I’ve been reading Heather Armstrong for years, and I’m a big fan. Truly, it was the experience of reading both her posts and Jessamyn’s during their pregnancies several years ago that helped me start feeling like I was maybe possibly in theory just a tiny bit ready to have kids of my own. The realness of what they wrote about did a lot for me in terms of confronting a lot of vague fears; the palpable beauty and love in their words helped me in ways I find difficult to explain.

I think Heather’s a hell of a smart cookie for leveraging her website the way she has, and I believe she deserves every bit of recognition she gets. She’s got an audience that’s hard for me to fathom—over a million followers on Twitter alone. Even subtracting the spambots, that’s . . . intense. That’s, like, the entire population of Detroit. Can you imagine sharing the intimate details of your life with Detroit? I mean, not Detroit specifically, just—fuck it, you know what I mean.

Anyway, if you follow her on Twitter you may have seen some posts from her about Maytag. I don’t know the whole story, but it sounds like she bought a brand new washing machine, it broke, and subsequent attempts to have it fixed didn’t work out. She posted several frustrated-sounding Twitter updates that repeatedly included the phrase DO NOT BUY MAYTAG.

It sounded like Home Depot connected with her on Twitter, and eventually, Whirlpool (the parent company of Maytag). It wasn’t clear if anyone actually called her, or did anything to help resolve the broken washer situation, but from the perspective of Twitter-bystander it sounded like they were trying to help. But maybe not. It was hard to tell.

I don’t work for Maytag, nor am I a fan of sitting back and accepting bad customer service. When I was treated poorly by American Airlines a while back, I definitely complained about it. I think it’s a good thing to share these stories, both for consumers and for the businesses that are hopefully going to see them.

I think there’s a difference, though, between taking the time to explain what went wrong, and basically calling for a boycott of a company because of your own personal experience. “Do not buy Maytag” is a call to action, and it went out to over a million people. Does Heather have the right to use Twitter to vent about an annoying situation she’s dealing with? Absolutely. Is there an ethical issue in telling such a large audience not to give a company their business, without providing any backstory aside from a short-by-nature series of updates someone may or may not have read, depending on how frequently they’re checking Twitter? Maybe. That’s where I disagree with her choice to call Maytag out in such a public fashion—not because she doesn’t have the right to receive good service, but because it was less of a “Hey Maytag, here’s what’s going on, you are totally shitting the bed right now,” and more of a no-context brand-bash to her entire audience.

At my company we monitor Twitter mentions constantly. Our support team jumps on any issues we see out there and we do our best to make pissed off people happy again. I fully understand the impact one person can have when they’re unhappy with your service, and maybe part of where I’m coming from is imagining being on the marketing side of Maytag right now, trying to do damage control and—from the looks of things—learning about Twitter for the first time (note that Whirlpool has a total of 11 updates, 4 of which involve Dooce).

Does Maytag deserve this kind of bad PR? Well, I think my problem with the whole thing is that I don’t know. I don’t know if it’s a company-wide Maytag problem, a local Home Depot problem, a stupid service-person problem, or what. A non-working washing machine sucks, especially in a house with kids—believe me, I get it. But should I not buy a Maytag the next time I need a new appliance? Heather seems to think so. And while I won’t make my purchasing decision based on one anecdotal piece of information, here’s the thing: some people will. Maybe a LOT of people. All you have to do is search Twitter for the responses people sent to Whirlpool on Heather’s behalf to understand the power of her influence. Or hell, look at some of the messages sent my way after I publicly disagreed with her.

Marketers will be talking about this, how one blogger stirred up so much conversation over a broken washing machine. People will theorize about the role of social media and the consumer, and much will be made of how consumers now have a voice in the face of uncaring corporate entities.

This isn’t quite the right story, though. Yes, companies should be using social media if they want to listen to their customers. Yes, consumers have the right to share their experiences, good and bad, because we can all benefit from that. But this isn’t the average customer/company interaction. Heather’s Maytag posts don’t prove that bitching about a company on Twitter gets you anywhere, it’s an anomalous data point. After all, how many people have over a million people listening to what we have to say? At this point, Maytag can’t win PR-wise: if they don’t respond, she stays mad; if they do respond, their actions seem less genuine than they would have been if Heather had, say, 20 followers. I think the more relevant issue has to do with whether a larger voice leads to greater responsibilities. In this case, as much as it seems like Heather should be able to say what she wants because what the hell, it’s her Twitter account . . . I kind of think it does.

I really do hope Heather’s washing machine gets fixed soon. And I hope that if the weird knocking sound in my dryer means my (non-Maytag) appliance is on its last legs, I can get it resolved. You know, on my own.


340 Responses to “To clarify”

  1. Jenny on August 27th, 2009 12:37 pm

    Uh, yeah. That pretty much sums up what I thought of the whole thing. Well said!

  2. Alice on August 27th, 2009 12:40 pm

    I love you.

  3. samantha jo campen on August 27th, 2009 12:41 pm

    *clap clap clap clap clap*

    *wolf whistles*

    It’s been said a bunch of different times today but dude, yous got some BALLS.

  4. Pete on August 27th, 2009 12:44 pm

    If I had a million followers instead of Porn stars I would bitch about my fridge and maybe get it fixed. To quote Spiderman’s Uncle.. “With great power comes great responsibility”.

    I would still like my fridge fixed. :-(

  5. kate on August 27th, 2009 12:46 pm

    LOVE you and the way you put this! I agree that responsibility is a huge part of her online life now and should be taken into consideration very carefully. It’s one of the things that comes with providing for your entire family from your website and the millions of hits it’s getting. Well said, Linda!

  6. Gleemonex on August 27th, 2009 12:46 pm

    With great power, comes great responsibility.

    In other words: Yes, what you said. heh.

  7. Erin on August 27th, 2009 12:47 pm

    Yeah! What you said!

  8. Liz on August 27th, 2009 12:48 pm

    This reminds me of when Oprah complained about beef back in the 90s.

    It also reminds me of the time my friend complained about a certain brand of tea on Twitter (she currently has 193 followers) and somebody from that company contacted her and asked how they could fix it. 193! Behold, the power of Twitter!

  9. Andrea on August 27th, 2009 12:51 pm

    I think you’ve handled the whole thing, both your disagreement with her tweets and your response to the situation very gracefully, and her… not so much. It’s the not having the whole story that bugs me too. If we KNEW what it was she’s gone through, perhaps we could understand her DON’T BUY MAYTAG tweets but she hasn’t given that info out.

    I agree wholeheartedly with you. She knows she has some pull on the ‘net, and she used it. Did she have a right to be frustrated? Sounds like it. Did she have a right to tweet it? Sure. Should she have used her influence to call for a boycott without giving the people who follow her the whole story so they can make up their minds themselves? Nope. Most people can make informed decisions without blindly doing what an internet celeb says. it’s the informed part that got left out.

    Way to go, Sundry. I applaud you your cojones. I bet lots of people wouldn’t have tweeted her back their dissenting opinions simply because of her influence. Big brass ones, you have.

  10. jennifer on August 27th, 2009 12:53 pm

    HEAR HEAR!!!

  11. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 12:54 pm

    People who have influence or notoriety should know better, and know exactly what the Domino effect will be if one was to say such statments. It seems like leverage is trying to be served instead of a sidedish of let our head deflate and handle the situation like us common folk.

    Eloquently said Linda.

  12. Joanne on August 27th, 2009 12:55 pm

    I am with you 100 percent, if it matters. You have handled yourself very well, in my opinion. Also, word to Jessamyn’s blog – what would I have done during my first pregnancy and babyhood of my first without her blog?

  13. She Likes Purple on August 27th, 2009 12:55 pm

    It’s so dangerous to elevate someone so much that you listen to what they say, regardless of content or context but just because THEY SAID IT, IT’S FACT, AMEN.

    As consumers we SHOULD be empowered but her updates weren’t about empowering consumers or demanding better customer service (which we can all agree is a fine thing to demand), but about blindly boycotting a company just because she said so. (At least the first few.) God, I’d hope that everyone reading her updates would say to themselves, “That sucks, but when I need a w/d, I’ll do my own research and form my own opinion,” but I know (and SHE knew, I’m sure) that wouldn’t be the case. It’s not even her fault that people can be so sheep-like, but I do lose some respect that she presented it in such a way with no context, knowing people would respond on her behalf in the way that they did.

    I really like Heather, too. After BlogHer 08, there was quite the backlash about the Keynote, and I was there and couldn’t have disagreed more with people who said she didn’t handle things well. But she has a responsibility to the community who, basically, employs her. This is her job, and even though it’s the advertisers who are cutting her the check, they’re doing so because millions of people read and support her online website.

    I do think she was wrong here, and I do hope she acknowledges your incredibly valid points and at least tries to see that it has nothing to do with voicing one’s opinion but about presenting the whole story in a way that respects both the company and her followers.

  14. andrea on August 27th, 2009 12:58 pm

    Yet another reason you are my favorite blogger out there.

    My washing machine broke last month. Holy pain in the ass, yes. Yet within 4 hours I was able to secure a repairman to come out and diagnose and fix it and I remain a loyal Maytag owner.

  15. SKL on August 27th, 2009 1:03 pm

    If this is your belief, then it ought to apply to everything people say on Twitter and on twit-like sites. Especially political comments that might affect someone’s vote and hence the future of our country. Or the various versions of “Walmart is the root of all evil.” Or the colorful, and not necessarily balanced book reviews you post fairly often.

    At some point, people are responsible for their own decisions. Anyone who would make a significant purchase decision based on a Twitter post (or posts) is . . . well, who would? I don’t get all this idolatry in amateur media in the first place. These are people you don’t even know. All this “you are so amaaaazing” and “what would I do without you” . . . seriously.

    I don’t think it’s unethical to gripe in any informal setting because people have a right to assume their listeners are not idiots. Adults know the difference between a product review and a vent.

  16. Maria on August 27th, 2009 1:04 pm

    I’ve been following this all day, and I applaud you for speaking up despite the small margin of backlash you received. You are raising awareness to the fact that one voice heard by many can have a great influence. I’m not suggesting that all of Heather’s followers are sheep and would therefore not buy Maytag the next time they are in need of an appliance, but there is no denying she has the ability to make a great impact. Someone with over one million followers should recognize her influence. Yes, she has the right to express her grievances, but she needs to consider whether the damage she could inflict is appropriate to the offense.

    Uncle Ben ne’er spoke truer words: With great power comes great responsibility.

  17. danielle on August 27th, 2009 1:07 pm

    I feel a reality tv show in the works! Dueling bloggers tweeting about their disagreements. You’ll be all over late night cable tv!

    I applaud you for standing up for what you believe in. Courage is an under-appreciated virtue.

  18. Michelle on August 27th, 2009 1:07 pm

    Sheesh. All I can say is that *I* am totally one of those people who hears a bad customer service story I automatically go to the “I WILL NEVER BUY FROM THEM” place. Unless the person who reports that bad customer service is a complete poo brain or they are talking about a company I’ve already found myself to be “tried and true”.

    That said….even if Heather had not flat out SAID to ban Maytag her complaints (combined with others I have heard about them) might have led me to that act anyway.

    I guess I’m saying that I would hope people would make a decision on whether or not to ban a company would use some additional info other than “A blogger I like told me to” before they take action.

    Please notice I said HOPE.

  19. Anne on August 27th, 2009 1:09 pm

    Huzzah! I actually sent you an email thanking you for expressing your different-than-dooce-and-yet-totally-valid opinion, which I happen to agree with. In short: GO YOU.

  20. caleal on August 27th, 2009 1:12 pm

    I agree. That is all.

  21. beach on August 27th, 2009 1:12 pm

    I just like the fact that You stood up for what you believed in….and you did it with class…

  22. Frannie on August 27th, 2009 1:12 pm

    Let’s just say, I completely agree with you. Some people are easily influenced; there’s also a responsibilty when you have many people who are listening and are willing to speak on your behalf. It’s nice to know these companies are frantically scrambling for one person while they keep me and everyone else on the phone for two hours until I reach a human.

