Filed under "Complaints"
Brand Insecurities on Display: MVMT Watches
Honestly, the idea of writing a blog post about a beef I have with some random company feels plenty distasteful, but sometimes the situation leaves one feeling like they have no other recourse. Ideally, someone googling for MVMT or Chrono Black/Tan Leather watch will be able to read this this and draw their own conclusions.
It all started with an email from MVMT Watches to review the watch I had recently purchased — a fetching Chrono Black/Tan Leather. “Tell us what you think!” the email said. Here’s what I wrote:
Very Stylish (4 stars)
Overall, I’m quite happy with this watch. It’s a striking design, and it looks just as good in person as it does in the photos. I get compliments all the time when I wear it. Well worth the purchase, for sure!
I would have given this watch 5 stars if it had not been for 2 small things:
1. The strap feels a bit “spongy” — if that makes sense. The upper appears to be actual leather, but it feels like a super-thin veneer of leather. I understand that “genuine leather” bands cannot be expected to use really thick leather, but it does feel really lightweight for the price of the watch. And consider that Timex sells its Waterbury x Red Wing chronos with thick leather bands for less than the price of this watch.
2. The chronograph pushers are very “clicky”. Meaning, when depressed, they make a click sound and feel like they stick for a moment before releasing back up. The effect is that it feels like something is broken, missing, or not lubricated. Again — even at this low price point — that the pusher action is not smooth like a $60 Timex just seems wrong.
(It’s also worth mentioning that I had to Google how to set the date and align the chronograph hands. Seems like a silly thing for MVMT to not provide any printed instructions with the watch, and to also make this information so difficult to find on the website.)
This review was never posted. After looking through the other ~50 reviews for the watch, I noticed that they were all 5 star reviews. Sorry, no one has a track record like that. Here’s one 5-star review from 2/27/16 that is still inexplicably posted for all to see:
LOSING MINUTES (5 stars)
I’m finding my watch is losing minutes every few days not really happy with that situation you keep sending pop up ads on every page I go on very annoying at this point would not rebuy or recommend your product to any of my acquaintances
I find it hard to believe that a reviewer would rate a watch that does not accurately tell time at 5 stars. Something tells me that this reviewer figured out that a 5-star rating was the only way to have their voice heard and consequently gamed the system.
Taking this approach, I resubmitted my review again — this time rating it 5 stars but adding a disclaimer at the top that I was only rating it this highly to get it posted. I’m smart! And for a couple of days, it worked. My review posted and was viewable even after a page refresh, and on different devices. Success! The voice of the customer had been heard!
Nope. It’s been removed.
Look, I get it: you have an open comment form and the internet is full of trolls. You gotta police that thing. But when a verified purchaser posts a generally positive review with a few light criticisms, removing it without explanation casts a shadow over everything you are. It makes you look like a child who sticks their fingers in their ears and yells to drown out the sound of disagreeable people talking.
Put on your big boy pants, MVMT.
Update (5/19/16) — My grousing on Twitter got the attention of MVMT customer service, who emailed me to resolve the situation. Apparently it has been the company’s policy to closely monitor incoming reviews, take down any review that seems to contain any hint of dissatisfaction, and follow up with the reviewer via email to resolve their concerns privately. This is, of course, a terrible policy and I’ve been told that it will be changing.
However, that this seemed like a good idea in the first place strikes me as incredulous. Removing reviews under the guise of a customer satisfaction protocol? It’s hard to believe that in this day and age an entirely internet-based business would not expect backlash over review censorship, however good the intentions.
In the end, though, my review is back up at its original 4-star rating. And yes, I’ll be checking periodically to see if it sticks. :)
Update (9/15/16) — I checked my review on whim and noticed that MVMT has redesigned their reviews area in such a way that you cannot sort by date or rating as you could previously. As a result, my review is now many clicks away, toward the end of the list. Okay.
The review itself has been edited by… someone. Apparently MVMT is threatened by mentions of competitors, so they edited out my 2 mentions of Timex, which very much changes the basic gist of my review.
What a bunch of babies.
A Suggested TV Commercial Script for Tobacco Lobbyists.
Guys, this meme has been working wonders for the high fructose corn syrup cause. Maybe it’ll help take the heat off you, too.
How to Write an Episode of Fringe.
- Open the show with a scene of some random person with “special abilities” wreaking havoc on innocent people.
- Agent Dunham and the X-Squad to the rescue!
- Insert predictable field research scenes with lots of confused & incredulous looks.
- Peter “Pacey” Bishop says something stunningly witty and passively crushes on Agent Dunham.
