Premier online humor site “The Onion” today announced a bold strategic initiative that will transition it into a second-rate purveyor of shoddy goods via the internet. While this move surprised some analysts, Senior VP of Change Management Luis Abregado said, “We’ve gone about as far as we can go with humor. Face it, how many times can you write cuttingly sarcastic articles about mundane things while working in the term ‘douche bag’? We need to provide more shareholder value, and there’s a growing opportunity in pushing snarky t-shirts and following the sales up with shitty service.”
Abregado pointed to a recent apparel order as an example. Long-time reader Bill McCurry ordered a women’s cream-colored “Kitten Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day” t-shirt for his wife, placing the order on August 31. The Onion team determined that the shirt was out of stock and immediately did not a single god damn thing. Fulfillment Clerk Clem Smith personally handled the fucking around and doing nothing. “I figured maybe somebody had made a mistake,” he explained, “so I didn’t want to, like, make another one. I just waited to see what would happen. Hell, maybe the whole thing would go away by itself, you know?”
When Mr. McCurry inquired online about his order on September 23, The Onion Customer Service team jumped in and responded after sitting on their asses for three days. Service Rep Larry Sim said, “If you answer right away then the customer starts to expect that kind of behavior. It’s bad business. You’re better off setting the expectation right away that they’ll be treated like crotch fungus.” The Onion sent an email including the sentences, “Thank you for contacting us!” and, “I apologize that we did not contact you sooner!” following Customer Service best practice that vapid and pleasant exclamations entirely make up for behaving like a willfully incompetent slice of ass-crust. Sim offered to fulfill his valued customer’s order with a white shirt rather than a cream-colored shirt, and Mr. McCurry agreed.
In many slip-shod retail operations the process might then break down, and an order could be shipped to the customer. But The Onion is aiming to become a world class fucked-up online store. Using a proprietary “double-redundancy” process, The Onion staff drew secret lots to determine who would hide the customer’s order in a random location, almost guaranteeing that no one would think about the “Kitten Thinks of Nothing But Murder All Day” t-shirt unless someone started screaming about it. “This process enables us to get on with the critical business of ignoring all the other dumb motherfuckers’ orders,” Sim said. “One advantage is that when Mr. McCurry inquired about his order again on October 10, we could just wait a few days and tell him, ‘Hey dude, it’s being fulfilled and shipped today!’ even though we had no idea where it was or really even what the fuck he ordered. We’re writing a paper on this process to present at the Kick Your Customers Hard in the Balls Conference next spring.”
While The Onion hasn’t ironed out every wrinkle in its new initiative, it has made an impressive show of moving from a creative, witty, highly-cherished institution to a completely pedestrian shit-box merchant. Abregado said, “The real beauty is that even though this moron emailed us again on October 26 whining about his order, we can just ignore him forever if we want. We charged his credit card on August 31, so we’ve already got his fucking money.”