Wow. Just Wow. Trouble at Two Peas in a Bucket!

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If you don’t have 20 minutes free right now, just back away. Okay, I warned you!

As I’ve mentioned many times here over the years, I’m a member of the Two Peas in a Bucket message board community. I joined in April 2007 … wow, 6 years ago! At first I lurked, then began posting and have spent many a leisure hour chatting with other scrappers from all over the world.

Two Peas is an online store with a large stock of scrapbooking items. They’ve always been a very popular place to shop and I think part of that is because of all the extras they offer: Several message board forums (scrapbooking, NSBR, digital, photography, etc.), Garden Girls aka a design team, free and paid classes, free videos, and an amazing gallery.

I’ve really enjoyed my time there very much. Just talking about the General Scrappin’ (GS) board, it has always been pretty much a free-for-all about what topics you could post. I guess you were supposed to refer to Michaels as M’s and Joanns as J’s but everyone of course knew which stores you were talking about. Also talked about were: Kit clubs, other big box craft stores, Costco, Big Lots, Tuesday Morning, TJ Maxx, Ross, other online scrapbooking stores, direct sales companies (like the one I work for, MEMORY WORKS, along with CTMH, Stampin’ Up, Creative Memories, etc).

Not only were all these other sources of scrapbook supplies discussed, links were provided directly to them. Sales and good deals were discussed, new products, coupons, rewards, catalog promotions, kit releases, etc. As a person who markets scrapbook supplies myself, I have to admit it did surprise me that such a free environment was allowed by Two Peas. But whatevs. It’s their business and they can run it the way they see fit.

Over time, I came to see that it really was a pretty smart move. Two Peas had THE most active board with hundreds of thousands of members {aka Peas}. When you Google pretty much anything having to do with scrapbooking, Two Peas threads will be on page 1, leading a plethora of scrapbookers to the Two Peas store via the message board.

An active board with happy scrappers posting often – seemed like a great thing after all. Sure, some business was driven away by the links to other online and brick-and-mortar deals. But I personally feel like all the traffic and positivity and good will – and ENABLING! – was a good thing and a smart move for the Two Peas store overall. Maybe Two Peas own sales stats contradict that, I don’t know.

At various points, I think management has posted to remind the Peas of their TOU (terms of use), which DOES say that you’re not allowed to post links leading to other scrapbook stores, etc. You agree to the TOU when you sign up. The problem was – the TOU was either not enforced or enforced unevenly. It seemed to me that when the Peas didn’t follow the gentle TOU reminders, the board admins just kind of threw up their hands and decided that “anything goes” was okay.

So the reason I’m telling you all of this is that the TOU has been a major bone of contention lately, mainly because of THIS POST by the management. It really fanned some flames because the Peas felt it wasn’t clear and wasn’t fair. Also many thought that if this very strict TOU was enforced, there wouldn’t be much left to talk about, LOL.

Two Peas owns the site and it costs them money to maintain the message boards. They have a business they’re trying to keep going in an extremely difficult economy. It truly is their playground and their rules and I think everybody gets that. But many felt that in the weeks following that TOU announcement, some threads that violated TOU were pulled and others weren’t = unfair and confusing.

So the Peas were on edge. For many, this was kind of a “three strikes, you’re out” kind of thing. First, the message board NEW DESIGN debacle in Oct. 2012, then the CUSTOMER LOYALTY PROGRAM mix-up in Jan. 2013, and now this. A lot of Peas were sticking around to enjoy the forums and videos but vowed not to purchase from Two Peas any more. Oh, and add the frequent complaints about the high cost of shipping, LOL.