Hooray, stream of consciousness time.
One of the things that has constantly bothered me about social networks, and make me take pause as I interact with them, is the exclusive, unchangeable use of the word “friend” to describe the relationship you are about to enter into with others.
Ecosystems of Failure.
A brief conversation in the car ride down to SXSW brought to my mind a topic that I’ve been thinking about for a while now.
How To Architect a Critical Software Update.
- Don’t update your customers on how the update is going on your Home page. This is called “creating hype and mystique.”
- Maintain radio silence on your blog for 3 weeks after your initial “we are working on an update” post. This builds buzz and sizzle.
- Don’t update the product page with information on when your customers might expect the update. No one would look there anyways, right?
- Keep all discussion about the update confined to a poorly-constructed message board thread. And by “thread” I mean thread with lame navigation.
- Be very cryptic when responding to questions on the poorly-constructed message board thread. Everyone loves a mystery!
Ten Things To Do While Waiting for AT&T to Hook Up Your Internet Service
- Grow a beard.
- Read several dozen books.
- Watch several dozen movies.
- Learn to crochet.
- Peel lots and lots of potatoes.
- Attempt to measure the depth of your disappointment.
- Take up a new hobby, like microbiology or cheese.
- Purchase a variety of wiring from Lowe’s and build your own internet.
- Reincarnate yourself as a DSL technician.
- Enjoy a nice long coma.
It seems that some movies these days are too content to be mediocre. Too many times I leave the theatre thinking “I could have done better than that.” And that’s sad, because I supposedly know nothing of filmmaking, really. But what I do know is a good story; plotlines, surprising reveals, dialogue, character development, subtlety. Ah, subtlety. The Da Vinci Code rammed subtlety down my throat. But I digress. In light of my disappointment with today’s modern cinema, I have come up with three very plausible theories to explain Hollywood’s shortcomings:
Call of Duty 2: My Review
I love WW2 FPS games. I started off with Medal Of Honor: Allied Assault years ago, and was blown away when Call Of Duty was released. Visually and technically, it was leaps and bounds beyond the competition. Have times changed? With the gifting season upon us, I review what I like and dislike about the newest addition to the Call of Duty lineup.
Please be so kind as to jump off a cliff. Yes, any cliff will do.
Too harsh? I don’t think so. When I first put my new Imogen Heap CD in my computer, I read and declined your EULA. But guess what? You installed files anyways. That’s right, I declined your request to install files and you did it anyways. I don’t know what they do, and I don’t care. You weren’t invited.
A Tale of Ink and Paper.
Last Saturday I was typing up some papers that had to be printed out when the inkjet printer that came free with my computer purchase informed me that my black ink was about to run out. I shouldn’t have been surprised; as these el cheapo printers get more compact and “space-efficient,” so do the ink cartridges.
When 1994 Attacks.
Ah, 1994. OJ’s low-speed police chase makes the Ford Bronco famous. Nancy Kerrigan survives Tanya Harding’s hit squad. Thousands of young men start rocking the “Ross Gellar” haircut. Good times.
Good times? Not entirely. Some things are best left behind. Forever.
I came home last night to an email sent by a former colleague of mine. Sometime last year we had landed a client in the beauty pageant business. It was an exciting opportunity to work up designs that were more classy and more fashionable than our ususal fare. My friend and co-worker, Matthew Esparza, kicked off the project by creating a beautiful Latin-flavored logo and the beginnings of a great client identity. By the time I was brought into the project to work up website comps, we had put ourselves into a very open, creative position. The design I ultimately came up with — while it may not be the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen — was certainly classy, dignified, and a credit to the burgeoning pageant’s credibility. The work was significant enough that I’ve had it in my portfolio for some time now.
So when I read that email last night, you will understand why I cringed, laughed and wanted to cry — all at the same time. As designers, we take time to not only make pretty things but understand why a product should look the way it does.
It’s never pretty when 1994 attacks:
This is what the website used to look like, as I designed it:
You will note that one of the main benefits of this design is that it doesn’t make you want to gouge your eyes out with a spork. Nevertheless, someone involved with the pageant decided that classy and professional was kind of overrated and that their cousin’s kid could probably rock out a comparable website instead of an experienced professional.
I’ve experienced the pain of watching a carefully laid-out design be broken and misedited by a third party out of my control. That just comes with the territory, as does this incident. What is most amazing to me is the sheer — well, ugliness — of the work that has replaced my own. It’s not even pride talking, because we all know that no website really lasts forever. Change can be good. I just didn’t think professional organizations actually allowed work like this to represent them. Looks like I was wrong.