  23. jessica on August 27th, 2009 1:18 pm

    i really couldn’t agree with your more. I enjoy Heather’s website, I think she’s smart, funny, and an excellent writer, but I really do think she asbused her status here. She didn’t give the entire story, she simply comaplined, a lot, on twitter about something that was bugging her. and, yeah, we ALL do it, i know. But like you said, very few of us have the type of pull and audience that she has. And, well, frankly, she came across as whiney and self-entitled. very, DON”T YOU KNOW WHO I AM MAYTAG?!?! at least that’s how I took it. of course she has a right to complain and bitch, but to call for a boycott of a specific brand without telling anyone the whole story? I don’t know, it just seemed a bit over-the-top. She KNOWS she has 1million+ followers and I really don’t doubt she knew what she was doing when she “suggested” the boycott of the brand.

    I guess what really irks me, is that I know if I were in those shoes, NOTHING would be done. Shit, I’ve been in those shoes, openly complaining about my cable provider on twitter and NOTHING was done. I didn’t get upset over that becuase I really never expected something to be done. I was simply venting frustrations. But! after seeing the reactions that Heather has received (offers for FREE MACHINES from Whirpool)makes me feel like she has abused her “internet celebrity status” to get something many of us just can’t get. action – fast.

    i applaud you for speaking your mind on this. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who thought the whole ordeal was a bit, ohhh, over the top.

    I hope Heather gets her problem resloved. And I also hope she shares THAT part of the story as well. I think that’s only fair.

  24. Pam on August 27th, 2009 1:18 pm

    Right on, sister.

  25. JMH on August 27th, 2009 1:19 pm

    Great post. I appreciate how you calmly and rationally explained your point. IMHO, that is much more effective.

    I personally no longer read Dooce simply because I no longer liked her posts. BUT, I think *any* person who has some level of “fame” needs to be very careful about what they say in public…on the Internet, on TV, etc. I thought it was very unfair for her to only give bits of her side of the story. Yes, she was mad, but it seemed a bit extreme to ask people to ban a company over one mistake (or 2 or 3)

    SKL- I LOVE this quote “I don’t get all this idolatry in amateur media in the first place. These are people you don’t even know. All this “you are so amaaaazing” and “what would I do without you” . . . seriously”

    Ha! That is hilarious.

  26. kate on August 27th, 2009 1:24 pm

    Yes! I really applaud how you’ve handled yourself in this situation.

  27. callie on August 27th, 2009 1:24 pm

    Have you noticed that no one who “disagrees” with you has had their comment posted? Hmm.

    Well I for one think your point of view is way off base. You don’t know her story…and it seems to me you want her following and some attention your way. Which you apparently got.

    You will never in a million years be one-tenth as interesting as Heather. But goodluck.

  28. Colleen on August 27th, 2009 1:25 pm

    You fucking rock.

  29. Belle on August 27th, 2009 1:26 pm

    And, this is why I read YOU and not HER and I totally agree with you.

  30. chan on August 27th, 2009 1:27 pm

    Just wanted to add my support to your side of the debate. How ironic that when Heather plays David to Maytag’s Goliath, she gets an avalanche of support, but when you play David to HEATHER’s Goliath, you get an avalanche of hate.

  31. Mimi on August 27th, 2009 1:28 pm

    I was totally turned off by her tweets as well. I kept thinking… doesn’t she know that people have been sued for less than this? Really, is she asking for a lawsuit?
    I was glad to see the tweets that you posted were a voice of reason, none of that sort of hysterical tone that Heather had.

  32. sundry on August 27th, 2009 1:29 pm

    Callie: no comments have been deleted. And if I wanted to drive traffic here I would have my blog linked from Twitter.

  33. Eric's Mommy on August 27th, 2009 1:30 pm

    You kick ass Linda!

  34. Trish on August 27th, 2009 1:30 pm

    Reminds me of Oprah and the beef industry….on a smaller scale, of course.

  35. kalisa on August 27th, 2009 1:35 pm

    I am behind you all the way on this one. But I disagree with one point: that Heather Armstrong has the right to vent on Twitter.

    When you’re #26, it comes with responsibilities. Does Diane Sawyer have a right to call for a company boycott on GMA simply because she’s had a bad experience? NO. For someone like me, with 200 followers, Twitter is very much a place to vent my frustrations if that’s how I chose to use it. When you’re #26 and Forbes says you rule the internet, then you have a responsibility to use that tool differently than the “little people” do.

  36. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 1:35 pm

    ::says Callie w/ no link to anything about her::

  37. bessie.viola on August 27th, 2009 1:37 pm

    I really appreciate you saying this. I thought it was pretty unfair to call Maytag out without saying exactly why. Kudos to you for speaking up!

    I’m sorry that you’ll have minions on your site for a while, though. I happen to think that Dooce would be lucky to be one-tenth as interesting as you.

  38. monkey on August 27th, 2009 1:42 pm

    Very well put and I totally agree.

    Marketing seems to be a very exciting field but I have to say that brouhahas like this are exactly why I slowly drifted from wanting to focus my MBA in marketing to multinational management/strategy with my marketing on the side. Because dare I say it? I find some of this stuff very childish and unprofessional and I stopped babysitting years ago.

  39. Sara on August 27th, 2009 1:44 pm

    yes yes yes.

    I was in/around Seattle last week while tagging along on my husband’s business trip & I tried to keep an eye out for Cat. I’m sorry I didn’t see him on his vacation.

  40. Olivia on August 27th, 2009 1:46 pm

    Very well stated! Thank you so much for posting this.

  41. Frannie on August 27th, 2009 1:50 pm

    Linda, I think you’re really interesting and actually have more creativity that you will use to, I don’t know, not write a book about your life -just like your blog, but something really cool. Perhaps with zombies. (By the way, get on it!) Sure, you didn’t know what the whole story was about, but I think that’s part of what your point was….Trollin on the internet is so 1998. Someone with class doesn’t need to beckon attention, it just comes naturally.

  42. Gina on August 27th, 2009 1:50 pm

    Yes! I have few followers and absolutely no influence, so I was happy when Glad sent me a coupon for a free box of trash bags last week after I got a defective box.

  43. Amy on August 27th, 2009 1:52 pm

    Well said!! With great power comes great responsibility. (At least that’s what Spidey’s uncle says!)

  44. monkey on August 27th, 2009 1:53 pm

    Just to be clear, I’m not calling your behaviour out as unprofessional and childish! This is just another instance of WTF I’ve experienced as I considered making the switch into marketing. And it’s not one way with bloggers behaving badly-I’ve read about some wtf marketing-to-bloggers snafus, too.

    The nice thing about my current field is that it’s boring, stagnant and brouhahas are kept to a low because of malpractice issues and licensing violations.

  45. Kate on August 27th, 2009 1:53 pm

    I thought you handled yourself exceptionally well.

    I have to say, I had been thinking about doing it for a while, but after today’s events, I broke up with Dooce. Deleted her feed from my reader and un-followed her. There might be a chance for us again in the future, but I just don’t know. :)

  46. MEP on August 27th, 2009 1:54 pm

    Believe it or not, I don’t Twitter and don’t follow anyone’s Twitter (except Evany Thomas while she was in labor, because her site was so neglected). I don’t read Dooce every day, but I do read you every day, Linda, and have for years, because you’re a mensch. But am I reading this right — are you defending a giant corporation’s right to provide shitty customer service to everyone equally, rich or poor, and never suffer consequences? I have no idea what happened but it sounds like they neglected a consumer — until they found out she has more ears that just the gals in book club. Which is shitty of THEM, not HER. What is her responsibility, exactly? To make sure Whirlpool’s feelings aren’t hurt? She’s not CNN. She’s also not responsible for what wackadoos do in her “defense.” And regardless, I’m pretty sure Whirpool can take it.

    Say what you will about Heather Armstrong, but she is single-handedly blazing a trail of internet celebrity and power, and while I love you and your writing, all your extra endeavors and side bars and ads and plans to write a book, plus now TWO entries about how Heather Armstrong won’t play right… I don’t know. To me it all sounds like sour grapes.

  47. jen on August 27th, 2009 1:55 pm

    Kalisa hit on what I was going to bring up…

    I was watching a Maher or Daily Show, forgive me, I can’t remember which, and one of them was all over a Fox News commentator who had said the abortion doctor in KS should be killed and then this crazy guy went and did just that. And Maher or Stewart’s point was that being a News Person, having millions of people listening to you, requires a higher level of responsibility to what you say. Not that the commentator cannot have his opinions but that his opinions have more weight with some people in society and him saying what he said was reckless.

    Naturally, this situation is not quite as extreme as the Maher/Daily Show example. But the point is the same. Being an Influential Person means being held to a different standard. It’s part of the deal.

  48. Kate on August 27th, 2009 1:56 pm

    Ugh. Can we please retire the “it’s just because you’re jealous” philosophy? That is such a childish argument, right up there with “Yuh-huh” and “You’re not the boss of me.” Sometimes we disagree with people, it doesn’t automatically equal jealousy.

    I enjoy both Dooce and Sundry, but in this instance, I agree with your take on the situtaion, Linda. I think you handled it very nicely, and I appreciate your explaining yourself, which you didn’t necessarily need to do.

  49. Kate on August 27th, 2009 1:57 pm

    Exactly. Very well said.

  50. Emily on August 27th, 2009 2:01 pm

    I’m another one who unfollowed Dooce on Twitter after today, not just because hearing nonstop about her washing machine was getting old, but because of the way she got so defensive about your comments, Dooce. And then, of course, she made a point to have some positive updates about the situation, so I think you hit a nerve.

    Callie can…nevermind. I love both blogs but you are more interesting than Dooce — if it’s a contest, anyway, which I didn’t realize it was.

  51. LauraC on August 27th, 2009 2:01 pm

    I can’t but wonder – where do you draw the line? When is someone “influential” enough that they need to be censor themselves publicly? Where do you the draw the line and tell her when it is okay to say something only if you completely explain it and justify it?

    It’s tough because I agree with people not abusing power or influence but at the same time… freedom of speech. It’s up to individuals to listen to that speech and make our own rational informed decisions.

    And lastly I think – where would the mothering community be without Dooce uncensoring herself on the topic of post-partum mental health? Uncensoring herself the way few other mom/women bloggers out there do?

  52. Cathy on August 27th, 2009 2:01 pm

    love you. love your perspective on …everything…
    thanks for doing what you do. when is that book coming out?!?!

  53. Kristabella on August 27th, 2009 2:02 pm

    I agree with you and I commend you for “taking her on” on Twitter.

    She does have a responsibility as someone who is considered a “celebrity” and has that many followers and readers of her blog.

    My biggest issue with it is the fact that there is a WHOLE story about this that she didn’t share, has yet to share. And she says that it will explain things. But you can’t Twitter “My washer broke. Maytag sucks. Boycott Maytag.” as a stand alone. And then when people call you out on you trying to wield your “celebrity” on Twitter, you’re all “but they have bad customer service. DID I FAIL TO MENTION THAT?”

    The whole thing sucks because like you said, it is going to give companies a bad idea about social media. When social media is mostly good and helpful to consumers, etc.

  54. kalisa on August 27th, 2009 2:02 pm

    Also? This: @dooce This isn’t consumer justice via social media. This is an unusually influential person slandering a company with no explanation.

    was possibly one of the most brilliant tweets EVER in the short history of tweets.

  55. kakaty on August 27th, 2009 2:02 pm

    My god, you are awesome. I, to am a pretty big fan of Heather but I got a bad feeling about all of this 4-5 days ago when she tweeted about the scathing blog post she was going to write. Then rather, then you know WRITING A POST, giving everyone the whole story and the ability to shake their fist and say “eff yeah! Stick it to corporate America!” she chose to tweet hateful, brand bashing snippets. I went back and yesterday she had SIX tweets declaring how much Maytag sucked, and how no one should every buy a Maytag. Only today were we getting specifics about what Maytag was doing.

    Like I said on twitter today: “With great power must come great responsibility”. 1M+ loyal followers = great power. Ripping a company w/o the full story = irresponsible.

  56. Nic on August 27th, 2009 2:05 pm

    What bothered me most was that it was a call to public action over a personal situation. I know bad customer service (I fly USAir), but I can’t expect anyone else to react over my personal situation that… isn’t actually extraordinary. Yes, it’s extremely inconvenient and obnoxious, but it isn’t the end of the world. I know she was frustrated, but it definitely looked like a hissy fit from afar.