This is all just to try and put into perspective WHY the fit hit the shan so severely this week! Because now we have a new issue and I can’t share some of the threads with you because they’ve been deleted by Two Peas admins. Actually, I’m just going to quote a synopsis that was posted on a remaining thread (remember, this is just one person’s view of how it went down … we cannot see the actual threads to verify it as fact):

- a Pea did not receive free 6×6 pad with order, and was upset. Was not happy with 2Peas’ CS response. Started GS thread.
- other Peas agreed with OP. CS responded on thread and thread was locked.
- 6x6Pea started second thread, complaining about locked thread. Many Peas vocal about 2Peas’ response of locking thread. Several Peas very harsh and vocal about 2Peas’ CS response.
- vocal Peas on 2nd thread were placed under 24 hour ban — this includes [three Peas names; ultimately I think there were 5-6 Peas banned]).
- Peas (like me) noticed ban and asked about it and voiced disappointment in second thread.
- both threads deleted.
- third thread started saying “surprise, thread pulled” and it has now also been deleted.

Here was the response from Two Peas customer service that lays out what happened from their perspective:

Hi (customer’s name),

I’m glad I happen to come across this thread, otherwise there may have been a misunderstanding! I apologize that I had not made myself clear enough in my ticket response. I am the only customer care representative at Two Peas, and have been very busy the this week with everything we have going on currently, so I failed to take the time to mention some important details of your situation. The response I gave in your ticket was:

“I’m sorry you did not receive this free pad! This promotion was a while supplies lasted promotion, so it may have been that we had run out shortly after you placed your order. If you let me know when you place your next order, I can have a different free gift put inside for you. We apologize for any inconvenience!”

In this response, I fail to mention that the “While Supplies Last” promotions give the first X number of people who check out the free product. Sometimes this is not discovered until we pull the order, but in your case, our system had actually already run out of these before you placed your order. This is the reason as to why you would not have seen this free product automatically added to your cart, and it is also the reason it is not listed on either your pull ticket or receipt.

Because this style of promotion does not pertain to a specific window of time, we are unable to guarantee that everyone who sees an advertisement for this kind of promotion will place their order in time to receive the promotional product. Although your order did not have this product included, we would still be happy to give you free gift with your next order as a courtesy. We cannot, however, send out the original product separately as it was not supposed to be included in your order at the time you checked out.

Again, I sincerely apologize for my lack of a detailed explanation in this service ticket. If you have any further questions or concerns, please feel free to respond in the same ticket thread. I hope this message helps make things more clear!

Matt
Customer Service Manager
Two Peas in a Bucket

And here’s another response from Two Peas in a later thread:

I am very sorry to hear you feel this way. We always aim to do what we can to make things right if you feel disappointed in your experience. I believe that is what Matt is trying to do for this customer, but we understand there are different perspectives and opinions here.

Matt was not asking this customer to place another order, but more offering to include a free gift should she decide to place one again. The intent in locking the thread was not to shut out the community, but simply to ensure his response would not be overlooked.

I do want to clear up the misunderstanding regarding “while supplies last” so that you are aware for in the future. We frequently offer gift-with-purchase promotions. The line “while supplies last” is added to all of our advertisements. We remove gift with purchase ads as soon as the gifts have run low. In the rare situation where this line is inadvertently left out, we are happy to correct our mistake if you feel misled.

~ jamie

two peas community + education manager

Needless to say, those explanations didn’t go over too well with the majority of Peas that posted to these (now deleted) threads. While some did defend Two Peas, others seemed to feel varying degrees of … the promotion was unclear, the customer shouldn’t have to place another order and pay shipping again to receive an item she should’ve received the first time (or if nothing else, a like item shipped to her free now for a small overall cost to the company), that the 2 explanations contradicted each other, and/or they would be taking their business elsewhere from now on.

When the first thread was locked (you could read it but no one could post to it after Matt’s explanation) meaning it would eventually “fall to the bottom” and fewer and fewer people would see it, some Peas got madder. Other threads were started questioning Two Peas actions, the first and second threads were deleted, and then several users who had made negative comments toward Two Peas got a 24-hour ban. In all my 6 years there, this was something I had never seen.

If you look at any thread these users have posted on, you see this in place of their post:

(User Name) This user is under a 24 hour ban. Show/Hide

The post is not deleted but basically minimized. If you click Show/Hide, it will appear. So then THAT ticked people off even more! Some Peas felt like they were not allowed to question Two Peas’ actions or make criticisms.

