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July 31 2008

Fans Learn NOT to order Dr. Horrible Style Goggles from Pendergast. A lot of Whedon/Dr. Horrible fans ordered from this website after seeing a pair of goggles that looked a lot like Dr. Horrible's - only to receive the wrong ones. And bad customer service. Edit: If you ordered some you can get a full refund.

"Please don't go away mad, just go away. Thank you." Is the email one gal received.

The kicker is the guy posted on a forum that you COULD get them on their site.

[ edited by BrownCoat_Tabz on 2008-07-31 21:49 ]

Wow, that's insane. I can't believe the people who buy them to actually weld with haven't complained.
Bad customer service is unforgivable. There are polite ways of saying that they're a business that prefers to deal with bulk to people in the industry. Being rude about it can only hurt them.
There's no doubt that Morton and Pendergast are the same company.

ETA: Product sku's and page url's are exactly the same. And both sites went down at the same time earlier this week and had exactly the same asp runtime errors.

[ edited by Succatash on 2008-07-31 18:06 ]

[ edited by Succatash on 2008-07-31 19:28 ]
I'm totally siding with the company on this one. They're an industrial supply company, and not used to dealing with demanding, entitled fanboy. The line "I have sold 25,000 pair of those goggles to industrial users this year alone with out one complaint." says it all. This is an item designed for function, not fashion. And it obviously performs the function, hence people using them without complaint.

If you were in the business of supplying people with $1000+ orders for bulk quantities of a good product that works, and then a few people order single items and complain about the color, would you honestly care about their business?
Then don't sell to those few people in the first place, and don't be rude.
@dingoes but the guy came on the Dr. Horrible forums and said you can get these through my company....
Pendergast = choads
In dealing with this company, I have been polite and professional, not a "demanding, entitled fanboy," thank you very much. I am a customer, and they have a product to sell. No call for rudeness was necessary. I can certainly understand if they don't want to sell single-orders, but then all they would have to do is say so on their site.
dingoes8, I might be inclined to agree, except, as has been pointed out, the company trolled for sales on Dr. Horrible sites. That means they voluntarily opened themselves up to this debacle. I don't have to have any sympathy for the company, given that.
Yeah, I have to admit, I would be completely on the company's side. Except for the fact that he solicited the fanboy business. That reverses the situation entirely.
There's lots of small ways to solve it. It was suggested they take down the photo, or put a disclaimer "product may not be as pictured" or change the limit (so you have to bulk order).
(Fanboy meant affectionately, not derogatorily. I consider myself a stark raving Firefly fanboy, BSG fanboy, etc.)
So let's see:

-They post on Dr Horrible sites that the goggles are available from them. "We didn't want these orders" is a little hard to believe

-They claim their usual customers don't care about what they look like: then why put up bandwith eating pictures in the first place? It's pointless AND misleading

-Of all the possible goggles, they just "happen" to look like a certain kind they were obviously aware is becoming popular with a certain crowd

The sceptic in me has to wonder if at least one certain person at that company wasn't simply hoping that a lot of fans would buy their goggles and then just shrug it off without making a fuss.

And even if not. Even if it really was just an over eager employee. They are still responsible for the screw ups of their employees and should pay for shipping. Deduct it from his pay check as a lesson in "shut your trap, we got a marketing department for that".
Succatash - while there may be some connection between the two companies (maybe they just share the same server?) there are distinct differences in the way they treat customers - check out the Costumes page of the Dr H fan site - in the comments you'll see that the rep from Morton is going out of his way to try and HELP people www.doctorhorrible.net/costumes
Succatash: The two companies have different meatspace addresses. I think the problem is that they have the same webserver/website company, and that makes them unfortunately resemble each other. Because it wouldn't make sense for one employee to welcome us and another to tell us to piss off.
That is awful. I know we play the ball and not the player here, so I'm just gonna say that the company comes across in the worst possible light.
The two companies use the exact same safety equipment webstore technology, the generic form of which is esafetystore.com which is based in WI, the same as Morton (while Pendergrast is in Philly).

