pretty much exactly the completely unnecessary but fun to have items I expected, but because you didn’t just send me a few pumpkin candies and a ghost-shaped spatula: Instead, this is effectively what I received:
One enormous load of guilt, one annoying clean-up task and the choice between a twenty minute errand that would involve either paying a babysitter or hauling three children out of car seats at the hardware store (after I find parking and put money in the meter) or two bags of non-biodegradeable trash for the land fill. And even if I weren’t bothered enough by that choice to email you, there’s the clean up task. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to pour packing peanuts from an unstable box into a plastic bag for transport to either the dump or the recycling center, but I can assure you that it isn’t easy. In the presence of an 18-month-old and a three year old, it is nothing short of disastrous and resulted in a twenty-minute clean up.
none of this left me feeling happy about Williams Sonoma, although I concede that the parts of it that involved lack of adeqate adult supervision are not necessarily your fault. Still, as you know, it’s all about the taste in your mouth after you open those packages, and mine’s not good.

May I suggest two alternatives to the peanuts–which, however recyclable they may be, represent a real customer annoyance? The first would be the inflatable plastic bags used by many of your competitors. The second, even greener option would be an option on the shipping part of your website that looks something like this:
Yes, the things I ordered are non-breakable. I’d prefer them to be shipped without excess packing materials. I am not a loopy nutjob who will complain if the haunted house shaped box containing my cookie cutters is slightly bruised by the exigencies of mail travel. Thanks for helping save our planet!

OK, you might want to reword that.

Next time I’m considering a W-S impulse purchase (and you know that’s what most are, it’s not like anyone NEEDS a bat-shaped spatula), I’ll check your shipping policies first. If I’m also buying a load of guilt, I think maybe I’ll find a way to do without.

Best regards, KJ Dell’Antonia

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