    Also, I don’t understand complaining to a company on the behalf of another person because you heard about it on the internet. That’s… kinda weird.

  57. Anonymous on August 27th, 2009 2:07 pm

    hoo wee there is an all out mommy blogger war going on! You just made my work day so much more interesting :)

  58. serror on August 27th, 2009 2:08 pm

    Uh… Callie? From what I have seen in years of reading, Sundry would not remove any sort of comment that is critical of her own posts unless it was wildly outside the realm of reasonable. (Something actually scary threatening or personal of nature) In fact, Sundry seems to genuinely encourage discussion and discourse.

    Hence your comment still appearing in the comments…

    Also, I personally find the following that Dooce has a gift and a burden, that requires you think a lot more about what you put out about your life on the internet. I wouldn’t want the following that Dooce has, and I think it is presumptuous of you to assume that Sundry wants what Dooce has.

    I love love love Sundry’s writing, which does not exclude me from reading Dooce’s blog as well. I find both of them interesting.

  59. Karen on August 27th, 2009 2:08 pm

    I, too, have been watching this little storm brew all day. I’m like you, and would like to have seen at least a synopsis of the problem before the whole “Down with Maytag” started. Do I really care what Dooce says? Not really. I won’t think twice about it next time I buy an appliance. I can’t afford Maytag anyway.

    I will, however, applaud you on your guts. I’ve known for a long time that you’re the real deal, and that hasn’t changed today! I’ll still be reading you tomorrow!

  60. Maria on August 27th, 2009 2:10 pm

    Wow. Myself included, I can’t believe how many Spidey references you’re getting today. We rock.

  61. Jen on August 27th, 2009 2:10 pm

    Thank you. You are the awesome.

  62. BellyGirl on August 27th, 2009 2:11 pm

    Nicely said, Linda. This is simply a matter of a disagreement, I don’t think you’re trying to pull subscribers away from Heather or prove you are better than her. I also don’t think you are stirring the pot to get more hits – but, that being said – why don’t you link to your blog on twitter? I’ve always wondered this….

  63. Annabelle on August 27th, 2009 2:13 pm

    I tend to lurk around the Internets, generally, and Twitter, specifically, so was astonished to see how this…um…erupted? Anyway, I appreciate your writing and level head and practicality….your responses were well-thought-out, and echoed what was in my own head as I read through some of the back-and-forth.
    All this to say, thanks, and wow, you’ve got guts, and…that’s it.

  64. Amanda on August 27th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Just here to say that I’m frequently really impressed with the thoughtful and articulate way you put yourself and your opinions out there.

    It can’t be easy to stand in the face of judgment from the internet masses.

  65. dude on August 27th, 2009 2:14 pm

    Ummmm..I suppose I need to quote your actual tweets in order to “clarify” why you got a response from the twitterverse…and it is not related to all the spin you’ve barfed out above. Despite the doublespeak you’ve penned above, the facts don’t agree with you: Here ya go..you said:

    “This is an unusually influential person slandering a company with no explanation”

    “Sounds like you’ve got Home Depot AND Whirlpool in a panic to help you”

    Dooce’s responses were:

    “You tell me SPECIFICALLY how anything I have said is slander, @Sundry.”

    “Um, @Sundry, hardly a “panic” to help me. I’m still waiting on a phone call, what, 12 hours later.”

    Dooce paid 1300 bucks for a brand new machine which broke, and which, according to their repair guy, has 3 defective parts.
    She tried to get it fixed, explained the facts, then posted about her inability to get it fixed.

    You then bitched about her right to post. You wrote snide stuff, and you utterly misstated the facts, as you did here, again, in order to take pot shots at her. It is exactly as if you work for Maytag.

    You’re wrong, and you’re exploiting twitter and your blog to spin the story.

  66. Beth on August 27th, 2009 2:15 pm

    I have to agree with you, but I also think it behooves all of us, no matter how many (or few) followers we have to be careful with what we say on Twitter. I had a quasi-concern about a LeapFrog product, tweeted about it and within a couple of hours had a response from Leapfrog wanting to right the situation. I have, at best, 150 followers.

    I appreciate the instant service, but do wonder why we don’t get that kind of reaction when we simply follow normal channels and use their contact us lines and so forth.

    That’s also something to think about on all sides.

  67. Kelly on August 27th, 2009 2:16 pm

    Linda, I’m yet another person who “unfollowed” Dooce on Twitter today and deleted her from my feed reader. You were very polite and noninflammatory in making some valid points, and she reacted…well, like a spoiled, bitchy diva, not to put too fine a point on it.

    I have a blog with about 100 loyal readers, putting me WAY below both you and Heather on the blogger totem pole. And if I feel the burden of the responsibility to watch what I say about people, products and companies on MY blog, then shouldn’t she (and you) as well?

    Kakaty (above) has it exactly right – whether you’ve got one reader or one million, it’s irresponsible to slam anyone or anything without offering an explanation.

  68. ElizabethZ on August 27th, 2009 2:17 pm

    I think you handled this gracefully, as you do everything that comes up that might ruffle a feather or two. I also think everyone needs to cut Heather a little slack because methinks there might be some PP issues driving this little tirade of hers. Or tantrum or whatever you want to call it. I love you more though. :)

  69. Jackie on August 27th, 2009 2:19 pm

    I completely agree with your take on this situation.

    For the record I think you are very interesting. If faced with the dilemma of two new posts in my Reader….one Sundry and one Dooce, I would read Sundry first.

  70. Amanda on August 27th, 2009 2:20 pm

    What she did was have a big old hissyfit on twitter. It’s a bad example of how we can use twitter to get positive actions out of vendors. I’ve complained about vendor experiences twice and only have fifty followers. Because I did it like an adult, I got results I was happy with. I just don’t understand why Heather couldn’t have done this like an adult instead of a big baby.

  71. Steph the WonderWorrier on August 27th, 2009 2:21 pm

    Hrm. Today has become very weird. I blogged about this last night actually, because I posted an @-reply to Dooce with a Maytag commercial (not thinking anything of this situation, just that she was venting like a normal person would)… suddenly I had WhirlPool following me on Twitter, and anyway… it was all very weird to me last night.

    Little did I know, today I’d come onto Twitter (later in the day because I was busy this morning) and see this become a whole big “thing”.

    Honestly, Heather might be becoming more well-known, and maybe she has a million “Twitter followers”, but I honestly just don’t see a problem in her venting about this. I still don’t think it’s going to reach that far. I know A LOT of people in my life ARE NOT bloggers and are completely oblivious to this world still. 1 million people out of the World’s Population Of Appliance Purchasers is not that many people, really … and I still think of that 1 million, a GOOD CHUNK will know to form their own opinion.

    I also know a GOOD CHUNK have probably also said to other people at some point or another “OMG, DO NOT BUY such and such WHAT A PAIN IN THE ASS!” We’ve all done this, so we KNOW what context to take her tweets in.

    Honestly, I was more shocked and surprised last night when ME (a NO ONE by Twitter/blogger standards) suddenly has a corporation “follow” my Twitter because I sent one @-reply to Dooce. I was more shocked personally that the corporations CARE about a Tweet by a BLOGGER. I guess she has some influence, but honestly, I don’t think she’d take down their whole company based on Twitter.

    I like her a lot, but give us readers some credit too. We weren’t going to all blindly follow her and never buy Maytag EVAR (unless I really do find a brand I like better for a better price!). ALSO, if we’re true Dooce fans, we know that her humour is often based on exaggeration, loudness, etc… so I quite honestly took her “NEVER BUY MAYTAG” as her typical Dooce humour, not a slander or true boycott.

    For what it’s worth, I also like you too, and it’s good you’re speaking your perspective… but I just don’t think this needed to really become a “thing” like it did. I still don’t think Bloggers are as famous out in the big, wide world as maybe they or others think they are.

  72. Alex on August 27th, 2009 2:24 pm

    Sundry, I swear to god I have such a girl crush on you.

  73. Madge on August 27th, 2009 2:24 pm

    I am so glad that you wrote this. When saw Heather’s first tweets on Twitter:

    “The guy who is at our house to repair our BRAND NEW washing machine better know that I am insane and not to be screwed with. DETAILS TO COME”


    “OMG, dude, you do not want to make the post I have written about your brand any more awful than it is going to be.”

    I was cringing with the idea that she would name the brand and that “dude” was going to have to pay dearly for her unhappiness. It just had such a cavalier tone.

    I think that everyone should expect and receive good customer service, but when you are that much of a public voice, you need to use discretion.

  74. Becky on August 27th, 2009 2:25 pm

    you so rock….this is why I love you.

    Not to bag on Dooce..but this is why I don’t follow her….

  75. Sande on August 27th, 2009 2:27 pm

    Sing it Sista! I am not intelligent enough to comment intelligently, (LOL) but to say I 100% agree with you and if you want to edit this to make my “agree” a “disagree”…go for it. It is your blog. Callie is an idiot and obviously is not a true Sundry fan.

  76. Anna on August 27th, 2009 2:30 pm

    Well said, but I must say that I had a very bad experience with Maytag involving not one but two 1200.00 side by side refrigerators. Their handling of my first fridge failure led to me having to purchase a second one at the same price point with a 40% rebate after purchase. This came after having to pay for two service calls and enduring the joys of having no functioning food preservation system during the hottest three weeks of the summer. That solution wasn’t ideal for me what with the job loss and plunging economy but at least it was something. When the second one failed after just one year they offered me a 20% discount on another one of their products, generously lifting the price point restriction. I went ballistic. If they thought I was going to purchase a third fridge from them inside of a three year period they were crazy. You know, fool me once shame on me..fool me twice, we won’t get fooled again! How did I get them to refund me for the second fridge? I told them I would blog about my experience on my company’s real estate blog. They faxed me paperwork and mailed my check within the week. They should have known better to mess with Dooce!

    So while I agree with you in theory, I really really do, part of me did enjoy seeing Maytag’s hens coming home to roost.

  77. dude on August 27th, 2009 2:30 pm

    You say:
    “…but from the perspective of Twitter-bystander it sounded like they were trying to help. But maybe not. It was hard to tell.”

    Even though Dooce had previously posted:

    “That brand new washing machine from MAYTAG? That someone has been out to fix three times?”


    You take enough literal license with your interpretations of the facts that you seem to be deliberately manipulating them….as if to incite controversy….as if to draw publicity to yourself by shouting at someone more popular.

    For those who want to see what was said, as opposed to this spin which is mis-reporting what happened, you can view Dooce’s Tweets at: http://twitter.com/dooce

  78. am on August 27th, 2009 2:31 pm

    I do not think it’s something to ‘take sides’ about, nor does my opinion matter in the grand scheme of things at this point.

    But I would like to say, Linda you are one incredible writer. This post really shows your way with words and your kindness. You have always, ALWAYS taken time out to talk to me when I was struggling with motherhood, writing, marketing and all of life’s bs, and I can’t say the same for the other parties involved.

    I continue to be in awe of your ability and your honesty.

  79. vegas710 on August 27th, 2009 2:32 pm

    I saw “do not buy maytag” as a sort of snarky PSA not a call to action.
    I really think you went a little overboard with this.

  80. squandra on August 27th, 2009 2:32 pm

    Well said.

    And frankly, I don’t care if she has two followers or two million. She used a out-of-context call to action when a “Hey, you’re shitting the bed!” would do. That’s uncalled for, whether you’re famous or not.

  81. Tia on August 27th, 2009 2:33 pm

    Holy shit, I need to head over to twitter! Look at everything I missed while I was working.
    Love your writing Linda. As always you say things that other people are thinking but just don’t have an outlet or courage to say.

  82. stephanie on August 27th, 2009 2:35 pm

    First off, I want to say that I think that this is a very well-written, well thought out post. It clearly explains your belief and your position and I can respect that.

    I just have to say, though, that I disagree with you on some level. I understand that Heather does have an enormous following and a lot of influence out in the blogosphere, but at the same time, she’s human. She was frustrated and she has every right to complain. I agree with one of the other commenter’s points — where does one draw the line to be considered influential enough that they need to censor themselves publicly? In fact, why should anyone, who is speaking for themselves as an individual, have to censor themselves at all?