They may well have common ownership. Or it may be that the software was developed for Morton, but the developers retained ownership and weren't saddled by a non-compete clause, allowing them to offer the same technology to others. That could happen if Morton wanted a system, but couldn't afford to pay extra for exclusivity.
See? Everyday I feel less and less guilty about hating humanity. ;)
Yeah, I don't know. "Meatspace" addresses don't mean a thing. I've been in Internet retail long enough to know it's the oldest trick in the book.

Good catch on the esafetystore.com, AlanD. I guess it's possible they both ordered the same "website in a box," "Now YOU can sell safety supplies!" package. Seems mighty fishy and coincidental to me, though.
The same guy that posted the message on the forums has now responded
I think they company is in some deep trouble. Not only did the false advertise, because let's face it if you see a picture on a website store then you expect that item. But they were also extremely rude to their customers.

You don't go and take orders from people and then when they want to return it because it's the wrong item be really rude to the people who spend their own money for your product.

Plus the whole thing that one of their own people advertised on the dr horrible forum, is just wrong too because he obviously knew that they sell in "bulk" and yet he used it to his advantage.
Well, I have not buy this googles(mainly because I'm not a merchandising person), but this is not the first time I see this kind of things. The truth is that some virtual shops do this, when they run out of a very popular product and there are still shipments pending,they just send you a different product,not necessarily less expensive but not what they offered to you. And all this when they should have send only an email telling that the product wasn't available anymore and if they would like to order other product with similars characteristics.

That's all. And people wouldn't be that angry.

Ps: Apologize for my poor english.
Well, it was good that the original poster put up an explination, but why mention the "nasty" phone calls. Were they all nasty? I highly doubt that. So why mention those at all? And were they nasty because they were getting bad service or did they just start out nasty? Too many varibles to use those particular words to describe the response they are getting, IMO.
Glad everyone will be getting their money back though.
Sounds like Dave was a gung-ho sys admin at Pendergast, and having generated a couple dozen sales, he's now regretting it.

The folks at Morton seem a bit more proactive in dealing with the handling the fan community:

Hello Everybody

Allen Bergles again. Yes the goggle issue is a fact and I have been in contact with Fibre-Metal (Mfg) and that goggle has not been silver since 1998 (est) yet it is still silver on their web site. So like the lab coat, the goggle the production company had was deep in a prop room for years. I have contacted 7 other google mfg and nobody has one even close. The closest is Gateway safety and it is also Green, not silver. Like Pendergast, we are also a industrial supplier, but I guess we are a little more in tune with people as people and not just as companies, and we understand the situation. We will credit the goggles at full if you chose to return them. But know that you are not going to find them exact (Because the color of the exact ones have been changed at the MFG) May I suggest a good masking job and silver paint. Just a suggestion, I tried it here and it looks pretty darn good, has to be a laquer paint or it bubbles on the PVC body of the goggle.

Allen Bergles
Morton Safety

That guy's response barely clears anything up. He seems to act as if the fans are the wrongdoers, and not their laughable attempts at PR.
Well at least Mr. Bergles seems a decent enough fellow.
The Morton guy really does seem to be going out of his way to actually grasp what's going on, heh. Kudos.
Ditto. Mr Bergles has it right. Even though I never considered ordering googles myself I appreciate that he looked for what everyone wanted, couldn't find it, but then offered alternatives as well as refunds.
My mind's agog at the thought of googling goggles.
My mind's agog at the thought of Mr. Bergles googling goggles. Amidst a gaggle of hornswagglers gagging on fraggle noodle soup.
I hope he means that they will get their outrageous shipping cost refunded as well.
*bows to BrewBunny*
The paint suggestion is a good one. And at least these weren't $50 goggles. For $20, a bit of artistic effort seems ok. The seeming arrogance of the company's reply may actually be terror of a salesperson facing losing money on a bunch of returns. Don't return them, paint them! (And be wary of the type of paint like the nicer guy says).