Your Restaurant Needs A Redesign.
In this, my time of transition, I have had increased exposure to the “bar-and-grill” variety of restaurant. As utensils have been packed or The Wife has been out of town, I have frequented a fair number of what I consider to be “mid-level” eateries; sit-down establishments in the vein of Chili’s or TGI Friday’s. Though it is certainly nothing to make me never go back, I have noticed an unusual practice begin to take root.
It may be that I am witness to some sort of non-standard formula, and that this really isn’t growing in prevalence. Still, it is a bit irksome. A waiter comes to my table and takes my order. Before my food comes, he stops by a couple of times to refill my water. But when the food comes to my table, it is someone new who brings it. Sometimes this person is obviously a cook or “backend” personnel who is not presentably dressed, like my waiter. Not dirty, but not presentable. In every case, this new person has no idea what I ordered. So, depending on how many individuals are at the table, a disorganized game of “Where Does This Plate Go?” or “Who Ordered The Fries?” ensues.
This reminded me of a discussion I once had with an employer about continuity as part of user experience on the web. People don’t like it when a familiar process is changed or altered. You’re expecting one thing, and something else happens. I believe the specific issue I was evangelizing with my employer was an order process. He saw nothing wrong with sending the customer to a different website to enter their payment details as long as the new site “looked like the old one.” My argument was that customers who buy online pay attention to URLs and would be less likely to trust a payment process that took place at a strange URL — especially when there was no advisement that a new URL would be used to process the transaction.
Has the role of the waiter changed without anyone telling me? It’s not a huge deal, but it does affect my experience as a customer. I am less inclined to leave a good tip because the waiter has, in my mind, done less that his job. I don’t necessarily feel valued or served, either. My past experience is my frame of reference. Instead of dealing with one person for all my needs, I now deal with 2 or 3? The process has changed, and no one told me.
Don’t change an expected process without research and proper advisement. It’s just good manners.
Is it just me, or is customer service hitting an all-time low?
It all started yesterday with an epic search for a replacement battery for my APC battery backup power supply, which woke me up in the middle of the night with hideous warning beeps. At about 10:00, I called Best Buy to see if they had what I needed. After getting the store’s “We’re Closed” phone message, I went back to work. Ten minutes later, the store’s phone system still insisted that the store was closed — even though any geek worth his optical mouse knows that it opens at 10 a.m.
To make a long story short, this song and dance continued on for 3 hours. When I finally did get through to Best Buy’s automated phone system, my call was transfered to the Computer department where the phone rang for 10 minutes with no answer. I even tried to call Best Buy’s corporate customer service center, but guess what? There was no phone option that allowed me to talk to anyone who could actually help me. And don’t think I didn’t try any competitors. Both of my calls to Circuit City ended when someone picked up the phone and then hung up on me. I did get through to CompUSA after two attempts, but they didn’t have my battery.
So I bought my battery online. Take that, ya retail jerkweeds.
But the fun doesn’t end there. One of our clients has shelled out a good chunk of cash for a MediaTemple appliance server. We recently discovered that all of the client’s .zip and .sit files, which are on the server for customers to download, were generating error pages instead of downloading. So off I go to open a support ticket, asking why in the world the files won’t download when every $5/mo. ‘el cheapo’ webhost I’ve ever used has never had to be tweaked to make the files download.
Later that night I get the MT response, which basically said:
Unfortunately our ability to provide the custom technical support you requested will be somewhat limited. Media Temple’s support department focus and priority is making sure that our servers and network are running efficiently and are responding the Internet correctly. We suggest that you consult a professional system administrator or web developer to help you further with such issues.
What? Maybe I was just cranky from a day frought with customer dissatisfaction, but I grunted in disapproval and forwarded the email to our Account Manager.
The next morning I get an email telling me that the reason the files weren’t downloading was because they were in a folder whose name is reserved for use by the Apache webserver. There’s no way we could have known that on our end, and it took the support guy at MT all of a couple minutes to discover that and change the folder name. Everything is fine now.
It just feels like so many service providers expect you to work for them, instead of the other way around. I know this is nothing new, but this is Best Buy and MediaTemple we’re talking about here. Come on, guys. Don’t be jerks. Help me. It’s your job.
All Puppies Eventually Grow Up.
A recent article by revered Atlanta-based designer Todd Dominey sparked some thoughts that have been sitting on my backburner.