    Is there a possibility that Heather’s tweets will lead to some people boycotting Maytag/Whirlpool? Yes, probably. But so what. If Heather had written a same, well-thought out post on Dooce on this whole situation (which I imagine she eventually will), I imagine those people would have decided to boycott anyway. If people are lemmings enough to boycott something just because someone writes “Boycott X” in the heat of frustration, well, then we have bigger problems then someone supposedly “abusing” their power as a public figure.

    Basically, I think people are forgetting that while Heather is very influential and that what she says does have some weight with some people, she’s also HUMAN and frustrated, and, you know, freedom of speech. Why shouldn’t she be allowed to let off some steam just because she has a million more followers than I do?

    I also want to reiterate that same commenter’s other point that Heather’s uncensoring herself on the topic of postpartum mental health — a topic few other mothers would ever discuss so publicly — was a huge service to all the women out dealing with the same or similar issues.

    But again, I do appreciate this post and think that the points you make are important and interesting to discuss and a perfectly valid and appropriate response to the situation; I just happen to see it differently.

  83. HollyLynne on August 27th, 2009 2:37 pm

    Heather totally had the right to say her bit, but I agree with you that the way she went about it was pretty flagrant.

    As for Home Depot replying to her via Twitter, don’t assume they’re actually trying to help! I had a bit of a Home Depot hissy fit via Twitter several months ago and they DID contact me immediately (even though I had like 40 followers at the time, mostly spambots). Eventually my problem was resolved, but only after 10 further weeks of teeth gnashing and hand wringing. While the Twitter Home Depot reps DID put me in touch with district management over my issues, the local store still managed to snarf up my order a few more times before it was finally, mercifully completed and installed. I got the impression that Home Depot was on Twitter for PR damage control, not so much for actual customer rescue. I’d have a higher opinion of Home Depot in general if they’d focus their energies more on dealing with existing customer service deficiencies within their stores rather than throwing a bunch of not-very-helpful Twitter reps at the problem as an ass-covering gesture.

  84. kalisa on August 27th, 2009 2:39 pm

    I must courteously disagree with anyone who says that Heather has a right to vent on the internet same as any one of us. When you are named #26 BASED SOLELY ON YOUR INTERNET PRESENCE you have a responsibility to use that tool as a professional.

  85. Allison on August 27th, 2009 2:39 pm

    Your reply was so, so classy and it just reminded me why you’re my favourite blogger. I read Dooce just as often a I do your blog and Twitter and I’d be lying if I said that the Twitter thread between you wasn’t making me uncomfortable. Here were two bloggers who I usually both agree with on other topics, but now they were having a heated discussion with each other… And I had to agree with you. Your first Tweet to her made all kinds of sense, and only THEN did Dooce and Blurb (sort of) explain what was going on.

    Anyway, I would totally tell you if you sucked and there has been the odd post that I haven’t agreed with (Halloween costume…) so I think the whole “I’m agreeing with you because zomg we luuuurve you, Sundry! U r teh best” is ridiculous. I agree with everything you’ve said today because it is a strong argument. Kudos, Linda.

  86. Sweet on August 27th, 2009 2:42 pm

    (Had to use Sweet in response to Dude, it’s just natural)

    Call me crazy, but aren’t the tweets about the 3 parts after the DON’T BUY MAYTAG comments. I think Madge’s comments are telling. She just comes off as “do you know who I am?”.

    And honestly, not to knock Linda, but I don’t care if Dooce tells me not to buy a Maytag.

    I’m just interested to see if the National Guard needs to be called in at next year’s BlogHer conference.

  87. kristin on August 27th, 2009 2:49 pm

    I hope you don’t read this as an attack, because it isn’t. I don’t know you. I’m on YOUR blog, wanting to read your full perspective, so I am only offering you another view.
    Dooce was venting. Which, I, as one of her “followers” completely understood. I do not believe that anyone who follows heather’s blog/twitters thought of it as anything but that. A rant. Not a boycott. “DO NOT BUY MAYTAG” was just a rant. I’ve said it a million times about one company or another.

    I was outraged for her! Who hasn’t been in that position? And I am of your average intelligence…not too smart…not too dumb…And I buy whatever is on sale. Was I fuming about Maytag today? YAH! But you could have inserted ANY BRAND of appliance and I woulda felt the same. It’s like, customer service these days, is about the same EVERYWHERE…blase, with a dose of attitude and a general “what r u gonna do about it” mentality. And you feel so trapped, and helpless.

    So of course people understand. A story like that IS a call to action…but an actual boycott? No one does that anymore, and the corporations KNOW that. (I know, i work for one) Like I said, if it’s on sale, screw the boycott!

    DO I WANT to boycott Maytag? YES! But then when I buy an LG washer that will probably break too and so on and so on. I think everyone knows this. And since no one wants to actually get off their computer and do anything, ranting on twitter in response to someone else’s pain, somehow feels powerful.

    And I’m pretty sure I could speak for the average dooce follower.

    Just a thought

  88. Sara on August 27th, 2009 2:50 pm

    I saw the beginning of this from Heather’s twitter yesterday afternoon and though “What the hell?” Not having checked back since, I was surprised to see this from you, but not at all surprised that it had been taken to this level.

    I absolutely agree with you on this. I like and appreciate Heather’s writing, but esp. yesterday afternoon, the cryptic nature sometimes dictated by, and in this case (IMO) used to it’s full advantage through twitter messages is annoying, and usually ends up in a game of suspense I hate to play. The current righteousness isn’t helping much either.

    I also must say, your ginormous gold-platted balls are to be commended here, Ms. Sundry. All hail Sundry’s mammoth set.

  89. kalisa on August 27th, 2009 2:53 pm
  90. Corina on August 27th, 2009 3:03 pm

    I have to ditto all the people who’ve noted that this little kerfuffle made my day a little more interesting. (My days are pretty boring.) Linda, I really appreciate that when you realized you’d gone, perhaps, a little over the top, you backed off. What Dooce was doing wasn’t slander (former lawyer speaking), and when she pointed that out, you immediately acknowledged your poor word choice. That, for me, was the most telling moment of this whole silly thing and is one of the many reasons you’re one of my favorite bloggers.

  91. Joanne on August 27th, 2009 3:05 pm

    Kristin, you said:

    Dooce was venting. Which, I, as one of her “followers” completely understood. I do not believe that anyone who follows heather’s blog/twitters thought of it as anything but that. A rant. Not a boycott. “DO NOT BUY MAYTAG” was just a rant. I’ve said it a million times about one company or another.

    Just so we’re clear – you’re speaking for 1M of Dooce’s followers? Mmmmkay.

  92. Mia on August 27th, 2009 3:05 pm

    So um, Jon Armstrong? I’m sorry, “dude”…fucking chill. Linda’s got a point.

  93. Michelle in Maryland on August 27th, 2009 3:06 pm

    Yes. This. Absolutely this.

  94. fc12 on August 27th, 2009 3:07 pm

    I read both of you avidly. I probably have more laughs reading your site but I commend both of you for your bravery – Heather for her frank account of her PND and you for your tender but funny stories of alcoholism and the aftermath.

    I blog. I would barely be called a blogger or a mummy blogger for that matter because no one really reads my blog ;)But I do write mostly about my kids so I’m at least on a similar wavelength.

    I guess I see both sides of this argument. If someone with clout decides to stand up to the multinationals via a social networking (marketing?!) tool then maybe, just maybe, it will prompt these companies to change their customer service approach which we’ve all lamented over the years.

    On the other hand, the risk is Dooce gets the red carpet treatment because she put her hand up (and has 1m followers and is No. 26) and we plebs just sit on hold on our 24 hour customer service line for the third time this week. Who knows?

    But, and I struggle not to sound like a 15 yo girl standing in the play ground at lunch, can’t we all just get along? Do we have to publically deride each other for personal decisions? No, I would have been so blatant but why do we need to so openly flagelate her?

    I am struck time and time again but the infighting amongst mummy bloggers – ie I JUST DON’T GET IT. Live and let live. We’re not talking about human right injustices here. Why do women constantly need to judge and criticise people for making decisions they would not necessarily have made?

    I think your blog is a startlingly fresh piece of internet. I love it. It’s one of two I subscribe to (and the other isn’t Dooce!). I like that you are often controversial and you say it like it is. Your an amazing writer and I will keep reading you as long as you blog (and any books you publish) But I just wonder on this one…..

  95. Brenna Jensen on August 27th, 2009 3:10 pm

    I follow you and Heather and Jon on Twitter, so I saw the disagreement. And while I completely understand the frustration of brand-new stuff breaking and crappy customer service, I have to agree with you on this one. When I read the first ‘DO NOT BUY MAYTAG’ tweet, my first thought was “Why?” I’m absolutely positive that Heather has followers that wouldn’t bother to wait for a reason. Which is why what she did is dangerous. Rather than give people the facts and let them come to their own conclusions, she said ‘don’t buy Maytag’, and a good number of people said ‘okay, I won’t!’ What other blogger has that kind of power?

  96. Jennie C. on August 27th, 2009 3:14 pm

    I love the paraphrase of Spider-Man’s, “With great power comes great responsibility.”

    “I think the more relevant issue has to do with whether a larger voice leads to greater responsibilities.”

    Hear hear.

  97. Jennifer on August 27th, 2009 3:15 pm

    This is awesome – awesome that we’re having this discussion.

    IMHO there’s no right or wrong here, there’s no black-and-white to the issue. Why? Because this is a whole new situation where there aren’t really any rules yet. Yay for Heather for pushing the boundaries of her Internet presence, and yay to Linda for feeling a little uncomfortable with that and for questioning it. (And I suppose I understand why people feel the need to take sides, since you both have fans. But if we step back from taking it personally, I think everyone can agree that it’s unproductive to slam the other; let’s just consider each set of opinions as we wait for more to come in.)

    Can we compare Heather to a news or radio personality for “overusing her influence?” I suppose we could, but well, she’s making a living from her advertisers, so it’s up to them to censor her or not (or to quit advertising with her).

    And you’re right Linda – this will be the type of thing that will get marketing and social media analysis going. And I think that is GREAT and why it’s great to get into these situations. We’re right now in the midst of defining new means of communication, pretty exciting stuff since even the most inglorious of us can get in on it, or at the least be right there to watch it unfolding.

    I love it… “may we live in interesting times.”

  98. dude on August 27th, 2009 3:16 pm

    More of the stuff you tweeted 24 hours ago:

    “Part of what bugs me: http://twitter.com/dooce/st... – sounds less about Maytag/more about shitty local service.”

    Even though Maytag, THE COMPANY, as recently as 2005 was forced to settle a class action suit for TWO MILLION DEFECTIVE WASHERS it sold its customers:

    You tweeted:
    “@jkl2 I feel uncomfortably squirmy about these rants. Sounds frustrating, and yet . . . SUCH a big audience for one person’s bad experience”

    And yet, Maytag outsourced its production to cheap Mexican labor, and now has a TON of quality complaints:


    Clearly, you don’t let facts get in the way of a snide attack on a popular blogger in order to create publicity.

    But you do a massive disservice to people everywhere with you self interested promotion, attacking Dooces right to complain. People have the right AND THE DUTY to complain when large organizations screw them. The louder, the better. Dooce tweeted that she had previously had repairmen out 3 times for that Maytag washer, and she had previously tweeted that they said it would be a ANOTHER WEEK before they’d fix it THIS TIME.

    You are clever in your manipulation of this situation to draw traffic to your blog, but it is telling that you are willing to sacrifice everyone else’s right to speech for your own self interest.

    On that note, I bid you, your tempest, and your teapot goodbye. I never follow blogs of people for whom self interest is the altar of their religion.

  99. My Doppleganger on August 27th, 2009 3:18 pm

    *sigh* I’m sick of Heather. There, I said it. I’m sick of her being the “face of blogging.”
    I’m sick of her being the victim in all these “mommy wars” and not accepting responsibility. I’m sick of seeing her on TV and, according to her fans, never doing any wrong.
    I don’t think she should have ever mentioned the company by name. I understand the need to vent. I do it all the time.
    But I also don’t make my living writing a blog. (Although I wish I could.)
    This is her job, and the line between her job and her life is a blurred one. Like it or not, she is a public figure. What she says has consequences. She likes the publicity, she likes the TV time and the ad revenue and she likes being well known. But she also wants to use the tools that MADE her Dooce as a place to vent, and claims that it was just her being a “real person.”
    That is her job, and the life she’s chosen has forced her job and life to coincide. It’s not just her life anymore.
    I’m rambling now, but the bottom line is that I’m a little sad about the whole thing. Heather wasn’t the first blog I ever read, but I enjoyed it. I just don’t know if I’m going to enjoy it quite as much now.

