Dealing with Mr. Angry online

We hardly ever get emails from irate customers, or potential customers, so this one really stood out. Forgive me for the length of this article but I thought I’d reproduce the exchange in full, excluding contact blurb etc. The customer’s emails are in Blue, my wife Angela’s in Mauve, mine in black.


Really sorry you had so much trouble with the website – I will try and find out why your password didn’t work.  If you let me know what wine you would like we can arrange to have it delivered for you.

All the best, Angela

From: Gavin Quinney    Subject: Re: Password, idiots and so on

Dear xxxx Thanks for the email. Obviously our website gave you some problems, so sorry about that. I’m afraid I can’t find you registered on our system at all. When you put in your email address, at the question:

‘Are you a new or existing online customer?’

Did you click ‘I am a new customer’ or ‘I am an existing customer, and my password is..’?

If you click ‘I am a new customer’ it should work.  By all means give me a call.

Kind regards, Gavin Quinney (aka Chief Idiot)

Hi Gavin

Great response! Yes I did click “new user” but it wouldn’t accept any combination of password-all letters, letters and numbers, 4 digits, 6 digits, 8 digits and so on. We had just about finished a botttle of your superb rose and wanted to order more- hence my frustration when I couldn’t !!! Nor were there any “help” instructions to say what the password should consist of. Confused!?

Dear xxxx

Thank you for the reply. There are no restrictions on what the password can be, hence there are no help instructions.  Here’s my on-the-spot guide to placing an order. Please call me if this process continues to cause a problem, and we’ll go through it on the phone. Or email (or call me) with your order and we can take it from there.

On our website, click on ‘Buy Wine’, then click ‘Red and Rosé’. This link will take you to the page.

art01Select the Rosé.  Select Quantity then click either ‘Add 12 Bottle case’, ‘Add 6 mag case’ or ‘Add 6 bottle case’.  Once the basket is shown, click ‘continue shopping’ or ‘checkout’.

At ‘checkout’ you’ll see ‘Sign in or create account’; enter your email address as requested.

Next at ‘are you a new or existing customer’, tick the box ‘I am a new customer’, then click ‘continue’. (Leave the password box for existing customers blank).

Then fill in the boxes ‘title’ ‘first name’ ‘Last name’ ’email’ (which is already filled in with the email address you’ve given) then ‘choose a password’ then ‘confirm password’. Then ‘Daytime number’ because we need that for deliveries sometimes.

Then under ‘your address’, add your postcode, and click ‘find address’ and click the one from the shortlist presented. Or you can add the address manually as shown.

After that, you can choose a different delivery address, and there are some simple delivery instructions you need to complete, so that we can leave the wine for you if you’re not in. Then a final chance to check the order before completing payment details.

Kind regards, Gavin

Unbelievable! It worked!!!!! And first time too. Must have been having an “England Soccer Team” moment last time, as I did exactly the same as last time (including drinking the same quantity of wine before starting). Thanks for your help Gavin.

Bauduc Order Confirmation

Thank you very much for your order.

Your order will be handled shortly and we will get in touch if there are any issues at our end.

If you have any questions, please contact me on and quote the order number. Or call me or my assistant Monique on UK freephone 0800 316 3676 (international 0033 5 56 23 2222).

Thanks again, Angela Quinney

(then Order Details….)

Dear xxxx

This is just a quick note to check that everything has gone well regarding your order – especially after the problem you had ordering our wine online in the first place.

I know our couriers left the case of wine around the back as you suggested we should. Since then, I hope the Rosé’s been going down well.

Feel free to comment on anything – we’d be very pleased to get any feedback, however trivial, good or bad. There are many steps along the way from the vineyard to you, and we’re a small team.

Thanks and kind regards, Gavin

Hi Gavin

Wine arrived no problem, has been SUPERB, so thanks very much. Have retold the story about your excellent handling of my complaint to many people (including all my staff!) and really admire your follow-up.

Regards, xxxx

Thanks xxxx

That’s great. I like the fact that you’ve retold the story.

Come to think of it, I would love to do a blog post about this – if that’s alright with you. Would that be okay? It would make quite a good read – and emphasize that we deal direct.

