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Mattel FTW

My daughter is into Barbie (yes, I know, stereotypical etc. etc. - she's ten, and won't be ten again, and besides someone I know reasonably well has written some of the movies and I like my friends to be gainfully employed...) Ahem. Anyway, she bought one of the "I can be..." series which links to the Mattel site and lets you register to play games with the virtual dolls, and was most upset when she entered her name to be told it was a naughty word and they didn't allow naughty words on the site. The were_gopher and I looked at each other and said: "Penistone!" in unison.

(A brief explanation: in the high-and-far-off-1990s, O Best Beloved, there was a company named AOL: and it made an ass of itself with its aggressive word filtering. Not only were chicken recipies banned if they didn't use the "white meat" euphemism, but the residents of old English towns such as Penistone and Scunthorpe couldn't register to use the service.)

I pointed out to Mattel's customer service department (politely) that they really didn't want to follow in AOL's footsteps or make small girls unhappy, and was very pleased to get an email back from a real person saying they had changed their filters so only whole words will be looked at rather than partial ones; and there would be a little something in the post for Jodie.

The "little something" has turned out to be another three dolls in the range, and Jodie's reaction may be summed up thusly:

It's nice to know that everyone in a situation benefits from time to time. And there's a "thank you" letter in the post to the person in customer services who made this happen, to make sure they get some personal recognition.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 14th, 2010 08:48 pm (UTC)
how does "Jodie" become a "naughty word"? Is there something I'm missing?

Good on the CS person who sorted it - and lucky Jodie
Jun. 14th, 2010 09:17 pm (UTC)
Jodie. Took us about ten minutes to work it out.
Jun. 14th, 2010 11:43 pm (UTC)
I pondered on it for a while before thinking of that one, too. Hell on Judie, Geordie, and Lindie, as well as Jodie!
Jun. 15th, 2010 06:53 am (UTC)
I thought of that - but again "die" isn't exactly what I'd call "a naughty word" - it's a word, which can have unpleasant connotations, but it's a word for things that happen, even to good little girls. People die.
Jun. 15th, 2010 08:34 am (UTC)
One of the forums complaining about this had a girl called Michelle in it so hell must be right out too. Just tested the site, Jodie is now OK but Michelle is still a naughty word.
Jun. 15th, 2010 10:49 am (UTC)
I won a huge Star Wars toy in a competition at Easter last year, and put it away for Jonathan's birthday in August. When we gave it to him, we discovered that the legs tended to fall off. A quick Google indicated that this was a known fault, since rectified. A quick call to Mattel generated a swift apology, replacement legs, and 'a little something for Jonathan' (it is clearly a stock phrase) -- in this case an entire extra playset. I was so impressed at the time I blogged it; what a sensible approach to customer service for children's toys.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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