  100. -R- on August 27th, 2009 3:18 pm

    Yes. I could not agree more.

  101. Captain Obvious on August 27th, 2009 3:20 pm

    dude = Jon Armstrong.


  102. dude on August 27th, 2009 3:20 pm

    So, umm, Linda, Dude has a point, tell “Mia” to chill….and to stop deleting my posts with facts about Maytag.

  103. AndreAnna on August 27th, 2009 3:23 pm

    Rock out with your Tweetie out. ;)

  104. Liz on August 27th, 2009 3:24 pm

    I’m not a regular reader, but I think I’m going to be after this post. I loved it! 100% in agreement.

  105. sundry on August 27th, 2009 3:24 pm

    “Dude”: again, I haven’t deleted a single comment in this thread.

  106. dude on August 27th, 2009 3:26 pm

    Dear dumbasses. Dude = Me != John Armstrong unless John Armstrong lives in Alabama and zero tolerance for idiocy.


    Another FACT:

    Maytag outsourced its production to cheap mexican labor in 2005 and had to settle a lawsuit for 2 million defective washing machines in 2005…but this blog keeps suppressing those FACTS.

    Final Fact:
    “The pen is mightier than the sword” is a quote you geniuses might want to wrap your head around, while you’re busy quoting Spiderman.

    We live in an era where CEOs are payking themselves hundreds of millions of dollars while they fire hundreds of thousands of US workers……and they sell us increasingly unreliable products with toxic ingredients manufactured in China by the equivalent of slave labor, and you idiots rally around the call of “Don’t complain if you’ve got a blog!!!!”


    How stupid are you people?


  107. jodifur on August 27th, 2009 3:27 pm

    I’ve ranted about customer service on my blog plenty. In fact, I just wrote about a terrible experience I had with Verizon this week.

    The difference, I don’t use it to blackmail or as a call to action. It’s my blog and it’s my life. This is what is going on in my life. Had she just written a post like, this is the horrible experience I’m having with Maytag, that would have been one thing, but the threats are what get me.

    Caveat, I don’t normally read Dooce or follow her tweets, I picked up on this b/c it was all over twitter.

  108. dude on August 27th, 2009 3:30 pm

    Dear Linda:

    You have suppressed the comments I have posted with links to the stories of Maytag’s outsourcing, their CEO pay, and their complaint history.

    “Suppressed” is the word I used, not “deleted”.
    As with your response to Dooce, you do not read carefully.

    If you want to unsuppressed those comments with those links, you can *then* delete them. If you like.

  109. Captain Obvious on August 27th, 2009 3:35 pm

    LOL! Dude says
    “So, umm, Linda, Dude has a point, tell “Mia” to chill….and to stop DELETING my posts with facts about Maytag.” (Emphasis mine)

    Dude also says
    “On that note, I bid you, your tempest, and your teapot goodbye. I never follow blogs of people for whom self interest is the altar of their religion.” But I guess he was lying about that too.

    Jon, I can see/read your posts with links to Maytag info!! It’s right there!

  110. Jennifer on August 27th, 2009 3:37 pm

    I really appreciate the people in the comments who are trying to contribute to the overall discussion rather than taking sides, getting personal, and slamming people. Thank you to the unemotional here!

  111. rj on August 27th, 2009 3:38 pm

    I hope this level of discourse doesn’t become a trend on here. Internet blog wars make me weary.

    Normally love your site though, Linda. Pictures of your family brighten my day!


  112. Angella on August 27th, 2009 3:38 pm

    So apparently, “dude” needs to get laid or something. And possibly actually READ your post above. Good grief.

    1. I told you this yesterday and I Twittered it today: You have bigger balls than most men do.

    2. You have handled yourself with nothing but class and all of your Tweets to Heather were respectful. You were just stating facts.

    3. I am proud to call you “friend.”

    Now, let’s all go look at the monkey/pigeon post that Alexa Twittered about and sing kumbaya. Or something.

  113. MichelleH on August 27th, 2009 3:40 pm

    Linda, I am a huge fan of you and your blog and agree for the most part, but I have to ask-don’t we have a responsibility ourselves not to jump off cliffs like lemmings just ’cause Dooce tells us to?? I mean, that’s what we are really talking about here isn’t it? She only has influence if we allow it. And there are a lot of influential people out there who are sketchy models of behaviour at best. Are they responsible for what they put out into the world? Yes, I definitely think they are. Are we responsible for looking at it with a critical eye? Yes. I get what you are saying but I think more of the ire should be directed at the sheep who are going to do whatever Heather says without looking into it for themselves.

  114. dude on August 27th, 2009 3:41 pm

    Dear “Captain Obvious”, you may be able to see links to Maytag info, but I see no links. I see the unclickable links that I had to post to avoid having the post suppressed.

    If Linda (or “Captain Obvious” or “Mia” or however she is posting) wanted to unsuppress the comments I’ve made, with the actual, clickable links, I’d see them too.

  115. Charlotte on August 27th, 2009 3:42 pm

    And the gold medal goes to MEP…

    “Sour grapes” – spot on.

    I’ve been a big fan of your blog but I have to say I won’t be reading this anymore. Loved your quirky posts but this is plain bitter.

    I get that it’s great in theory to ’stand up to the man’ but really, over their broken washing machine? Why should you decide the censorship for people’s tweets?

    Honestly this is all a bit cringe worthy?

  116. dude is a dumbass on August 27th, 2009 3:47 pm

    Dude, wait a second. “I never follow blogs of people for whom self interest is the altar of their religion”…and yet you’re here defending Dooce? Does not compute.

  117. dude on August 27th, 2009 3:59 pm

    “Angella” says: on August 27th, 2009 3:38 pm

    2. You have handled yourself with nothing but class and all of your Tweets to Heather were respectful. You were just stating facts.”


    Her Tweets to and ABOUT Heather (emphasis mine) were snide and stupid, like a homecoming princess gossiping about the valedictorian….just immature and snide.

    Here are a few of her Tweets:

    Linda: “Would now be a bad time to mention this weird noise our dryer is making? I think there might be a sense of entitlement stuck inside it.about 7 hours ago from Tweetie”

    (Just snide…what “fact” is Linda using?)

    “@dooce This isn’t consumer justice via social media. This is an unusually influential person slandering a company with no explanation.”

    (Even though Dooce HAD Explained, ad nauseum, about the multiple breakdowns and repairman visits. Even though there was zero “slander”. Even though Dooce’s total twitter following is less than 1/2 of the 2 million people who were sold defective washers by Maytag, and less than 0.5 percent of the 200 Million buying public)

    Nope, this is just sour grapes..and a demonstration of how to spin reality.

    Seriously, geniuses who support this chick Linda: Corporations are pulling all the large levers in this country, including Congress, with impunity, for the obscene profit of a few guys who sit in the top offices….and yet you support her idiotic call to “Stop Complaining Dooce! Stop announcing that a particular piece of overpriced, outsourced machinery sucks! Heavens to Betsy! A million people read your comments! Don’t COMPLAIN about a CORPORATION!”


  118. Kate on August 27th, 2009 3:59 pm

    Wow, didn’t know that Jon Armstrong was such a douche. Interesting.

  119. H on August 27th, 2009 4:01 pm

    For me, the whole point is Heather’s decision to use her internet “power” to sway Maytag. Of course, she must bear responsibility for that decision and the words she used. She was clearly trying to draw Maytag’s attention to her issues because whoever she’d been approaching at Maytag wasn’t taking care of her problem. There’s no question about that. So then, she’s certainly got to expect that people aren’t going to like her approach because it can be interpreted either as arrogance (because she knows Maytag knows about her wide audience and will jump on her issue) or as her right as an internet celebrity to wield her influence. Some will like it, some won’t, and that’s what she should expect. It is no different than any other opinion that she expresses so I guess what surprises me about the entire situation is that she’s reacting at all to what anyone says. If she feels she’s got the right to do what she did, she should shrug and move on. I read both Heather and Linda and will continue to do so. I now think Heather’s a bit more arrogant than I thought she was and I doubt Heather gives a crap that anyone out here feels that way.

  120. dude on August 27th, 2009 4:05 pm

    I’m not defending Dooce, moron. I’m defending Dooce’s right to speak her mind about a defective piece of overpriced, high margin hardward sold by a Corporation that outsourced the building to that hardware to Mexico, and paid their CEO 12 million dollars in severance.

    Dooce has the right to complain. As an individual, she has the unique ability to expose a symptom of what is happening here in the good old US of A.

    For this Linda person to say “tut, tut, I De-Clare! She should’n't speak ILL of this poor CORP-O-RAYSHUN! Deeya MEE!!” is the epitome of stupidity.

    It is so stupid, I think I smell self interest at work…just as it is in her self interest to have this be a knockdown debate, because it will draw more viewers to her blog.

    You people are idiots.


  121. Holly on August 27th, 2009 4:05 pm

    I’m trying to think of a really witty and intelligent way to say that you rock — but I can’t really think of one.

    You do rock, though.

    Vocalizing something that you think in a respectful way should never be attacked — those who are being disrespectful to you are sad. It’s a difference of opinion people, move on!

    Go on with your bad self!

  122. Madge on August 27th, 2009 4:06 pm

    I think it’s time to coin the phrase “doocebag”

    Dear “dude”,

    If anyone is acting like a homecoming princess it is you sir.

  123. dude on August 27th, 2009 4:07 pm

    I am a douche, absolutely…but I am not John Armstrong. Although, since you idiots have no intelligent reply to any of the points I’ve made, I guess I’ll just assume that you are aliases for the person who writes this blog, because she is an idiot…..so it all fits.

  124. Ashley on August 27th, 2009 4:10 pm

    There is such a bigger issue at play here than the whole Sundry vs. The Armstrong’s, I really wish drama didn’t always prevail. Social media is so powerful that The Armstrong’s were offered several machines from other companies, sure they might be donating them to shelter’s, but the fact that a couple of pissed off tweets from Heather led companies to offer free appliances is almost a little scary to me. Should we be scaring the shit out of these companies to get their customer service skills together? Maybe Heather is that person to do it? But when one voice can spark all this controversy around one item surely we should tread lightly with any power we might have, no?

  125. sundry on August 27th, 2009 4:12 pm

    Dude, congratulations on being the first to cross the line in such a ridiculous manner. I don’t think I’ve ever blacklisted someone, nor do I delete comments, but I’ll be doing so with you from now on. You’re welcome to send hate mail to me directly if that turns your crank, but no one else needs to hear your ass-braying.

  126. JoJo on August 27th, 2009 4:15 pm

    Dude may not be Jon Armstrong, but they would get along well.

    Kudos to Linda for expressing a valid and well-stated opinion and for holding her own against the megalomaniac Dooce, who just can’t hang when things get tough.

  127. Charlotte on August 27th, 2009 4:17 pm

    Do you not think there’s a reason so many people follow Dooce, and not Linda? Nobody forces anybody to follow their tweets or blogs…. The whole thing about blogging is voicing YOUR opinions and hearing who YOU want, it’s not brainwashing that keeps you on someone’s page – it’s the content!

    If you feel like giving out about something maybe you should have giving Maytag a call? Hmm.. I think they do actually call themselves a cooperation, unlike Heather?

    In the end of the day, Linda’s bullying (come on guys, look at the behaviour, we can all see the real bully here) will stand towards her and the people reading Dooce’s tweets have already understood her sense of humour.

    If anything, Linda has made more of a commotion about Maytag than Heather ever did!

  128. Captain Obvious on August 27th, 2009 4:19 pm

    This argument has nothing to do with Maytag as a corporation. It has everything to due with someone’s inflated sense of entitlement and exploiting the medium that created her monster, for her own personal gain. That’s it.

    Sundry, I am sorry I got off course with the dude’s ramblings. I really like your insights on this whole fiasco, and you’ve remained the bigger person in all of this. Kudos!