I would mention no names of course – unless you want to add a comment afterwards (which can be in a cryptic name). Fun summer reading.

Best wishes, Gavin

No problem. Please don’t mention my name though!

Regards, xxxx

This is sent to friends on our mailing list.

21 thoughts on “Dealing with Mr. Angry online

  1. Mr Angry

    Gavin's comments are all as it occurred, word for word. His customer care is superb compared to the "customer-is-always-wrong" scenario one generally encounters.

    1. Gavin

      Dear Mr A
      Thank you for giving me permission to reproduce our exchange.
      Enjoy the Rosé, and the rest of the summer.

  2. Paul

    Aw, I didn't want a resolution: I wanted a massive, bitter, never-ending fight 🙁

    Come on, Mr. Angry, call them bastards or something!

  3. Igor

    Bahh.. I only read this as I thought it was going to be a real shocker… Anyway, job well done.

    1. Gavin

      You're right, it could have been more shocking, especially if I'd sent my initial draft reply. Thankfully I had one of those moments when I thought, 'nah, maybe I should not send this knee-jerk, emotional response, and give it some thought'. I also have to bear in mind that sometimes people come onto our site after a glass or two, and our site does have the odd gremlin from time to time. Best wishes, Gavin

  4. Jo Quinney

    Hurray, you wrote the blog as discussed when we visited.

    Computers are just things and very annoying things, especially when you need more Rose NOW!

    The solution is people.

    It is better to buy from people not computers.

    Must go, chasing 'Three Fellas' on your behalf sorry typo 'Tree Fellas'.

    Keep up the polite emails

    Jo Quinney (no relation – I mean it, really, no relation)

  5. Julian Lowrie

    Hi Gavin – i really must apologise because it was me who gave the bottle to Mr angry, knowing that he likes good quality wine and knowing that you may get an order from him once he tried it! Any orders from the Limpley Stoke/Freshford/Bath area have most likely come from this gifting as i spread the good word about Bauduc – perhaps i should suggest that you set up a referral scheme! I actually have to thank my esteemed friend Toby Evans for the intro to Bauduc, even though as an OC it's difficult to take a recommendation from an Old Carthusian (the old enemy)!

  6. John Wates

    Obviously you've never come across the old French maxim: "Le client est roi; mais il n'a jamais raison".

    Nice series of e-mails.

    Have been much enjoying the magnums of rose.

    Best wishes


  7. Jill James

    Dear Angela,

    I could do with some more white and rose`, a case of each I think.

    When would it be convenient for me to come to pick it up? I could come MONDAY OR TUESDAY next week. Really need it as I have hoards of thirsty people.


    1. Gavin

      Hi Jill – I presume you mean collect from the Chateau? No problem, we're here. (As Monday is a Bank holiday in the UK, our Sussex warehouse is shut.)
      Pop round but better to call us on 00 33 5 56 23 00 03 or my mobile 00 33 6 42 32 98 53 to make sure we're in when you come, or email me, gavin at If we're not here for any reason, Nelly or Daniel can get the stock out of the cellar for you.

  8. Paul Richardson

    This is yet another example of the fun you two have at Bauduc, and it comes across so well in your blogs and on your website. It could have developed into a slanging match but all three of you handled it very well. Well done Mr A.

    Slight change of tack. Your latest bond offer, I'm about to receive a small windfall and wanted to put some of it into your latest 1yr bond but can't do it until end October, will this be too late? By the way I visit France (49) 3 or 4 times a year and naturally I buy wine while I'm there, but there's nothing like having a regular supply of consistantly good wine at a decent price which is what your bond would give me.

    Can't wait to taste your 'gipsy' wines!

  9. sam shapiro

    Why didn't you just call them and ask them for their card number over the phone? It's all about customer care, the easiest route via direct contact. Why did you persist in going the website route when the easiest route was staring you in la gueule?

    Les Anglais – bizarre ou quoi. And why was it necessary to broadcast this ridiculous charade? It isn't amusing – just sad on your part that you think it is worthy of mention.