The good will there today was overflowing, I tell ya’! Within another thread (3rd or 4th, I’ve lost track), it’s pointed out that on page 1 of the GS forum at the time were at least 10 threads that violated TOU, yet those users were not warned or banned nor were the threads deleted like we’d been informed they would be with the TOU reminder. However, Peas who questioned customer service were banned?

As I’m writing this, the threads “So TPTB [the powers that be] are Banning Peas Now? (thread #3? on GS) and “So what is the drama on the G.S. board about?” (thread #4? on NSBR) have been pulled. And Two Peas has posted this:

{Holy Snikeys, this has got to be the longest entry I’ve ever written!}

WE CAN ONLY DO SO MUCH

Hi everyone.

I’m generally a very up-beat person and try to see everything in a positive light. My experience and upbringing have caused me to believe in the common good of people, that the majority of people, in the absence of outside influences, have good intentions. That belief continually leaves me grossly unprepared when situations like this become such a spectacle.

The internet and, indeed, our message boards make it amazingly easy to tear a person, a principle or a company to pieces. It provides a single person a captive audience upon which accusations and insinuations can be carelessly cast without the worry of consequence or the bother of such (silly) notions as truth or intention. What’s worst about this is not the damage they can cause, but that they are self-sustaining. They garner support by manipulation of the truth and in controlled presentation of select pieces of the story; perpetually fueled by their own determination to be heard. This continues not for lack of an opponent willing to fight, but because the futility of attempting a rational discussion. A person with time for one hour of discussion can not hope to be louder or more rationally understood in the face of a person with nothing but time and an unrestricted forum in which to speak.

This board is not your forum for free speech. I am not a governmental body and have zero compulsion to blindly allow anyone to say anything they want. I’m a nerdy American that wanted to start a company with his wife that focused on scrapbooking. I like that I give people a place and a technology where they can communicate about scrapbooking. I love that we’ve been fortunate enough to be able to employ family and friends and provide them with an income to support their families. I’m awed when I hear stories of some of the friendships that have been found, forged and persisted through Two Peas. But why should I be at all supportive of the people that would use the very platform I provide to market against me?

I’m an adult and I quietly deal with a lot of things that are slung my way. But I can not stand by and let a person rip apart someone on my staff that works tirelessly on behalf of our customers. Matt is one of the most dedicated and customer-savvy people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. He handles impossible situations and incredibly vocal people on a daily basis and always works to find fair and equitable solutions to problems. Customer service is precarious place between the wants and needs of customer and company alike and handles it amazingly.

Here’s the deal. We, and thousands of other companies in the world, send out emails all the time when we have something special to offer. Once the email is sent, the data it provides can not be updated and it is usually limited in space, from a practical stand point. So the intention, and general understanding, is that you’ll find out more details when you click through. When we are able to execute a joint promotion with a vendor or manufacturer, such as giving away something free with an order, there’s ALWAYS a limited supply of that product. This is not some new concept. So I built our give-away system to only display that offer in the cart while those supplies last (in fact, it stops prior to every unit being accounted for). Once those supplies have run out, the offer isn’t even displayed any more. And if it’s not displayed in the order when you place it, there really shouldn’t be any expectation that there is something beyond the order itself.

That is what happened with the particular order that started this discussion. The offer was over due to a fantastic response. The order was placed and no additional product was offered in the order. Therefore, there was no free paper pad on the pull ticket when the order printed in the warehouse. So no one that had anything to do with the order would have thought “we should really throw a paper pad in this order.”

Despite that fact, when the customer called/emailed to complain about the missing paper pad, Matt made the gesture to give her a similar product for free in a future order. Not to correct an error, not out of obligation and not because he was trying to bait her into future purchases, but because he wanted to try and find a resolution to a problem based solely on perception. I actually thought it was very nice of him to offer an inventory item we had to pay for to replace a free promotional item that was not even part of the order placed.

Back to the boards. The locking and banning doesn’t occur because we’re trying to “sweep things under the rug.” We’ve got nothing to hide. And if the comments were exclusively factual and from people that were directly involved, I actually wouldn’t touch them. I have no problem stepping up and accepting blame where it’s deserved. But the facts, all to often, become buried and out-right ignored as threads get longer. People start to pull things out of the woodwork on all manner of subjects that have no relevance to the actual issue at hand.