  129. Ashley on August 27th, 2009 4:19 pm

    Dude, we aren’t talking about lead paint that CAN KILL PEOPLE, we are talking about a machine that cleans clothes. I don’t understand you Dude.

  130. Ashley on August 27th, 2009 4:22 pm

    Oops out of context now that Dude is banned…please feel free to delete this and that last post Linda :)

  131. blurb on August 27th, 2009 4:24 pm

    Now who’s slandering whom, Kate? ;-)

    I’m kidding. I’m the real Jon Armstrong and I think it’s great that Linda decided to disagree or to question why Heather would do whatever with her twitter account. I also think it’s great that Heather took it to Twitter. We live in amazing times.

    I’ve got diapers and snuggles and naps to get to without coming on someone’s site and using a pseudonym to belittle somebody for disagreeing over how Twitter is being used or that they feel someone with a lot of followers should act a certain way. If anything, I’d be willing to bet that if Linda and Heather sat down and talked about this, even if there was continued or further disagreement, that the conversation would be civil.

    Also, everybody on here has a right to their opinion. Y’all get up on it!

    It should be said that Heather’s waiting to post about this to see how Maytag handles it tomorrow. We’re waiting for parts (overnighted, instead of the usual 7-10 day wait) and to see if the repair works or there is a deeper problem. Hopefully, there will be some other great news out of this and I’ll let Heather share that.

    We’ve all had bad days. I suppose that at some point, those bad days shouldn’t be public, but that’s what makes life interesting. I’m sure some or all of you might disagree.

    Linda, keep it up. I mean that. Not being snarky at all. If we can’t disagree publicly with somebody or question them, the world would be a boring, awful place. Hopefully after Heather explains herself tomorrow, you might soften or change your view. Then again, you might not and that’s just fine.

  132. Anonymous on August 27th, 2009 4:24 pm

    I don’t disagree, and yet I don’t really agree…I work in a library where people watch a lot of porn (we don’t filter and we allow anything as long as it’s not illegal). A lot of people are uncomfortable with this and people complain to me a lot. “There are children here,” they exclaim. “This offends me,” is another. It’s dirty, it’s wrong, it’s anti-feminist, it’s degrading. And we allow it, because of the first amendment. I say, “It could be for research. For school.” (Probably not, but still, their rights. I’m not going to suppress them.)
    I like both Linda and Heather because they are open and honest (as far as I can tell) in their writing. But I still think Dooce can say whatever the hell she wants on her twitter stream, and so can you. And me. And that annoying dude guy too. Even if it is offensive or irresponsible or whatever the adjective of the day is.

  133. sundry on August 27th, 2009 4:32 pm

    Thanks for the thoughtful comment, Jon. I’ll tell you what: I truly do expect to read Heather’s account and agree that the situation was a service nightmare. I may even make some judgements (and future consumer decisions) about Maytag as a result of hearing the full story, who knows. But that won’t change my opinion of how the Twitter communication was handled, because the story didn’t go out with those communications.

    I don’t feel I’ve been uncivil to Heather nor her to me, in my mind this is just a disagreement and an interesting conversation to have. I’m glad you support the discussion.

  134. biscuit on August 27th, 2009 4:32 pm

    Dooce vs. Sundry would be a sexy brawl. Would totally pay the PPV fees. ; )

    just had to throw that out there.

  135. gabrielle on August 27th, 2009 4:34 pm

    Thank you Linda…*slow clapping*…I’m so happy you felt free to speak your mind and dare to say something that conflicts with Heather’s opinion. Her followers are legion and while I’m sure many are lovely people with independent minds – from the comments you see here and elsewhere it is obvious that too many have sipped her Borg juice and can see no wrong. Dooce followers, take a breather, remember that everyone is allowed an opinion, and dial back the passion a notch before you defend Heather.

    Also, I’m a little sad that Dude was blocked – he was starting to amuse me. FACT. haha I’m still chuckling.

  136. Heather J. on August 27th, 2009 4:34 pm

    Sweet Jesus, if people are going to boldly denounce a product in a public forum, it’s not too unreasonable that others may respond in the same public forum desiring the full story or, gasp, even saying said denouncing isn’t entirely fair without giving the full story. It’s not worth panty-wadding about, it’s a simple difference of opinion & should not be ridiculously divided into “if you agree you’re a sychophant if you disagree you’re a hater” sides. The same right to complain stand should be balanced with another’s right to respectfully respond, if even if the response disagrees with the manner of the original complaint. That’s all that’s happened here for fuck’s sake.

  137. vegas710 on August 27th, 2009 4:35 pm

    YMMV but I would have deleted “dude” once he started name-calling. People, the idea that Jon Armstrong is over here all incognito is absurd.
    I read and really enjoy both Dooce and Sundry (did I say that already?). I think it’s fine to have an opinion about Heather and her fame and what responsibility may come with that but saying it out loud to her and everyone else came off as judgey to me. Then everybody gets pissy because Heather should have taken your scolding and what? Apologized? To who?
    I try to read bloggers that stay above the fray but this time you started it.
    But I’m not unfollowing or deleting either of you from my feed, I’ll just be happy when it blows over.

  138. Helena on August 27th, 2009 4:36 pm


  139. Cookie on August 27th, 2009 4:39 pm

    I saw Dooce’s orginal post and was a little bothered by it, but figured what the hell, it’s her Twitter account. However, you have a good point about her realm of influence and I think it was great that you voiced your opinion. The back and forth was interesting to follow. Also, was amused by Blurb’s commentary on the situation. I’m sorry you felt that you needed to write a post to explain yourself. I thought you did quite well in the 140 word restriction imposed by Twitter.

  140. Heather J. on August 27th, 2009 4:40 pm

    Much as my inadvertant incorrect spelling is making me laugh, I meant sycophant, not scyhophant, of course :).

  141. Andrea on August 27th, 2009 4:44 pm

    I think all of this is ridiculous… seriously.

  142. Leah on August 27th, 2009 4:48 pm

    You not only have the balls to start this discussion but the dick to follow through. Rock out with…well, YOU KNOW (because it is LAAAAARGE.)

  143. Maureen on August 27th, 2009 4:48 pm

    Once again Linda, I must express the admiration I feel for both you and your commenters-the different topics that have been discussed here with respect and tolerance-it always has amazed me.

    The fact that dude doesn’t seem to be getting what he wants-a shitstorm of abuse from your readers-must be extremely frustrating for him.

  144. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 4:56 pm

    OHHH MY GOD. it’s simple, Sundry is right, and the other is WRONG. Gulp it down! like a shot of MOONSHINE. yeah it burns but it’s how the earth rotates, gravity, the essence of time…. GEEEEEZUZ!

  145. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 5:08 pm

    Oh also, the very fact your were told to “keep it up” but in the same sentence Jon clicked his heels twice in hopes of your “view to soften or change” shouts some kind of publicity thang. Really this is a no brainer, considering all sides its STILL a no brainer…

  146. Jennifer on August 27th, 2009 5:17 pm

    I nearly fell off the fucking elliptical this morning when I saw your @ replies. In fact, I think I even shouted “OH SNAP!” (much to the dismay of my fellow gym-goers who were trying to watch Judge Joe Brown or some such.) Lawd love a good old fashioned Hazzard County Tweet-Off.

    I guess I’ve never really considered Heather/Dooce a celebrity and thus don’t understand the outrage on either side. To me, it was just one person confronting another about something that irked them. I suppose the reason that I’m impressed is because I don’t have the energy to get worked up about much of anything.

    Bottom line, I would hope that her followers – and society in general – would be smart enough not to judge a product/brand based on one person’s 140-character diatribes.

  147. kayemess on August 27th, 2009 5:19 pm

    I kinda just wish COMPANIES would not jump all over social media complaining. Perhaps they could hear my phone calls and emails as just as persuasive as a popular blogger complaining on a micro-blogging site. Companies need to stop jumping to serve those who Negative Tweet.

  148. merry jennifer on August 27th, 2009 5:23 pm

    Very well said, including the response to commenters.

  149. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 5:24 pm

    OOHZ, and Im sorry, I just LAH-ooooVE the fact her comments are closed. After a “woe is me story” that continually had neon signs blinking “HEATHER, HEATHER, HEATHER” she done closed her ears and there you have it.

  150. Lucrezia on August 27th, 2009 5:29 pm

    Hmmm. It’s interesting to hear another point of view (I was JUST at Dooce hearing about this for the first time). I don’t have twitter, so I did not read any of this first hand. I completely get what you’re saying about how ‘Heather the brand’ has more responsibility for what she writes than a small blogger with twenty followers…but still, I read her blog, and probably a lot of people do, because as many followers as she has she doesn’t censure herself. She still writes as if it’s just her family and friends reading, or at least that’s the feeling I get. And she got popular writing that way, so should she change what she writes now because her audience is bigger? I don’t necessarily think so. I agree that more of a story about the washer should make it on the blog or something before people boycott, but honestly, that’s on those people who are willing to take the word of one person, without knowing all the facts, and boycott over it. I think it’s a silly thing to do. But it’s silly of them, not necessarily of her. Blind loyalty to one person’s opinion is not good no matter how much you like that person, and that’s their fault not hers. Still, it is something to think about and I think your point is really valid too.

  151. Marie Green on August 27th, 2009 5:36 pm

    Wow, this is the most interesting comment thread that I think I’ve ever read “live”. Like, maybe I’m a Real Blogger now? Because I was part of the Maytag Sitch, as it was going down? I usually find out about these things days/months/years later….

    Anyway, Linda you DO have BALLS, but also you have respect and civility on your side. You’ve handled yourself gracefully.

    Also, Dude is killing me.

    As for my opinion? I… uh… don’t have one. Really! I mean, I see both sides of the issue- hate big corporations taking advantage of working class people. If it had been me, I wouldn’t have had the power that Heather does, and I’d FOR SURE still have a broken machine, and no extra cash for another one. So if this makes big companies produce better quality products, and if it makes costumer service for the average joe better, than I’m glad someone is holding them accountable.

    However, the kind of complaining she did made me uncomfortable. Probably because I’m not clear in my own heart/mind of how I feel about it…

    In any case, I’m always a big fan of the devil’s advocate- many people outright agreed with you, but VERY FEW did anything about it.
    Therefore, YOU RULE. =)

  152. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 5:37 pm

    Nope, it’s her fault cause she knows what the good golly hell shes doing. She’s like super nova mom/wife/entrepreneur, she’s got connections the norm’s don’t have, but writes/blogs to be of the norm… but ::high pitch:: – itttts not haaaapin’n! Last time I checked the power of persuasion is super strong which brings us to square ONE. notoriety + leverage = jackpot!

  153. RC on August 27th, 2009 5:43 pm

    dooce knows her audience and the impact her comments and tweets have on her large audience. She is the BULLY.

    Your blog fortunately lacks the pompous attitude of dooce’s blog. Who the heck tweets while giving birth?!? Unless they know the LARGE audience they have awaiting her next post with bated breath?!?

    Feel free to disagree…you’re entitled to your opinion. No reason for her to have “steam coming out of [her] ears”.

    Poopey on her.

  154. Kelli on August 27th, 2009 5:49 pm

    So… do you own stock in Maytag. Others have already covered it- Heather was ranting… Thankfully, despite the fact that I read Heather’s blog daily, I have the intelligence not to hurl all of my Maytag appliances onto my front lawn. And when I shop for a washer next spring… I would have barely remembered what brand she was ranting about (well had you not started this huge “debate”). But rest assured, you have brought new people to your blog… “who is this person harassing Dooce for bitching about her broken washing machine?” HAVE YOU NEVER BITCHED IRRATIONALLY ABOUT SOMETHING WHEN YOU WERE BOTH SLEEP DEPRIVED AND GETTING SCREWED BY A BIG CORPORATION?? Give it up.

  155. Max on August 27th, 2009 5:49 pm

    *Sigh* People, please. Slander = an untruthful oral statement that harms the subject’s reputation. Libel = an untruthful printed/written statement that harms the subject’s reputation. Slander =/= mean or inflammatory.