    1. Gavin

      Hi Sam

      Thanks for the comment and you've raised some interesting points. I'll try and answer your questions and forgive the Sunday morning ramble.

      Q "Why didn’t you just call them and ask them for their card number over the phone?

      A At no stage did Mr Angry ever leave his phone number, until he had placed the order on our website. (He hadn't even signed off with a name to start with, and as he had used his wife's email address, I thought it was a lady talking.) You'll see from our emails that we encouraged him to call us, if he wanted to, on our UK freephone number which was on all our emails. In a way, I was quite pleased that he ordered online because, although we get a lot of positive comments about our website, customers do sometimes have problems – so we were keen to see if there really was a password problem.

      Q "It’s all about customer care, the easiest route via direct contact. Why did you persist in going the website route when the easiest route was staring you in la gueule?"

      A If a customer doesn't want to leave a phone number or call us, that's their prerogative. Equally, I respect organisations that only do business online. A few weeks ago, someone in China hacked into my iTunes account. I was exchanging emails with an iTunes support contact, and after some frustration, I asked for their phone number. He emailed me back "I actually don't have a phone here, and I'm about to be off till Monday, but I've been discussing your case with engineering today, and I have some good info for us to start with. We can finish up with everything Monday morning, and your account should be good as new."

      It irritated me – really, no phone? – but he was true to his word on the Monday and I now think highly of iTunes support.

      I guess the most important thing is that customers want someone to take an interest, to be appreciated and to have some kind of relationship. Contact can be by email (twitter, facebook etc) as much as on the phone, in my opinion. A lot of people like the web because it means they can do stuff and get involved without having to get on the phone, or meet face to face. (God forbid that they should ever be phoned back by someone selling wine.) It isn't always better by phone. When I occasionally call one of our suppliers in the US, for example, the random person in the call centre asks 'How are you today?" That's fine, but do you know what? I can feel they don't really give a shit. They're a good outfit and it's good to be able to call, but the phone isn't always the answer.

      Q Les Anglais – bizarre ou quoi. And why was it necessary to broadcast this ridiculous charade? It isn’t amusing – just sad on your part that you think it is worthy of mention.

      A Sure, I agree, it isn't amusing. It would have been if we had really fallen out with Mr Angry but that might not have been too clever in the long run. I certainly wouldn't have repeated this charade without approval from the customer.

      Our customers – yes, many of them English – are usually much more interested in bizarre stuff like this than knowing about growing conditions for grapes, or making wine. 'Les Anglais' find it quite amusing that people can get so wound up by quite trivial things, and I bet most of our customers thought 'why didn't you just tell him to f**k off?" I suppose I was trying to prove the point that a hostile reaction can be turned round and a customer won over.

      I've just sent out a monthly e-newsletter (and I'd be happy to add you to the list if you like, unless you're already registered with a different email at the top of the page). The stats show that of the five stories, this one, placed fourth on the list, accounted for 70% of the links by hundreds of readers. We've had quite a few comments also by email.

      I'd rather talk about the weather, and the effect on the vines, but nobody else does.

  10. Sarah Abbott

    Dear Chief Idiot and saddo – thank you for this post. How anybody could fail to be amused by the utterly disproportionate fury of My Angry's first email is beyond me. Unless Sam Shapiro is a Troll. Not funny? All of life is here. Now, please, please share with us your initial draft reply to Mr Angry. Go on.

    1. Gavin

      Thanks Sarah
      I'll have to think about your request. The funny thing was, as Mr Angry had used his wife's email without signing off who it was from, I thought it was from a lady – which was just one of the things that stopped me in my tracks. This post also shows that, in the main, Bauduc customers are only interested in risky articles, not stuff about Bordeaux vintages. Almost 1000 links to this article since the email newsletter on Saturday, with a quarter of that number on the three other links put together (re Bordeaux 2010 v 2009 etc). Quite different in terms of Twitter links (where readers tend to be wine people).
      Best regards, Gavin

  11. Sean Allison

    Gav,i cant believe you havent outsourced your customer service to Mumbai, they have the nicest people there that can help you with your bank card, telephone and all your other problems.