[ edited by willbueche on 2008-07-31 20:29 ]
Here's my take on it--overall--I don't honestly care what your company sells...or whether or folks trying to order something are annoying you or not. "Don't go away mad, just go away?" *boggles*

NO company, employee, retailer should *ever* say anything like that to a customer. Now, if said customer shows up at your house at 2 a.m. banging on the door with a freeze ray...feel free to take appropriate verbal or physical actions.

But, because someone annoyed you in a phone call or an e-mail? Oy. I'd be fired so fast my head would spin. Work in sales of any kind and you deal with people--irate and otherwise. Gotta watch your mouth (or fingers, as the e-mailing case may be).
Yeah, but consider, whoever works there probably took the job because he likes working with gruff construction workers. He didn't take a job as a consierge as the Hilton. People sometimes lack tact, and though they are wrong, we just need to forgive them. And maybe laugh a bit at how in over their heads they got.
We've never talked to a client like that, and we've had some real ass-poking, mind-changing, invoice-fighting, unreasonable and vacillating knee-biters. And I've got big mouth, as you may imagine.

Client isn't always right - I loathe that phrase, as it defies common sense - but client is king - from the littlest to the biggest account. It's the way you keep 'em and get more - word-of-mouth is crucial, and being rude kills your word-of-mouth, unless you're a monopoly...

I just rant offsides, and it gets it out of my system...
Why don't we just ask Joss where he got his? His costuming person should know.
Because we're not allowed to ask him. And it shouldn't be his problem that we can't match our costumes exactly. From what was said at the Costumers' Panel, they take something off the shelves and re-dress it anyway. That silver we see may not be silver, but good, textured paint.
I wonder if lab supply companies all over are dealing right now with what are, to them, unusual inquiries. Hopefully most are handling it better than this.

I've made strange requests of such companies for actual research purposes. It varies how helpful they are.
willbueche , I would agree but for one thing--regardless of who you are used to dealing with--common courtesy is still the name of the game in my book. I've been on the receiving end of such treatment too many times (in other instances), myself.

What is funny to me is that this company is shooting themselves in the foot by generating bad publicity. What if someone who used the goggles for non-costume use wanted exactly what they saw on the website. Would they have been treated as such if they complained?

Shouldn't matter who is buying. Should matter that they *are* buying. My guess is that management will chew this person out--as they should. Any bad PR is still...bad PR! :)
Korkster may be right. After spending way too much time googling welding goggles, I've come to the conclusion that all the manufacturers now use moulded pvc for the frames, which are typically green, blue or in some cases yellow-- but not silver. Looking at the DHSAB video closer, it looks like the ones worn by Dr. Horrible have been modified/painted to look brass goggle-ish, and show a slight greenish-tinge.

ETA: Having said that, I did come across a really cool pair of metal goggles that someone bought at Restoration Hardware, apparently made by a German company.

[ edited by Whedonage on 2008-07-31 22:15 ]
I ordered these. I regret it. I haven't received them yet, but will be returning them even if I could "make them work" with the paint. I'll just reorder them from somewhere else and paint theirs. Bad service and disrespect should not be rewarded. Allen Bergles of Morton Safety, however, should be. Not only has he gone out of his way to help us, he has also requested fans send him photos of the coat so that he can look into having them custom made for us. Customer service is nice.
...he has also requested fans send him photos of the coat so that he can look into having them custom made for us... Really? I missed that. Nice!
The goggles I saw at CC that were close had been modified; the people had textured them just as suggested. I wish I could remember correctly if Shawna Trpic(?) had actually answered this question, but alas, I can't. Maybe someone (Firefly peeps!) has the video from this discussion and can post?

To argue the sound effects when Dr. Horrible adjusts his goggles, that could be inserted later.

Come to think of it, why would anyone make an actor wear metal on their head, and then be tossed around?
NYPinTA,
See posts #52 and #59 from Mr. Bergles here at the Horrible.net costuming thread for his comments on the coat.
Yay for Customer Service.
Wow. People are really bent out of shape over this. I deal with hardware suppliers for all sorts of industrial items and have quite a bit of experience in this sort of thing.

