Direct Line Blog

From the Department of the Ridiculous

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In what's either a hoax or a bizarro attempt at brand-building, Zappos.com has put a $50,000 T-shirt up for sale.

The "limited edition" shirt, which reads "It only cost me $50,000 to stop my [wife, husband, etc.] from shopping at Zappos.com!" comes with the guarantee that Zappos will permanently disable your significant other's Zappos account. The company also promises that a member of the Zappos Customer Loyalty Team (CLT) will personally deliver the shirt anywhere in the US and stick around for up to an hour as "...a shoulder to cry on...for your significant other. As time permits," the product description continues, "the CLT rep will also be available to share tears of joy with you. The CLT rep will be happy to frolic in a field of daisies with you or do anything that is mutually agreed upon to not be morally or ethically objectionable."

I'm 95% sure this is some kind of joke, and I'm not sure that I get it. What is the point? To brag that people like spending a lot on Zappos? Makes sense, until you turn around and publicly plot against those same high spenders with their significant others. Even in jest, that's kind of obnoxious.

On the other hand, what if it's real, and Zappos is essentially stealing $50,000 from rich fools who don't understand that getting a new e-mail address will quickly solve the disabled shopper's problem? Well, perhaps that fool and his money deserved to be parted, but it's still diabolical, Zappos.

Of course, the utter ridiculousness of the offer is sure to get them free publicity, silly stunt or not, so Zappos wins there, but I wonder if it will endear the company to its shoppers or annoy them away. Zappos has gotten so many accolades on its customer service, I'm curious to see how much this one goofy misstep could hurt it.

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