I, or anyone on my staff or working on our behalf, lock threads when the discussion is no longer constructive, or if the “facts” are so askew that we feel it needs to stop. Sometimes it’s done with a final word from us and other times it’s not.

The temporary bans occurred because I will not tolerate the hazing or ridicule of my staff when I think its unjustly delivered or completely unfounded. Some of the things said are libelous and the repeated scandalmongering will be met with an ever-increasing degree of resistance. I can only assume you have the very worst of intentions if you continue to participate in a service I provide only to make character assassinations about my staff and misrepresentations about the services we offer and strive to improve.

I think that we offer a lot and ask for very little in return. The forums, gallery, videos, inspiration, products and orders are all made possible by a very small set of people that, like most others, continually seek the approval and pleasure of others. If what we offer does not suit your needs, I understand that we can not be all things to all people and I hope you can find what you’re looking for elsewhere. I simply ask that you respect the people behind the work and refrain from defamation of their character if something doesn’t please you.

We will continue our endeavor to provide a unique and positive environment for scrapbookers, family and friends. We hope you’ll continue to let us know ways in which we can improve that experience and we assure you it won’t fall on deaf ears.

I know this writing does not speak enough to our massive amount of supporters out there, but I thank you–eternally–for the faith and trust you put in us to provide you with supplies and inspiration. We wholeheartedly appreciate everything you do for us and we hope to continue improving our menu of products and services. THANK YOU.

In closing, I’m not sure that I’ve conveyed an appropriate quantity of “answers” nor aptly resolved any outstanding issues. However, I invite you to contact me directly with any problems or concerns you have. I can’t promise I have an answer for everything, but I’m a good listener and I’d be happy to hear how we can help make your experience at Two Peas a better one.

Very sincerely,

Jeffrey
jeffrey@twopeasinabucket.com

So I don’t suppose there is still anyone here reading, is there? Shizzle, that’s a lot of verbage to wade through! I’m not opinion-atin’ here. I’m just laying out what happened today to the best of my research/recollection. PLEASE correct me if I have any of it wrong. And leave your comments below. What do you think? Or like Andy says on “Watch What Happens Live!”, whose side are you on?

I can’t believe all this happened at the Pod today. And how was your day??? :P

PS: I saved the links to the first 2 threads. At various times tonight, they have either worked or haven’t. I’ll post them here just in case you get lucky, lol.

Thread 1

http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&forum_id=10&thread_id=3227798

Thread 2

http://www.twopeasinabucket.com/mb.asp?cmd=display&thread_id=3227829&pg=1&icontoggle=true

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14 Comments on Wow. Just Wow. Trouble at Two Peas in a Bucket!

  1. ruth
    March 21, 2013 at 1:26 am (1 year ago)

    thanks for the recap of all the pod gossip, it is easy to miss chunks of it when things get deleted while we sleep on the other side of the world.

    Reply
  2. Jennifer Rogers
    March 21, 2013 at 3:44 am (1 year ago)

    I am with Ruth- but for you, I would have snoozed through the whole thing. As the NSBR Peas would have said- not even enough time to break out the popcorn… Thank you for the objective, even-handed summary.

    Reply
  3. Peggy D
    March 21, 2013 at 7:12 am (1 year ago)

    I think I’ll go place an order at Two Peas.

    Reply
  4. Carol Salter
    March 21, 2013 at 12:29 pm (1 year ago)

    Well, I am one of the banned. I cannot believe what Jeffrey just said he took out the trash.

    “And I’m not going to ban you for what you said. It’s clearly your OPINION. Again, you’re applying a malice or evil that simply does not exist on our part. I’m fully aware that the internet exists and that people will be out there talking about this, but I don’t call those places home. I do make the choice to keep my kitchen clean, however, and that includes taking out the trash**. You mean affecting sales? I’m sure it does. So does the nastiness that people find when they come here. But for too long I’ve sat idly by while people attack us. While I don’t have the time to do this level of interaction on a daily basis, I care deeply about this site and I want things to be truthful. I won’t delete your opinion or ban you for having it. I will remove statements presented as fact that have no basis, are here-say or have no relevance to a situation.”