A small company that stocks and/or sells this sort of thing usually doesn't deal in one's or two's of an item. And in many instances they drop-ship from the manufacturer, never actually laying hands on the products they are selling.

As far a PR backlash, not a chance. Will any of you honestly ever have a need to deal with this company again as long as you live? Maybe if Joss writes, "Dr. Horrible goes to a construction site." But I doubt it.

In all likelihood, your one goggle purchase represents a LOSS for their business. All the time, energy and expense it takes to process an order adds up. I'll bet some of you will say, "too bad, they advertised one thing and if its a loss for them, it's no excuse for being rude or not providing what was advertised." And to that retort these companies will say, "sorry, you're shit out of luck, try someone else." And if you are rude or extra demanding about your one goggle purchase, yes, they may tell you to get lost (or worse).

We would all love to live in a world with old concepts like good customer service and friendly strangers but remember for most businesses, the reality is that all customers are equal. It's just that some customers are more equal than others.
"And to that retort these companies will say, "sorry, you're shit out of luck, try someone else." And if you are rude or extra demanding about your one goggle purchase, yes, they may tell you to get lost (or worse)."

I think that violates their merchant agreement with the major credit card companies. A ton of cancelled orders and chargebacks in conjunction with saying "get lost" - to the customers giving them confidential information - can get them in hot water.
alexreager Don't know about the goggles, since I haven't seen Dr. Horrible, but...from what I've read here, this company posted to a Dr. H site that they had those particular goggles available.

So...the question is: Did they think that 1,000 individual fans would each order one pair, or did they think that one fan would order 1,000 pairs for a convention? I don't know if they did or not, but they should have said somewhere in their post that "We deal only in bulk, not in individual purchases" so that fans would be aware of that up front, not find out after the fact.

And they also should have said "We offer something very similar in style to these goggles, but they are NOT the exact same thing," instead of saying "We sell these goggles!" They misrepresented themselves and their product. And you know what they say about word of mouth - all it takes is one unhappy customer...

On the other hand, the fans ordering these goggles should have "read the fine print," as it were, should have emailed the company and asked detailed questions - "Are these goggles silver?" "Are they made in the same shape?" "If you run out of silver, do I get a refund?" etc - before placing their order. But I know how it is - you see something you really want, and you get excited, especially if the price is really good for it, and you order it without really thinking. Caveat emptor, as they say.

But no business should tell a customer "Just go away." Ever. Even in jest (Which I doubt this was.) That's just poor business practice, pure and simple.
Ever. Period. Amen.
ShadowQuest, you should check out Dr. Horrible. It's on HULU. Good times.
The goggles did exist at one time. My money is that the goggles came out of costume storage. We were watching 'The Thing' again the other night and noticed they wore the same goggles. We just have to face that the goggles we want can only be found in a storage closet somewhere.

Still, they could have been nicer about it.
As others have found, the originals were Fibre-Metal reinforced flexible frame model VG800H5, which *were* silver-colored. The new VG800H5 is green, and clearly not similar.
ShadowQuest, their website had a picture of silver goggles just like Dr. Horrible's. No one thought to ask what color they would be, since one would naturally assume that one would be getting the product they ordered.
korkster What's HULU? Is it free? Is it dial-up friendly? Do I have to download anything special in order to use it?

RaisedByMongrels In this day and age one should never assume anything. Prototype pictures almost always look better than the actual product, especially something that is mass produced and specially painted, like action figures.

As I said, I don't know anything about these goggles, but if the site offered them to fans specifically and showed silver ones on their main page, then, yes, there is a reasonable expectancy to get the desired product. IF that's all they carry is the one color and one style. But it seems they're a wholesale supplier, and it would stand to reason they have several different colors/types/styles depending on the need.