    And yeah, Linda, I think you’re making much more of this than necessary. 11 paragraphs? Really? I don’t understand the need to spend so much energy worrying about how Heather does or doesn’t wield her audience power appropriately. And despite what others here will tell you, it doesn’t take “balls” to use a relatively anonymous forum to take issue with someone’s position. As you point out in a response here, your Twitter account doesn’t point to this site, and your full name isn’t attached to your Twitter ID. You can tweet whatever you want to or about Heather with essentially zero consequence. So a few people write nasty @replies to you – that’s hardly a consequence with any gravity. Right?

    But really, learn the difference between slander and libel, and recognize that when you accuse someone of either, you are calling them a liar.

  156. debbie on August 27th, 2009 5:55 pm

    I am totally with you on this one Linda. This has bugged me since I first read about it.

    The way I see it is if her job were anything other than blogging, there would be some serious ethical issues with blasting an email or tweet or whatever out about this kind of experience. I mean whose job would let them send the equivalent of a mass email to your entire company about a personal problem? Not many I’d guess, without some consequence. I mean we all complain to friends and family when we are on the receiving line of some shitty customer service but frankly it is a nutjob who doesn’t know when to quit and takes the fight public in hopes of getting it resolved.

  157. Cookie on August 27th, 2009 6:03 pm

    Also, I just told my husband about this and he agrees with your stance on the whole situation.

  158. Kelsey on August 27th, 2009 6:09 pm

    Love your writing, love your blog, but I gotta say, I think you overreacted on this one. Hopefully we’ll be back to the regularly scheduled programming soon…

  159. Jenny on August 27th, 2009 6:11 pm

    I certainly don’t want to make this a bash-session excuse for Heather, but I agree with the commenters making a point that this isn’t just some unknown woman bitching on the internet . . . her site and her “brand” is her job also. Of course everyone has the right to rant, vent, what have you, but when your site is your job and your income, and when you seriously sell your logo on t-shirts on your site, and have that many followers, I think one ought to have a little more forethought before going on a brand name calling rant.

  160. Lucrezia on August 27th, 2009 6:19 pm

    I just wanted to chime in again and say some of the comments – like saying that Dude (who was being unnecessarily nasty) was Jon Armstrong, or that even if he isn’t they are the same – seem a little overly personal, especially since Jon Armstrong wasn’t even part of the original fight. Being mean (yes, I know, sounds very grade school to use mean, but it fits) to him, or getting personal about either writer, doesn’t help make anyones point. Either Heather has the right to over react sometimes, or she is popular enough that she has a “responsibility” not to. Either way, no reason to declare her, her husband, or Linda the anti-Christ. This is just one little issue.

  161. Lesley on August 27th, 2009 6:27 pm

    I’m in complete agreement with your take.

    I’m of two minds about Dooce. While I enjoy reading her, at times the narcissism that has grown with her celebrity turns me off.

    If people want to bitch all day on the Internet about a broken appliance, I have no problem with that at all (been there, done that). But starting a boycott based on a bad few days with one appliance was over the top. My immediate response was “take a goddamn pill and move on.”

    One appliance breaking down and temporarily lousy service isn’t evidence of a systemic problem with a manufacturer. Boycotts are generally founded on such evidence, not one blogger’s bad day.

    Past that, the woman earns a 6-figure income. Can’t she call a cleaning service? Or drive to her mom’s house?

    As far as business saavy goes, she’s got it, but her fortune is also somewhat incidental.
    She entered the blogging scene early enough, before there was much competition. She had the smarts to brand herself back then. If she was entering today, her chances of earning a living purely from blogging would be uncertain.

    Her brash, frank, funny, fearless voice keeps readers coming back, including those who dislike her. She’s emerged as a saavy business woman, of that there is no doubt. And her blog is sustainably entertaining. I enjoy it, but I’m not a worshiper.

  162. Tony on August 27th, 2009 6:32 pm

    Damned if you do, damned if you don’t I guess. You put your link on your Twitter account and you’re stirring up controversy for publicity. You don’t put your link and you can say what you want with no consequences.

  163. Anonymous on August 27th, 2009 6:36 pm

    Agreed. Dooce is simply gettiing too big for her britches these days. I think her internet celebrity has turned her into a self-aggrandizing, self-promoting, whiny, entitled, narcissistic, out of touh, Oprah wannabe. Her posts seem mocking to regular folks who don’t make $500k a year posting about their lives in their pajamas, while this country is simultaneously in the middle of a recession. “I bought a $1,300 washing machine…I bought brand new patio furniture to enjoy the Utah summer nights…I bought these ironic new pillows on Etsy…look at my daughter’s expensive crib and nursery, blah, blah, blah.” She knows the power she weilds on twitter and through her blog, which tells me she consciously twittered about Maytag just because SHE COULD. Because she’s dooce, damnit. Her daughter’s a genius, her newborn baby has dimples to die for, her husband is perfect and she’s an esoteric hipster with great taste in music PEOPLE — even Leta has her mom’s penchant for indie rock — the Armstrongs are just COOL. She’s become increasingly narcissistic and entitled. “Oops, how did little ‘ol me get to be #26!? Oops, how did this TV crew unexpectedly end up in my living room this morning?! Sooo, as I was flying to an interview with Dr. Phil.” Ugghh, her narcissism is always shrouded in an inauthentic attempt at self-deprecation. Let’s face it. Armstrong has built a calculated empire — she even wrote her birth story in 3 installments like a TV mini-series to keep her audience in suspense and coming back every second of every day. She’s brilliant in that regard, but there’s something about humility when you’ve achieved success at her level and she’s gone in the opposite direction. “I’m dooce, when you spot me in the grocery store…say ‘hi’” What, are you Angelina Jolie now? Anyway, she consciously bashed Maytag on her twitters, simply because she COULD. She knows her clout, but instead of using it for good, instead of maintaining some humility and appreciation for an internet who’s built her up…she’s almost gloating in her power, which quite frankly, is just obnoxious. God forbid the woman has to use a laundromat and throw in some quarters like “normal” people…while she awaits a brand new machine (or two or three for free) after snapping her little internet cyber fingers. I know it’s so pedestrian, but it seems like a small sacrifice to me when you live the life of dooce.

  164. shygirl on August 27th, 2009 6:37 pm

    Once again Sundry hits the nail on the head. Exactly. You’ve touched on every point that went through my mind about this today, as well as some other, subtler points that hadn’t occurred to me yet (if ever). And you’ve articulated those points with grace and measured reason, which is always a plus for one’s position in a controversy of any kind. Well said, and bully for you for saying so!

  165. kalisa on August 27th, 2009 6:48 pm

    I kinda wish Anon 6:36 had left their name & blog address. If they have one. I would totally read him or her.

  166. natalie on August 27th, 2009 6:51 pm

    This was really well written; I think you might have written what a lot of people were thinking and just didn’t articulate.

  167. Melissa on August 27th, 2009 6:52 pm

    You are not Dwight Schrute.


  168. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 6:55 pm

    Holy Humility batman, Anonymous on August 27th, 2009 6:36 pm – paaaaaaRAISE the mighthayy heavens you have made a wonderful point about humility. He who is standing beware he don’t fall on his ass’ish. I don’t care if your a recovering mormon or a all out and proud smurf, logic is logic and she’z didn’t use mucho in this here battle of “steam comin’ out of said: ears”

  169. Liza on August 27th, 2009 7:02 pm

    agreed! that is all.

  170. Lesley on August 27th, 2009 7:02 pm

    Just read “dude”’s comment and while the statements he presents might certainly help one form an educated opinion of the manufacturer, not one of those was cited or referred to by Dooce.

    Additionally, her boycott suggestion wasn’t based on Whirlpool exploiting a cheap source of labour, or amoral production methods, but her own bad day with her own broken washer.

    She bought the washer. She wanted the washer they built exploiting poor people in the Third World. So his is not really an effective argument.

    Beyond that, most manufacturing is done overseas in sweatshops now. So uh, Whirlpool isn’t exactly unique in that amoral regard.

    And Dooce didn’t care anyway, because she bought the washer made in overseas sweatshops. That isn’t her issue. Her issue is it broke and she didn’t get service.

  171. samantha jo campen on August 27th, 2009 7:17 pm

    I really appreciate how the majority of these comments have been handled, and Jon’s comment is truly respectful and high class. And Linda you’ve handled yourself wonderfully. I know you, and know you’re not doing this for traffic or attention. That suggestion actually made me laugh.

    I have to be honest, when you spoke out against her I was scared for you. She has SO much power and influence I was afraid she would literally take you down. And the more I thought about it today I’m like, “Who the fuck cares.” I haven’t been a fan of hers for a while but still follow her and continue to read. I got some (albeit tiny) balls today too and am taking her off my blogroll and unfollowed her on Twitter. Her rant just sealed the deal for me. I TOTALLY got the “DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!?” vibe and I’m done.

    And it feels good.

  172. bailey on August 27th, 2009 7:21 pm

    this whole situation reeks of grade school. for anyone familiar with twitter, companies contact folks all the time regarding their tweets – whether they be positive or negative. i do believe twitter is the perfect forum for the kind of spur-of-the-moment frustration heather was feeling.

    i’m not ‘for’ or ‘against’ either one of you, but one thing is for sure – if you were looking for traffic to your blog, you certainly got it, because i never heard of your blog until today. so…congrats? i hope for your sake this was the attention you wanted.

  173. L on August 27th, 2009 7:23 pm

    Rock it out Sundry!
    Nicely said.

  174. willikat on August 27th, 2009 7:26 pm

    Hm, man! People are RILED. Here’s what’s interesting–we’re creating a whole new world with communications via internet–and how the First Amendment may come into play.

    I know as a journalist, if I did something like that without backing it up with facts, I’d likely either be sued by the company, made very uncomfortable by the company, or fired from my job.

    On the other hand, I get nervous when people start talking about what you can and cannot say–j-school profs will call that “the chilling effect” when suddenly people feel they can’t challenge the people in power (government, corporations, etc.) through “printed” word.

    HOWEVER, I do think that the main point is that dooce probably makes a jillion dollars a year on her website, and that makes her a professional, no matter which way you slice it. She’s super smart, and a great writer, (and I count myself among her fans)and yeah, when you have a big following, you have a responsibility to be careful with your facts/presentation. That is not to say I don’t believe she’s super irritated or in the wrong that buying a new washing machine gives you the expectation it should work.

    But I come back to this, Linda, which is brilliant: “This isn’t consumer justice via social media. This is an unusually influential person slandering a company with no explanation.”

    140 characters, respectfully done, well said. It takes a great writer to convey all that in that amount of space.

    And I have to say, I thought that it was a respectful conversation between you two via Twitter. You both have sarcastic senses of humor and you’re both strong personalities. I get some sense that a little bit of opinionated banter got turned into a HUGE CATFIGHT because two women dared to disagree in public.

  175. willikat on August 27th, 2009 7:35 pm

    Oh, P.S. In case it isn’t clear–”HUGE CATFIGHT” is sarcastic.

  176. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 7:38 pm

    Just to interject to the “if thats your REAL name” (baileys, kelli’s and max’s…and so on, that DON’T PUT ANY CONTACT INFO) you make a point of stating your view but are a internet phantom… so.. really, why post? what do you come from, what are your ardent and impassioned views on? talk about grade school and ridiculous, dooces cheerleaders have been a little on the “Im 12, I’z punch you in the arm and run” side. This has nothing in the EFFING sweeeeeet Caroline Neil Diamond to do with MAYTAG. We all know that!! Cut to the chase for the love of shiznick!!! Damn!

  177. sundry on August 27th, 2009 7:39 pm

    Willikat: regarding your last sentence, YES, EXACTLY.

    Neither of us were assholes to each other, it was hardly a fight, this post is not exactly a shit-stirring flaming bag of controversy. The only drama exists in a few of the comments here and elsewhere.

    The Maytag thing was/is interesting to me because I’m interested in blogs, marketing, new media. Not because I dislike Heather (quite the opposite, actually) or have any criticisms of her personally. I decided to expand on what I wrote on Twitter simply because I felt like I wanted to express more than 140 characters would allow me to do.

    Also. If I were asking for attention or trolling for hits, I would be linking and repeatedly re-tweeting a link to my damn blog, for crying out loud. I don’t promote my blog because I want readers to come by here out of their own vested interest, not because I’ve spammed my url all over the place.

