An Illinois-based business called Cakes N Things distinctly falls into the latter category. On June 14th, 2009, the Anchorage Daily News' Alaska Ear column (scroll down to the paragraph labeled "Worst Ever") informs us of the experience of an Alaskan resident who is also a military spouse. She wanted to get hold of some military-emblem candy molds. So she discovered the Cakes N Things website, and, logically presuming by virtue of their presence on the Web that they might actually want her business, compiled an order of about 30 items. But Cakes N Things apparently did not provide sufficient instructions for her to place her order successfully. So she e-mailed the company, and in return was told she couldn't place an order because "Alaskans were too much trouble to ship to". So she fired back what was reportedly a polite suggestion that they save everyone involved some time by stating up front that they don't ship to Alaska. Here's the response she received in return:
"From: Clarke Smith
"Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2009 10:11 AM
"To: (Pamela V)
"Subject: RE: shipping question
"And you just proved our point.
"Everyone from Alaska thinks we should be doing something special to accommodate them. They feel they are different from everyone else and deserving special consideration or something special should be done for them. BTW. ... copying images from our website and putting them in emails is a copyright violation. Please refrain from such usage in the future.
"Please don't bother us anymore either. Alaskans way (sic) have too much frozen space between their ears. Please be sure when you start bitching to people about this email, and I'm sure you will since you are from Alaska, that you spell our name right.
Gee, Mr. Smith, why don't you tell us what you REALLY think, huh? Obviously, from the tone and syntax of the response, the issue isn't merely Alaska. I've seen the same tone taken and syntax used by Palin-bashers in the Lower 48. So this person is obviously using this as an opportunity to vent his spleen about Sarah Palin, albeit without mentioning her by name.
And Mr. Smith apparently hasn't grasped the concept of intellectual property rights. Copying images from their website and putting them in an individual email is NOT a copyright violation. Publishing the images on a blog or website without permission would be a copyright violation. Of course, if his company doesn't want to ship to Alaska, that's their business. Just bear in mind that they are deliberately freezing themselves out of a market with over 600,000 people. Alaska Ear notes that the site now carries the warning that the company does not ship to Alaska.
A check of the Better Business Bureau website indicates that not only is Cakes N Things NOT a BBB-accredited business, but that the BBB has given them a letter grade of "F". The reasons: Eight complaints filed against the business, BBB does not have sufficient background information on this business, and failure to respond to one complaint filed against business. In addition, the company indicates that it will only work with its customers after receiving a complaint and declines to work with the BBB to resolve issues. Ripoff Report describes another instance of customer abuse by this company. And here's another Ripoff Report from November 2007.
For those of you in the lower 48, think about this: If Cakes N Things responds to an Alaskan in such a snarky, disrespectful way, they could respond to you in the same fashion. Their BBB rating should also be a deterrent.