Dunno. Just know it was shite for them to say "We've got 'em! Come and buy 'em!" and then turn around and say "Sorry, suckers!"
Ah, thank you, ShadowQuest, for asking! You've given me the chance to share something with you that I enjoy immensely. :)

HULU is free, and if I remember correctly, you don't need to download anything. Both pluses. I'm not sure how it fares on dial-up (I use the computer at work), but I'm sure someone will answer that question for you within 24 hours. ;)

I don't know how informed you are about Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog, but it's Joss' newest hit, strictly from his hands to ours, over the internet. He recently re-posted it on HULU to give viewers a second chance to catch it. There, you'll see his witty (as usual) blog and the video down below. As mentioned before, it's FREE. There are a couple of teeny-tiny commercials between breaks to help fund, and the more we watch the better. I highly recommend you check it out. :)
"The same guy that posted the message on the forums has now responded"

Yeah, whatever, Dave. You're still a douche bag.
Venting at poor customer service is one thing; but personal insults don't fly here, Sly, OK?
Well, Something happened with this little situation. Possibly due to some attention on this and several other sites. I just received an Email from the company indicating a full refund of the cost and shipping has been issued due to the goggles not matching, and that the goggles need not be returned. Thanks Dave. That is customer service.
Poor customer service is inexcusable, no matter what kind of orders or customers they are used to. Even if they were unprepared for multiple individual orders and were unused to customers asking for the goggles as seen in the picture (and that just doesn't fly, considering that they went DIRECTLY to a costuming forum for Dr. Horrible, advertised their own product, AND allow for individual orders rather than having a minimum number of orders), there is no reason they could not have expressed their frustration politely. No reason. And as for the refunds costing them business? That shouldn't be a problem for a company that deals in bulk orders for all kinds of safety equipment. That's barely a dent in their profit, especially since they had only shipped out 21 orders before they were informed of the problem.

Anyways, if you look closely at the silver ones that WERE available, I believe they actually are the exact ones used. Look at the placement of the vents and also look at the strap. It has the exact same black and red pattern that you can see in Dr. Horrible. They probably just used paint to make the goggles look aged.

[ edited by ShamelessSingingRennie on 2008-08-01 19:34 ]
Oh, come on. I work for a small business and I've witnessed my boss talk back to customers who are being stupid and not give in to their ridiculous demands. And I've done it myself, told him about it, and he's laughed.

This is what I was talking about: People feeling entitled. As a customer, when deal with a store, you do business their way or you take your business elsewhere. That's the free market. If a retailer doesn't care about your insignificant purchase and there's absolutely no chance of you ever needing something from them again, they don't owe you good customer service or anything. There are plenty of places that have a strict no return/all sales final policy. Some businesses have adopted a "the customer is always right" approach, but only to secure returning customers. That mindset is not hardwired into business.
"There are plenty of places that have a strict no return/all sales final policy. "

Yes, but it has to be stated upfront. If not, you don't get to be an ass to someone just because they are ticking you off, especially after you went to THEM to hark your wares.
This is what I was talking about: People feeling entitled. As a customer, when deal with a store, you do business their way or you take your business elsewhere. That's the free market.


One of the assumptions underlying free-market ideology is that there is a parallel free market for information, namely that dissatisfied customers are free to tell any Tom, Dick or Harry what they think of a particular business' customer service. Which is exactly what the original poster in question was doing: informing the whole world of his opinion that Pendergast's customer service sucks.
@dingoes8 - My problem with this has less to do with what is or is not acceptable business practice in a free market society and EVERYTHING to do with not being a rude prick to other people. I couldn't possibly care less whether or not Widget Sales Spectacular, Inc. makes a profit or not. But there is no call to be arrogant and douchebaggy to another person, customer or not. That's just common sense... or rather it SHOULD be.

