How not to do PR. A moan about donkey socks.

donkey socks

Right let’s get this out of the way first. I’m a moaner. I love to complain. In fact I ENJOY it. If something happens to me that I’m not happy about I get relief by having a good ol moan about it to whoever will listen. I moan so much that I don’t even know I’m doing it. And due to some friendly feedback from a friend or two (and himself) I’ve had to rein it in.

Now when I want to complain, I think, do you really need to? Could you look on the bright side? For that reason, I try not to write whingy blog posts. At least not personal ones. Until today. Today is different. Today I feel the need to express something that has been irritating me, in the hope that you too can join in and have a moan about something that’s been annoying you. Let’s call it: Share the Moan, shall we?

(I know of at least one blogger who might join in. How’s your web connection coming along there Lisa from Four Walls Rainy Days?)

My story goes back a few months and is about the finest first world problem you will ever get. It involves my non-relationship with a PR for a brand, who was due to send a product for review. I don’t do many reviews – I’m not a beauty blogger, and I tend to saunter through life, writing about writing, history and my baby. Sometimes products pop up and wave and say ‘try me’ and I do and then I write a piece if I’ve enjoyed it and I and brand are happy.

One day, a notice was put up on a Facebook group I’m a member of about a product available for review for bloggers. The product was something I needed in the run up to an event, so I thought why not? For anonymity purposes let’s call the product ‘donkey socks.’ And let’s call the PR ‘Bill’.

I wrote to Bill.

“Hi Bill,

I am interested in the donkey socks for review.

Here is my address.

Look forward to hearing from you.


Bill wasn’t too long in coming back. He responded the next day.

“Hi Nicci,

Are you based in the UK?”

I responded to Bill and told him I lived in Ireland. I could forgive him for this. I hadn’t put Ireland at the end of my address in the first email, so how was he supposed to know where Termonfeckin was in fairness? But I’d scared him off. There was no response. So a few days later, I followed up again.

“Did you get my email Bill, is the review offer for donkey socks open to bloggers in Ireland?”

Bill came back and was apologetic. Yes the review offer was open to bloggers in Ireland. He gave me a link and full instructions to order the product through the site, including instructions on how to get the product sent out by standard delivery.

“Can you please send my your address?” asked Bill.

Jeez, he couldn’t get enough of my address. No problem Bill, I said and emailed it off again. I ordered the product. I let Bill know I had ordered the product. Bill came back to say my order had been processed. All was swell. I was happy. Bill was happy.

And then 24 hours passed. Something happened. Bill made a horrifying discovery. I lived in Ireland.

We have only just noticed that you are in the republic of Ireland which is outside the UK. There will be a delivery cost of 14-£15 due to this as it counts as shipping internationally.  I am sorry about this, would you be open to paying the delivery costs?

Now Bill. Bill, Bill, Bill. The answer there would be no. The other advice would be to READ YOUR BLIMMIN EMAILS and LOOK AT A MAP.

So that was grand, I had a bit of a rant to a few of my Facebook bloggers, just to check that I wasn’t being crazy not wanting to pay delivery costs for a small product review (I mean I’m new to working with brands, so wasn’t completely au fait with the norm). And then I got over it, politely declined Bill’s offer of getting stung on the postal charges and said I’d buy my own donkey socks. In Ireland.


donkey socks
Look, no socks!


A few weeks later Bill wrote to me again.

“I just wanted to let you know that the donkey socks you requested were sent out to you. Have you received the donkey socks and had a chance to write the review? Please send me a link to the donkey socks review and I will begin social promotion on our end for you.”

Wow, I thought. They’ve seen sense. He’s checked with his superiors. I am now getting the donkey socks and it’s obviously just been delayed in the post.

I double checked with Bill.

“Are you sure, Bill?” I asked.

He forgot to come back to me. So I checked again.

“I’m chasing this for you,” he said.

He asked me to watch the post. So I did.

And then there was nothing. Bill had gone off into the wilderness, clutching my donkey socks. Our event happened, I bought our own donkey socks and everyone was happy. In fact the donkey socks I bought here in Ireland (which is not part of the UK, did you know that, Bill didn’t?) were cheaper than what I would have paid in aforementioned postage.

Again, I had gotten over it. Forgotten about it. These things happen. It’s a tough world in the sale of donkey socks I’m sure.

Until the final email, some short weeks later.

“I just wanted to let you know that the donkey socks requested were sent out to you.

“Have you received and had a chance to write the review? If you are going to be writing the review at a later date. Please just drop me an email to let me know.

Hope to hear from you soon.”

There were no donkey socks. And I had my fill of Bill. So this is the review. This is the link I will be sending him. “Feel free to start the promotion at your end any time soon,” I’ll say. And let’s never, ever talk about donkey socks again.

