I am grateful to Alison Robins of the Channel Islands (the location here is highly relevant) for the following exchange with the Customer Relations Department at GAP. Their failure to answer Alison’s simple question puts them right up there with the strangely named crew at Easyjet (see the Easyjet Chronicles page).
As a resident of the Channel Islands, Alison was keen to know why GAP refuse to ship their goods there.
Simple enough. So she sent them an email:
Dear Customer Relations,
May I ask why you don’t ship to the Channel Islands but you do to certain European countries that are further away? Has to be the most bizarre shipping policy I have ever come across and not one I would have expected from yourselves.
All the major retailers – John Lewis, Boden, Laura Ashley etc etc ship here.
Why not Gap?
And back came the reply:
On 2 Nov 2010, at 21:53, email@example.com wrote:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding why we do not ship to the Channel Islands. Although we appreciate your interest in our brand, we are unable to address your specific inquiry at this time as this information is proprietary and is not currently available for public consumption.
We appreciate your understanding and look forward to shopping with you again soon. If we may be of further assistance, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or toll free from inside the United Kingdom at 00800 06006666 (Please dial this number exactly as it appears.) and outside the United Kingdom at 001 614 744 3997.
This email is sent from Gap Europe Limited, a company registered in England and Wales with company number 06279672 and a subsidiary of Gap Inc, USA. The registered office is at Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, London W1J 6BS, United Kingdom.
This email may contain information which is confidential, privileged or subject to copyright. If you are not the intended recipient of this email you are on notice that any use, disclosure or copying of this email is expressly prohibited.
Customer Service Consultant
I suspect there’s a clue in the time of the email – 21:53hrs. I very much doubt that GAP’s UK customer relations department is still hard at it at almost 10 o’clock at night. There is a second clue in the spelling of “inquiry” (an inquiry is something that the US Senate likes to do when the President is believed to have done something naughty with an intern. An enquiry is a polite question asked by a European). I think we may be dealing with an American customer relations person here.
We note that the reply may contain information that is confidential or privileged but in this case it clearly doesn’t. The reason that GAP doesn’t ship to the Channel Islands is a secret that cannot be divulged. Sounds more American every minute.
Undaunted, Alison had another go:
I have no idea what you mean by ‘this information is proprietary and is not currently available for public consumption.’
Any chance you could explain in simple, easy-to-understand English why Gap does not deliver to the Channel Islands?
It is a simple enough request.
and Stephanie decided to re-word her earlier unhelpful reply then send it again:
Thank you for your inquiry regarding our lack of delivery the Channel Islands. Although we appreciate your interest in our brand, we are unable to say why we do not deliver to the Channel Islands at this time as this information is held at our corporate offices and is not available to the public. We apologise for any confusion or frustration this issue may cause.
We appreciate your understanding.
(all the corporate babble at the end of the email omitted)
Customer Service Consultant
That clinches it. “At this time” instead of “at the moment”. Definitely American. The top secret information held at the corporate offices is of course the GAP copy of the world atlas. After all, there are just over 307 million Americans and only 126 of them have been abroad (mainly to Stratford upon Avon). They therefore have very little need of a book that shows maps of places that don’t stock Hershey bars and can be seen on the Discovery Channel anyway. By now, Alison’s patience was wearing thin:
Sorry, but there is no ‘understanding’ on my part. This is quite the most bonkers customer relations reply I have had the misfortune to have received.
I am asking a simple customer relations question. I am not asking you for your profit and loss balance sheet.
Perhaps you would be kind enough to let you ‘corporate offices’ know that I shall now take this further through the media.
That was enough for Stephanie. She passed the buck to Katherine whose grasp of geography proved to be even less developed than Stephanie’s:
Thank you for your email. We sincerely apologize for your frustration and disappointment that we do not offer shipping to the Canary Islands at this time. We just recently offered our online services to the United Kingdom and want to make sure that we do this properly. Please know that we have forwarded your request to see our service expanded to include the Canary Islands to the appropriate parties. In the meantime, we hope that you have an opportunity to visit one of our UK stores in the future.
For locations of our UK stores, just visit gap.eu and click on Store Locator.
Gap Inc. Customer Relations
There we go again. “Apologize” instead of “apologise”. Canary Islands instead of Channel Islands. The fact that the former is off the coast of West Africa and the latter is in fact part of the UK and lies in the English channel due South of Bournemouth has obviously escaped Katherine’s notice. That’s what happens when you leave the atlas at the corporate offices.
Naturally, Alison did point out the geographical error to Katherine but alas, the exchange ended there.
So, people of GAP, assuming that your corporate search engines find this post, perhaps you could let subscribers to this site know whether you have invested in an atlas for your customer relations department (or even a copy of Google Earth – though that tends to suggest that the Channel Islands are off the coast of California, West of Santa Barbara).
Also, Alison is still waiting for an answer: Why don’t you ship to the Channel Islands (the British ones) ?
Help spread the word about Dear Customer Relations – hit the Facebook ‘Like’ button below: