A Special Message From Our Founder.
First off, I want to reach out and personally thank all of you for your support of JeShirt.com. It’s tougher than ever to start up a small business in the current economic climate, and your enthusiasm has been truly inspiring. But some troubling events have occurred in the past couple of days that bear addressing, and I would like to clear up a few things.
It was meant to be a fun holiday bonus for the fans and customers who have stuck with us in what has been an extremely trying first week. It was NOT meant to be an announcement of some kind of “Thanksgiving-themed novelty T-Shirt”. But unfortunately, many confused customers took it to be just that.
I will admit that it was dumb of me to have our graphics team place the message on an image of a T-Shirt. But being that we are a T-Shirt company, I felt it was appropriate. It was also not ideal that, due to the architecture of our site, it could only be displayed on a page that had an “Add to Cart” button. This “perfect storm” of mishaps laid the groundwork for a tidal wave of orders for a product that DOES NOT EXIST.
I did my best to clear up the confusion on twitter, to no avail. The tweets (and orders) kept coming:
It almost seemed to me that people were intentionally not listening to me, just to push my buttons.
The issue is this: Every time someone clicks “Order” on a “Turkey shirt”, I am charged a processing fee by my online shopping cart vendor. Additionally, I am charged a PayPal fee. On top of that, because I cannot pack or ship a product that does not exist, I must refund the money, which incurs additional fees. I made this very clear and begged customers to stop ordering the shirts. They would not stop.
Some suggested that I just make the shirt, being that it was so much more in demand than our others. What an idea! There’s no way I could possibly have considered that! The truth is, I have unfortunately already invested so much money in our existing line that I simply can’t afford to roll out a new product at this time.
We “sold” over 1600 “Turkey shirts” yesterday. Meanwhile, sales of the products that we DO actually offer remain in the mid one figures. This debacle has cost us thousands of dollars and it only digs me deeper into a debt hole, one from which I will at this point basically never emerge.
Because of some personal issues going on in my life (which are not being helped by the JeShirt situation), I was asked to not be home last night. With nowhere else to go, I wound up spending Thanksgiving evening alone in the JeShirt warehouse. “Warehouse” is putting it nicely; it is basically a storage locker. Unfortunately, this was a one-way ticket to what is becoming a now-typical “meltdown”. I lost control in a very public way. The posts remain on the company twitter feed; there is no need to post them here. I am not proud of this behavior and am getting the proper help. To try and keep my head above water, I decided last night to put my personal car for sale on the site and began trying to determine how much I could get for it.
It was at this point that I received an email which provided a glimmer of hope:
I was overjoyed; It seemed too good to be true. Unable to contain my glee, I took to Twitter and hinted at the impending huge announcement.
Because my phone was dead from texting, I needed to get to a landline to talk to the investor. I remembered there was a payphone at a nearby 7/11. I shut my laptop and raced to my car out front, jumping in and slamming on the gas. Unfortunately, my intoxicated state prevented me from noticing I had put the car in reverse and I went flying backwards, crashing into the storage locker door and doing considerable damage to both the door and the rear of my vehicle.
To put icing on the cake, I later learned that the “angel investor” is as real as the “turkey shirts”: After all of the hype, it turned out to be just a mean-sprited prank from someone on Twitter. I did eventually wind up walking to 7/11, if only to purchase more alcohol. I don’t really remember the rest of the evening and I apologize if I tweeted anything inappropriate to any of our valued customers. In any event, I have listed the car as for sale on the site. If you’re in the market, please check it out. It would be doing a father and struggling small business owner a world of good.
The bottom line: As Founder and President of this company, it was my duty to keep my composure during a situation such as this one, and in this regard, I failed. It is a bumpy road indeed but I feel like we have survived the storm, and a new day is upon us. The orders that have been placed WILL ship on schedule. We have some mending of fences to do, but we hope that you know that we are as committed as ever to providing fun novelty T-Shirts that feature a combination of the faces of Jay Leno and Che Guevara to the customers who rely on us.
I will not let you down again.
- Jason Samuel Woliner