When I began my current job here at G2E, we had something to prove. We were an unknown design company in a big city that has, historically, not fostered much growth in the new media field. Although the company had actually been around for a few years, no one really knew about us. With an influx of investor capital came the opportunity to hire new designers (like me, in May 2003), buy new equipment, and make a name for ourselves.
A major priority for any design firm is the company website. It is often the first contact between designer and client. Even when designers and clients are brought together by other means, the website is undoubtedly used at some point in the job negotiation process to measure the creativity, skill, professionalism and organization of the company. We all know it: your website is your face on the web, your 24-hour salesman. It had better do its job.
Being unknowns in the business community, we felt the need to “show off” — really flex those creative muscles and put up a website that “wowed” its audience. We were the new dogs in a strange kennel, if you will.
The website paid off. Originally offered as Flash only, the HTML side was just added in the last few months, squeezed in between other projects as I covertly studied CSS and web standards. Our Flash site, while essentially simplistic and straightforward, accomplished its purpose. Every one of our clients have been impressed, and convinced of our creative capabilities.
But our little company has entered a new phase of its life. We have a potent portfolio under our belts now, and a list of satisfied clients to use as references. We have done a fair amount of Flash work, but we have done equal amounts of HTML and print work. While the decision to eschew Flash for the next incarnation of our company website is not entirely in my hands, that is the direction I am leaning. The real question is why.
I’m not just enamored by CSS/XHTML layouts; I’m convinced that, compared to a Flash website, our company would benefit more from using this non-Flash alternative. Let me run through the list of pro’s and con’s of switching to an HTML website:
- HTML pages can be indexed by search engines. The typical Flash site ends the crawling at Page 1.
- HTML doesn’t need a preloader. Flash does.
- With a properly-employed CMS or template structure, updating an HTML page can take minutes compared to hours in Flash.
- You will never need to update your HTML plugin.
These are just a few points I have considered, and are common knowledge to most web designers. The trick is convicing the higher-ups that we can achieve a sophisticated web presence without using Flash. It is about letting the work we have produced shine through with unfettered brilliance, not sinking small thumbnails into an elaborately-transitioning site.
Well, that’s my thought for the day — coherent or not. Wish me luck as I gather my ammunition for the decisions and meetings ahead!
Breaking News? Let's Fix It.
Last night, about 10 minutes into my favorite show in the whole wide world — Extreme Makeover: Home Edition — the commercial break was interrupted by a breaking local news story:
A small, single-engine aircraft has crashed on the roof of a San Antonio retirement home. The incliment weather could be to blame, but we’re not sure. No one from the home has been injured, but it is believed that the pilot has been killed in the impact. We’ll keep you up to date.
Fine. This event is actually quite worthy of a news break, and the information was dispensed with reasonable brevity.
About fifteen minutes later, the local news cut in once again. The same information was once again dispensed but, this time, the news anchor sat down with another news anchor who had taken flying lessons at some point in his life to discuss possible reasons for the crash. Sigh. This guy was not a pilot, mind you, and really had no qualifications to be making any assertions about anything crash-related. They cut over to the weatherman a couple of times as he literally took guesses as to why the aircraft went down. All he could do was point out that we were having rainy weather. Perceptive. I was trying to be patient, but it was becoming increasingly difficult. Time was ticking away, and though I truly believe that this news story was worthy of a brief update, there was no update, only repetition. It was as if these news anchors were simply repeating themselves ad nauseum just to hear the sound of their own important voices. Twenty minutes later, regular programming resumed and I had learned absolutely nothing new about the crash.
Wednesday night, I missed the last five minutes of CSI:NY because of a news break announcing the death of Yasser Arafat.
The news came on right after the news break, and guess what the top story was? You, guessed it: repeat-o-rama. Was it really necessary to break into regular programming to air a story that was already going to be aired five minutes later on the national news?
Let me be clear: I understand the importance of breaking news. I was disappointed to miss major portions of my television entertainment, but I could have forgiven the intrusion had there been anything informative or urgent about the news I received. Instead, I sat and listened to my local news team repeat the same information over and over and over again, with no end in sight. I didn’t see the CSI team solve the case, I got to see a news break. And then I got to see the exact same story on the news right after the news break.
I have seen this behavior many a time. My local news teams seem to be the least experienced in this sort of adlib newscasting, but seasoned outlets such as CBS have caused me great frustration as well. The protocol for these breaks seems to be, well, breaking down. Why do these news anchors feel the need to rehash the facts and events over and over again? Don’t they realized that once you start repeating yourself you actually may have nothing more to say? I have seen way too much stammering and adlibbing during breaking news stories lately.
Breaking news? You bet. And it’s high time we fixed it.