Now in terms of business practice I do tend to fight back the gag reflex at the ridiculous aphorism "the customer is always right." Bah! But having said that I echo BrewBunny's statement above. The business has the right to be obnoxious to a customer as long as they recognize that the customer has every right to voice their displeasure. If the company doesn't CARE that they get bad word of mouth, well than I guess there's nothing really that can be said about that, eh? But rest assured when I receive poor customer service I go above and beyond in my efforts to make that known to everyone that holds still long enough to listen.
I couldn't possibly care less whether or not Widget Sales Spectacular, Inc. makes a profit or not.


Haunt, as your broker (not), I must advise you that as of this morning you are the proud owner of 2,000 shares of Widget Sales Spectacular, Inc. common stock, so now is the time to start caring! Ok, I just wanted to type Widget Sales Spectacular, Inc., which is the best fake company name of the day (founded as it was, no doubt, by Fake Thomas Jefferson or at the very least someone pretending to be him).
zeitgest, I wouldn't assume that "Widget Sales Spectacular, Inc." is a fake name. I've come across a gazillion funky names for legal entities over the years, including many with the name "Widget" in it. Do a search over at the California Secretary of State website and you'll find companies called "GENERAL WIDGET, INC.," "WIDGET AMALGAMATED, INC.," "WIDGET WORKS, LLC," and my favorite, "THE GREAT WIDGET CORPORATION."
Hey Zeitgeist--Are you responsible for a San Francisco Dr. Horrible art related meet-up?????

And back on topic, I agree that nobody should be mean to anyone else. But people have to understand that not everyone is as nice as us and to assume these small businesses will be patient and understanding when discussing the aesthetics of a pair of welding goggles used in an internet film costume might be setting ones self up for disappointment.

And I DO have a solution for everyone looking for a kick-ass pair of Dr. Horrible goggles...cut up an egg carton and secure to your head with string. Presto, Dr. Horrible goggles. (I'll keep working on it)
alexreager - I am not as far as I know (there could be a whole Tyler Durden thing going on); am I missing something? :).

BrewBunny - point taken.
this strange Dr. Horrible thing

That was my favorite part of the rude letter.

*sigh*

Unfortunately, rude customer service seems to be in vogue. I can't get a coffee at the local coffee shop without the barista girl looking at me like I killed her mother. I have no idea why this happens. I don't expect someone to be overtly friendly, but to be overtly rude? for no apparent reason? I don't even know her, and I never killed her mother. I swear.

People seem to think that they are doing you a favor by taking your order, when in fact you are the one paying. They are also getting paid to do their job, so I don't really know where the animosity comes from.

Sorry, rant over.
ShanshuBugaboo,
"and I never killed her mother. I swear."
This should be remedied immediately if you wish to join the ELoE.[/jesting]

General: I've worked customer service a lot. As much as saying what you're thinking is appealing, it's not the way to go. I get that some of the posters here understand that the few orders for these goggles that this company received, were barely a blip on the radar of "business" for them, but I don't get excusing their initial behavior. I hope that those who believe their "Bait and Switch" behavior was understandable get treated to such from every company they deal with for the rest of their lives. Go buy a ticket to "The Dark Knight" and get shown "Glitter", meh, ya got a movie, "Shut up and deal with it." I hope you never get what you pay for, and can shrug off the disappointment as easily as you express others should.
Again to Dave: I'm glad you came around. I appreciate what you've done for those of us who over zealously ordered your product without looking into the details. I also hope that the fallout of this event is minimal for you personally and professionally. Maybe you'll even look into this strange Dr. Horrible thing and get a few laughs from our obsession.
Me? I'm off to watch it for the 54th time.
Cheers all,
*begins slow applause*
am I missing something?

Said art meetup takes place at a place with your name. Your orange name, not your other one.
Ok, then I definitely missed something. I don't know what art meetup we are talking about.

*slow applause*
That's a fun bar, though. That bar with the same name as your orange one. At which there's possibly an art meet up not organized by you.

*absolutely no applause*
Suddenly I'm hearing "what color Orange Ford do you want?" playing in a round in my head.

*one hand clapping*
*Kia-Ora advert*
Are you from New Zealand, ZG?
Nope :). I can do the accent, though.

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