As a blogger have you had bad experiences with brands? As a non-blogger, what have been your bad customer service experiences? Share the moan. It’ll make you feel better 🙂



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36 Comments on How not to do PR. A moan about donkey socks.

  1. Ha ha sound like an amusing experience and that Bill was swamped with emails not being able to keep up 🙂 I primarily have had good experiences with PR’s, they are usually alright but very busy!

    • Me too, and I’ve worked in PR so I try not to be too hard. It’s a crazy and often thankless job. But I think Bill is in the wrong profession!

  2. I had one of two of those people. Basically with the same email coming back to me and I have never even received the product.
    Then I reviewed the link and all that which was fine. But then a month later he came back to me and said your product was sent out and to give him the link to start promotion. They obviously don’t keep records of their bloggers.

  3. oh gosh! Yes I’ve had some terrible experiences but most are good. I find it really frustrating when i get an email or message saying they would like to work with me and I think, great and reply to the offer. Then they turn around and say, we have no product in stock currently or thanks for your interest and we will put you on a waiting list. In fact I was asked by “Jane” to review a product on twitter. I said I’d love to but would need to know exactly what the product was as it may not be something we can use… (it was a baby product) I don’t have a baby. instead of telling me what the item was…I received something in the mail which I cannot use as I don’t have a baby and i’m expected to write a review on it! I did write and ask for clarification on what was expected and have had no response. So am awaiting a reply! Angela x

    • No way! I get a lot of people emailing saying they’d like to work with me, organise a review etc and when I respond saying, yes let’s do this, I don’t hear from them again. Makes me wonder why they’ve changed their minds! I know that’s not the reason, but it does happen a lot! You can send your baby products on to me if you like LOL

    • Yep there’s a few ‘Bills’ around I suspect but to fair PR is a difficult job and I know loads who are brilliant at it!

  4. I’ve been lucky in that I don’t get many bad eggs. There is one PR company who email me, at least once a week, asking me to review something. I politely declined the first time, the 2nd time, I pointed out the aforementioned declination and the third time I explained about the fact that I’d declined and then had to explain this for the third time. And now, I still get the exact same email which just goes straight into my deleted folder!

    • That’s exactly the frustration I was talking about – the not being listened to. Makes you feel like you’re just a number! Thanks for the comment 🙂

  5. I luckily have not had any bad experiences so far but then again I am only new to blogging and reviewsx Sorry you had such a horrible experience sounds so frustrating. 🙁

    • Ah it wasn’t too bad Amanda, it was more to represent the frustrations people have with dealing with things over the internet – I had other people in mind who weren’t getting anywhere with customer service!

  6. This is my third time to read this. It’s bloody hilarious. I haven’t had any real bad experiences with PR yet but I’m sure it will happen at sometime or another.
    You do realise your getting donkey socks off your secret santa lol

    • Haha Kelly, can’t wait! It wasn’t the worst experience, and there was no harm meant at all, I just wanted to blog about it. As us bloggers are want to do 🙂

  7. Haha, this is brilliant! I wonder what Bill made of it when you this link (I really hope you did send it!). I don’t know if Bill is the exception or I have been lucky, because all my communications with PRs has been pretty straightforward 🙂 #weekendblogshare

    • I’m still waiting to send it. Just waiting for Bill’s email to ping into my inbox any day now saying – hey, how did you get on with the product? It’s coming. It’s coming!

  8. I think this is the BEST review I have ever read!! I often face that problem (coupled with Dubai being notoriously bad for postage) so I tend to do things when I have visitors coming out or I know I am coming home for a period of time.

    Never had a Bill though……thanks for linking up 🙂 xx

    • Oh really, you must have a lot of work to do when you get home so! Yes some reviews can be a bit boring, so I tried to liven this one up. Looking forward to linking up again – I’m sure I have a few more rants in me!

  9. This made me feel so much better! I have only done one review, and seeked feedback eagerly from the PR company. Didn’t hear a thing obvs but now I realise she was probably busy chasing the next deal… Or maybe she was Bill 😉 x #effitfriday

    • Bill is everywhere! Ah, having worked in PR it is really really busy, so we can forgive! I don’t do many reviews either. Thanks for the comment 🙂

  10. Oh, this made me laugh. But what a pain in the backside. Are people really so disorganised and unprofessional? I mean, I know I can be a bit rubbish sometimes getting things done, but I try to get it right and I get there in the end. Usually. Asking the same question over and over again, saying something has been sent out when it clearly hasn’t been… dear oh dear. But I have to confess to a certain disappointment: I was really hoping to find out what donkey socks are. 😉

    • ooo sorry for the disappointment! i just don’t want to hang someone publicly. I don’t think it was ever intentional, so don’t want to be mean 🙂 thanks for your comment 🙂

    • Oh my god you are kidding!! You are the first person crack the donkey socks code!! Maybe I’ll give him a mail?! Lol

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