    Two wrongs just don’t make a right, but calling people trash.

    The Biscuit Scraps

    Reply
  5. smcl
    March 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm (1 year ago)

    Good, concise, but necessarily lengthly article Erika! Plus, kudos, you were able to remain unbiased! Just the facts, Jack! Kudos!

    Reply
  6. smcl
    March 21, 2013 at 8:34 pm (1 year ago)

    At the cash register in a brick and mortar, the consumer has the option to not buy if the store is all out of a a “While Supplies Last” freebie. Online retailers should be required by law to let the buyer know this as well before the transaction is paid for. Also, banner ads should be pulled immediately when the freebie is no longer available.
    This debacle would be a good study for a Marketing or Social Media class. In fact, one day it may be & we can we say were there. I would print those posts! Your second link didn’t work, but I was able to get in from ruth’s link in the comments.
    Thx for the recap!

    Reply
  7. phargoia
    March 22, 2013 at 7:19 am (1 year ago)

    Thanks much for the recap! I agree smcl. “while supplies last” may have worked in the olden days when your catalog took two weeks to get to you, you took two weeks to write out your order form, it took two weeks to get back to the company – then they were w/in their rights to say “while supplies last.” But in the micro-second internet age? Pftft. It’s just a cop out and the owners long screed isn’t helping matters any. I’m not a frequent buyer at Peas, but will switch over to here or Scrapbook.com or any of the other companies that don’t preach to its customers or assume that they can’t tell when someone is being OTT.

    Reply
  8. Jen
    March 25, 2013 at 2:33 am (1 year ago)

    You are perpetuating this.

    Reply
    • Dawn
      July 6, 2014 at 9:18 am (1 month ago)

      I agree. This whole discussion is absurd, a customer pitched a his say because she didn’t get her freebie because they ran out. What are hey supposed to do, write her an apology note and send her more free stuff? They have to limit the number of freebies, because althought they’re free to you, they cost money, the guy putting it into the box still needs to get paid, the box costs money, and oh yeah. It’s a BUSINESS! Get over yourselves people, just because you can’t see them face to face doesn’t mean they’re not working hard and doing their best to run a quality business. Shame on you for being so quick to jump all over them

      Reply
  9. Lucy Orta
    June 25, 2014 at 9:26 pm (2 months ago)

    Jeffrey, Very well said. If it’s not on the order when you click send, don’t expect it. All this over a free item. Geeze, the demise of a wonderful place. All those great youtube videos that taught me how to scrap. People are so very greedy. I’m with you Jeffrey. I don’t even own a store I’m an employee and I can’t believe that there is an expectation that a free product won’t run out. That’s ludicrous. If there is a high demand it will run out and guess what the store doesn’t owe you a thing because it was FREE. Sorry, you guys are closing. Thanks for all that you did for the scrap booking community.

    Reply
    • Scrapbook Obsession
      June 25, 2014 at 11:59 pm (2 months ago)

      Hi Lucy. Thanks for your thoughtful comment. I just wanted to clarify for anyone else who may come across this post now (in June 2014) that it was written in March 2013. Yes, Two Peas has over 1 year later announced their closing. I don’t know if it has anything to do with the above-posted debacle as they were 15 months apart.

      Again, I just wanted to clarify that. I’m getting lots of hits on this post today as, I assume, scrappers Google for info about Two Peas closing announcement today. I’m writing a separate post about that as we speak.

      Reply
    • Tam
      June 28, 2014 at 5:05 am (2 months ago)

      It’s not that people don’t expect a product to run out. But they DO expect to be informed when it does. It’s not a difficult concept and in this technological age, can be done in an instant. People do place orders because the ‘free’ item entices them to. So don’t go sending out an order without informing the purchaser they’re not getting what was rightfully expected.

      Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The demise is of their own doing. It was more than a free pad. It was more than this incident (which the handling of certainly didn’t help them.)

      Reply

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