Recently a friend shared a real customer service experience with me. She graciously allowed me to share the email communication verbatim with you. Other than the actual company name, the names have been changed to protect the innocent (and the guilty)

  • A= Customer
  • X= first customer service rep
  • Y= second customer service rep/supervisor
  • Z= potentially more seasoned supervisor

The highlighted comments are mine.

Context: This is a mustard I once bought on impulse. I loved it.

Wildly Delicious Mustard


But then I couldn’t find it again, so I went on their website and began calling and/or visiting all the Toronto stores they listed. No luck. I placed orders for it at Pusateri’s and a ritzy Rosedale specialty grocery store.  No one even got back to me to say they couldn’t get it.

Finally, I decided to write to the company. Here’s what happened.


Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 5:38 PM


Subject: Message From Website Form – Consumer Form details below:



Country: Canada

Province/State: Ontario

City: Toronto

Telephone: AAA-AAAA

Message: I’m going crazy trying to find your Jalapeño Mustard. I’ve even tried ordering it from Summerhill Market in Rosedale and from Pusateri’s in Bayview Village and no one has gotten back to me.

Have you discontinued it?

Where can I buy it in Toronto ? (Or can I come by your location and buy it there?)




Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 9:24:54 AM

Subject: Inquiry – Jalapeno Mustard


Unfortunately, I was not able to find a retailer in Toronto that sells our Jalapeno Mustard. And it’s currently out of stock here in our factory. Sorry about that.

Thank you.


Customer Service

Wildly Delicious Fine Foods

114 A Railside rd. Toronto , Ontario M3A 1A3

T: 416 – 444 – 2011 ext. 246

F: 416-444-0010





Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 10:21 AM


Subject: Re: Inquiry – Jalapeno Mustard


I can’t believe that’s the best reply you could come up.

The first question I asked was if the product had been discontinued and you never answered that.

HAS it been discontinued? If so, I’ll stop looking for it in stores and stop emailing you about it.

If it HASN’T been discontinued (and if you really are in “Customer Service”) you could have said: “As soon as we have more, I’ll let you know and will tell you where you can buy it.”

Or better still, “…I’ll keep a few jars in my office for you to pick up.”

And whether or not it’s been discontinued, where IS it available currently: what cities and what stores?

Maybe I could go there or have friends pick some up for me.


AAAAAAAAA, (Y is a second — possibly more experienced — Customer Service person’s response)

A better e-mail would read: (really — the customer service person is offering advice on how a customer should express their dissatisfaction)

Thank you for your assistance XXXXXX, but as I explained to you I am absolutely crazy for this mustard. I am willing to go great lengths.

Please provide me with any information on where to buy it in Ontario

  • Canoe Fresh Foods : 705 514 5000
  • Olive & Kiwi Fine Foods: 905 517 7000
  • Present Times: 519 720 9988
  • Naked Vine: 905 951 7253

XXXXX did note that the product is on b/o; unfortunately we do not have an ETA at this time.

Kind regards,

YYYYYYY (new person responding — has it been kicked upstairs for a more experience hand)

Bilingual Customer Service

114 A Railside rd.

Toronto, Ontario M3A 1A3

T; 416 444.2011 EXT #227

F; 416 444.0010

TOLL FREE; 1 888 545.9995




Sent: Thursday, February 21, 2013 12:02 PM


Cc: ZZZZZZZZZ (was an even more senior person copied on the exchange — boy, is this getting exciting)

Subject: Re: Inquiry – Jalapeno Mustard


Thanks for the additional information but why would I thank XXXXX for her assistance?

She didn’t give me any, nor did she say the product was on back order. She merely said you were out of stock.

She offered no alternative action. Her email was a dead end.

And I’m sorry to disappoint you for not enthusing like a 14-year-old on Twitter in my reply to her.

Women my age don’t write breathless emails.

As for your reply, it was the bare minimum in terms of helpfulness.

What cities are these stores in?

You know what—never mind. I’ll continue making my own jalapeño mustard.

It tastes exactly like yours—and it’s a lot less work than exchanging emails with you and XXXXX.




I apologize for the lack of information. I certainly did not mean to upset you. We do appreciate the loyalty of our customers.

We were unable to find anything in Toronto and most of these locations are great distances.

  • Canoe Fresh foods – Washago 705 514 5000
  • Olive & kiwi fine foods – Hamilton 905 517 7000
  • Present Times – Brantford 519 720 9988
  • Naked Vine – Bolton 905 951 7253

I wish I could give you more information; however we do not have more to give at this time.

We are having trouble getting one of the ingredients for the mustard.

I have a case of Jalapeno Mustard. You can come by and pick up a couple of jars …. It expires at the end of March. Will that work for you?

We are located at 114 A Railside rd, Toronto Ont. M3A 1A3


Bilingual Customer Service

114 A Railside rd.

Toronto, Ontario M3A 1A3

T; 416 444.2011 EXT #227

F; 416 444.0010

TOLL FREE; 1 888 545.9995



Forget it. You’ve lost me as a customer.


My Perspective: My friends final comment to me sums up this experience perfectly.

“Admittedly, I got annoyed and let my annoyance and incredulity show, but honestly, these women have no right to have “customer service” in their titles.”

In a few short emails, the company turned a passionate customer into a highly vocal critic. Rather than telling friends about the great product she had discovered and helping Wildly Delicious grow their business, instead she will tell the story of the poor customer experience — probably many more times.

Such a shame.