Lessons in Litter
Our cats are inexplicably fussy about their litter. They sniff, burrow, circle, run away, then circle back and fling it out of the box when we try one that doesn't suit their freaky feline sensibilities. So far, in eight years of cat ownership, there's been just one that meets all of the criteria set forth by both the cats and us, their flunkies: It absorbs odor, isn't perfumed, is all-natural and even flushable, scoopable and fine enough not to irritate delicate paw pads. Plus it's incredibly lightweight. It's also crazy expensive, but well worth it.
Imagine my displeasure, then, when all of the boxes of our favorite brand began sporting big, yellow stickers with those dreaded words: "New & Improved!" I reached for one, and my worst kitty-litter fears were realized. The "new and improved" litter is so much heavier than the original that I tumbled into a display of Snausages as its unexpected weight pulled my arm toward the floor. But clinging desperately to the notion of brand loyalty and hoping against hope that weight was the only non-improvement improvement, I brought the litter home. Almost needless to say, it's totally different. It's still eco-friendly and non-perfumed, but now it has these little stick-like bits that our cats simply will not tolerate. When they finally realized that no amount of burrowing, flinging and circling was going to make me toss a box of $12 cat litter and they deigned to do their business in it — well, it didn't work nearly as well as its old and unimproved predecessor.
I went online to the maker's website — yes, kitty litter is that big a deal in my home. There was no explanation for the change, just lots of starbursts touting the new product nestled amid photos of cat lovers and their pets, and verbiage about us all being valued members of the XXX brand family.
I lodged a complaint via the Contact Us link. My first peeve was that the link opened to a form that generated the e-mail but didn't provide an e-mail address. Hit "send" and your comment just goes off into cyberspace. And that lone "Your Comment Has Been Sent" message never makes me feel even moderately confident that it has. Why not list a real e-mail address that includes the company name and, better yet, a person's name — firstname.lastname@example.org, for example?
I'm not surprised that two months have passed and I've not heard back. But I was surprised to receive two e-mails from the company bragging on the new product, with no acknowledgment whatsoever of my dissatisfaction. Clearly, the website's comment function is nothing more than a vehicle for gathering e-mail addresses and upselling.
In protest I've moved on to one of the few other eco-friendly brands that is nowhere near as effective as the old version of this product but doesn't contain those stick bits. We have three cats, so unless I want to invest in the kitty toilet-training kit I saw in SkyMall, I have to buy kitty litter. But your donors don't have to donate to you or anyone else. And if they do decide to give, there are lots of other organizations they can chose to support if their experience with your organization or its website ticks them off. It's easy to forget that customers and donors have choices. So don't. FS