  178. jonniker on August 27th, 2009 7:39 pm

    I hate that this has become such a THING. I, however, DO applaud you for following through on it, because it became such a ridiculous THING. I mean, I almost threw up when one of those Wise Obnoxious Mommybloggers (ironically not you, Heather OR me, though we were most vocal) threw out a pearl of wisdom on the topic, like we were all supposed to see the light. Oh YES YES OF COURSE! THAT IS WHAT WE SHOULD DO! Thank you, wise Mommyblogger. Thank you.

    Dude — who is not Jon Armstrong, that I believe — is a frightening specimen, and should, if nothing else, serve to remind us all why being Heather is not that enviable. If I had a follower willing to go to SUCH GREAT LENGTHS for me, I’d be afraid to sleep at night. For real.

    At any rate, what bothers me about the whole thing is that yes, I believe that with great power comes great responsibility (Frillionth Spidey reference HOLLA!), and that …well, this whole thing crossed the line. For the sake of discussion, and since all parties are reading, I’ll say why, and I hope it doesn’t sound douchey towards anyone involved:

    - This was a person with a huge audience. It’s one thing if *I* say I have a problem with Maytag, but another if Demi Moore says it, and for chrissake, Heather has as many followers as Demi Moore, you know what I’m saying? You have to know, based on your experiences as a celebrity, that you’re going to get a response and that seems exceedingly self-serving, and is reminiscent of the behavior everyone flipped out about at BlogHer. The Crocs lady comes to mind, but remember, she didn’t get any results, because she was a “nobody.”

    This proves the point that the Crocs guy would mos def have given free Crocs to Dooce, is what I’m saying. Or something. And that smacks of something that leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth.

    – Dooce’s fans are rabid dogs. Not all of them, but a frightening lot. (Exhibit A: “dude”) You bet your bippy they were going to re-tweet that until the cows came home and scream BOYCOTT! until Maytag cried uncle. When we don’t even know the whole STORY.

    – There was most definitely a sense of entitlement, intentional or not. The demand for an immediate response and phone call during the 12 hours that most Maytag repairmen are at home eating dinner (likely featuring old-fashioned glass milk bottles to match their uniforms), and TWEETING the demand for that phone call was a bit, “Don’t you know who I AM?” It was a bit off-putting, and I’m putting that mildly. I believe the word I used was “horrified.” Asking for decent customer service is one thing; demanding special treatment based on status is another.

    –Mom-101 made a great point that people were willing to LOSE THEIR SHIT on Nikon after a stupid party rebuff (that was justified, IMO). Why WOULDN’T people react similarly to this? And back then, there were all sorts of screams for people to use reason and act judiciously. I see no reason why this should be any different.

    – The idea that you or anyone else would speak out against this for publicity is what’s wrong with the Internet and the inherent hierarchical structure. Are we not allowed to disagree with the big guns, lest we be smote like Sam Merlotte or accused of something awful?

    Give me a fucking break, people. Linda is a bigger person than that, and whether you like her or not, is the LEAST self-serving blogger out there, and I genuinely mean that. Seriously. The least. I have been reading her for what feels like decades, and I have never — not once — seen her do anything to become bigger, more famous, more public, or be anything but genuine and thoughtful. Ever. And I believe after all these years, she and I are actually friends, so I can say that without sounding like a sycophant.

    So that portion of this whole thing, you random commenters, you, is utterly ridiculous. Because Jesus, who even WANTS this kind of publicity, when people like “Dude” come crawling out of their rocks with an astonishing amount of research and vitriol?

  179. jonniker on August 27th, 2009 7:44 pm

    Oh! And my point re: those dashes, is that all of this may or may not have been intentional, but that’s how it came across. Which leads me to the point that while there are many, many benefits to being Heather, one of the negatives is that you do, I believe, have to think before you Tweet more than the rest of us, lest you be misunderstood.

    Ergo, Heather, if you are reading this, and if I misunderstood you completely, then I apologize. But I agree with Linda that thinking before Tweeting is your cross to bear.

  180. JenniferB on August 27th, 2009 7:44 pm

    I think you are awesome!

  181. susie on August 27th, 2009 7:48 pm

    My what an interesting day! I noticed Dooce’s hissy fit a while back, and your responses this morning… and I think lots of things, not that it matters. Dooce’s missives were making me uncomfortable and I am glad someone called her out on them. I love what you said, it was appropriate, and just snarky enough to be hilarious. I can see why it pissed off Dooce, but it’s also obvious that she rectified the situation a bit, so good on you for being bold enough to do it.

    I think this is the most interesting thing I’ve seen so far as social media is concerned!

  182. Lesley on August 27th, 2009 7:48 pm

    Btw, I can say with 99.9% certainty “dude” isn’t Jon Armstrong. (Note: “dude” misspelled Jon’s name). The real Jon would identify himself, not hide behind “dude.”

    Also, that’s just not Jon’s voice or style. I’ve been reading him for awhile too. And I wouldn’t if he wrote like “dude” does.

  183. jonniker on August 27th, 2009 7:52 pm

    And oh christ, I meant to add that what proved my point was the fact that she was offered free washing machines from competitors. Dude, I could Tweet my BALLS OFF for DECADES about my broken Whirlpool washing machine (which, true story, was broken a week after we got it. For two weeks. While I, too, had a newborn), and the only free thing I’d be offered was a plastic washboard from Dan’s Laundromat.

    And I’m FINE with that, I’m just saying, clearly there’s undue influence there.

  184. willikat on August 27th, 2009 7:58 pm

    Sundry–rock on. I agreed with all of your comments completely.
    And I noted myself as a dooce reader to call the inevitable dogs off when I noted that I disagreed with her; but I should have also said that I’ve been a fan of yours, for oh, what, the whole time you’ve been blogging.

  185. SKL on August 27th, 2009 7:58 pm

    Doesn’t it kind of defeat the purpose of Twitter if “popular” tweeters aren’t allowed to tweet their minds?

  186. JRM on August 27th, 2009 8:00 pm

    Heather needs to shut it. Your machine doesn’t work. I’m sorry. I have a freaking screw in my knee (installed on purpose by a surgeon) that has a crack in it (not his fault, not the screw’s fault, just no one’s fault). Am I telling 1M people to boycot the screw manufactuer? No. Sometimes life is a bitch.

    Let’s get some perspective.

    She needs to go read that story that you linked to in twitter, (the one from the LA Times about the 6-year old with schizophrenia). That is life. That is truely worth discussing.

    Thank you for speaking out!

  187. nanann on August 27th, 2009 8:00 pm

    Have had you on my feed reader for ages since our kids are the same ages, but don’t comment much.

    Don’t really have too much to add to the conversation, although I will say I agree with your tweets. Thought they were respectful, etc.

    I really just wanted to say that OMGosh, twitter makes my head hurt! I’m not on twitter myself, had no clue of any fight until this post, and searched it out. Think I’ll happily stay twitter-free!

  188. Lettuce Prey on August 27th, 2009 8:00 pm

    Gotta admit, I’m girl crushing on you & Anon 6:36 pretty damn hard right now.

  189. Lesley on August 27th, 2009 8:07 pm

    Heather gets a lot of free stuff. Tons. Because if she likes whatever it is, the senders know she’ll make mention of the product, link to its web site, and the next day their web site will crash from new business.

    The woman who owns Daily Coyote didn’t start living off of her blog until Dooce mentioned it. Overnight she became a sensation.

    That’s the positive side of pleasing/amusing Dooce; and Whirlpool, at least today, is cottoning on to that.


    How many variations of “seriously, totally abusing her influence. trying to get a free maytag me thinks” did you see today.


    First impressions can make or not start a relationship.

    Dooce wants to draw people in, not alienate them. At the same time she needs to not compromise her personality. I thought – like Linda said – she handled the criticism fairly well, partly because she’s a reasonable person at heart, but also she’s not dumb.

  190. spacegeek on August 27th, 2009 8:14 pm

    Agree with what you are saying in principle. But I just finished shopping for a new dishwasher and Consumer Reports panned Maytag too. LOL

  191. Max on August 27th, 2009 8:15 pm

    @Smileen – not everyone has a website to list. Are you saying that makes us internet phantoms and that, what, we shouldn’t be allowed to comment on items of interest? Isn’t that a lot like saying you can’t vote if you don’t own property? Interesting take on things.

  192. Annie on August 27th, 2009 8:19 pm

    thanks for going on the other side of the argument, one that very much needed defending. Dooce seemed a little too blatant with the company-bashing, and I have to wonder if it was a stunt.

    I read Dooce and you daily, and am totally on your side on this one. but then again, I’ve always related to you better. You haven’t lost yourself in this wayward world of selling out.

    go you! does your husband know you grew a pair?

  193. Liat on August 27th, 2009 8:38 pm

    As a long time follower of both blogs, I feel like this post was unnecessary. A simple apology and not an explanation of what you did and why you did it would have sufficed. Instead I see a window for further internet bullying and put downs and unfortunately for both parties involved an invitation to further trolling and traffic.

    I realize that some people see Dooce negatively as an online persona, but to judge someone in such a personal light that you have never even met is kind of ricockulus.

    Instead it would make more sense if you both just shared a beer and talked about your experiences about washing clothing for newborn infants and such. This bile being spewed in the comments is kind of gross, but I’ll read your blogs regardless because I don’t know you that well as a person yet.

    I owned a used Maytag dryer briefly in my last rental and it dried my clothes better than imaginable. The brand has significantly dropped in quality over the past few years.

  194. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 8:45 pm

    No not at all @Max – I didn’t mean to poo poo you that way, just in a way thats like..dood, you so SHOULD come from someheres and be all like “HI Im MAX, Im from here & like this that and the other and I have something to say!” it’s nice to link it to other thoughts. Dats all. It just makes the full circle of commenting, threads and so on more viable.

  195. Frema on August 27th, 2009 8:46 pm

    I’m conflicted about this. I work for a company that monitors Twitter activity, too, and we are primed to address any negativity that comes our way, whether the person complaining has five followers or five hundred, so I don’t think all companies are ONLY addressing issues from those with the biggest pull. Also, my boss recently purchased a stove with bad parts and received terrible customer service; she hopped online, came across a blog dedicated solely to complaints about the stove’s manufacturer, posted a comment, and was contacted in 24 hours by that manufacturer, with new parts in hand by the end of the week. In the blogosphere nobody would know her from Adam, and yet her concerns were still heard and somebody took the time to get the issue resolved. When it comes to social media and all its various channels, the line between “little person” and “celebrity” is more blurred because we all have access to the same tools to communicate our message. Dooce received a substandard product and abysmal customer service. She had every right to complain about it and do it publicly.

    That said, the multiple tweets stating DO NOT BUY MAYTAG didn’t sit well with me. It’s not that she said it, it’s how often she said it before giving the full story. But what is the full story? Why can’t a brand-new $1,300 washing machine that breaks repeatedly be enough to publish an all-caps rant? That question is just as much for me as it is for you. I feel like it shouldn’t bother me. But it does. Maybe because Dooce does have such a large audience.

    I don’t think I’m explaining myself very well. But I’ve enjoyed following the discussion.

  196. Smileen on August 27th, 2009 8:46 pm

    P.S. MAX, I don’t vote sooooooo… I can’t really hold up that end of the convo :)

  197. Kami on August 27th, 2009 8:47 pm

    Dooce is overrated. Just say’n.

  198. MomBabe on August 27th, 2009 8:56 pm

    Mostly I love that it was all about a broken washing machine. Go to the laundromat like everyone else.

  199. Danell on August 27th, 2009 9:05 pm

    Man, I am DYING to use the phrase “ass-braying” now. Too funny.

  200. Valria on August 27th, 2009 9:52 pm

    FIGHT!! FIGHT!!! Oh I missed it. ha ha
    (just kidding for those who do’t get it).

    Jeez where was I all day, oh yea I don’t twit or tweet or whatever.

    Hi Linda,

    How bout I blatantly change the subject and offer you some cookies to sweeten your week. (thats what us fat girls do)

    Heres a link to an old post but its got some good photos of the cookies. I think the boys would like the peanut butter and jelly ones.

    (really! I have an order and can easily make extra, then people can accuse me of bribing or drumming up traffic)

  201. Lesley on August 27th, 2009 10:04 pm

    Liat didn’t read the entry and selectively read or didn’t read the comments. He or she missed Dooce/Heather’s husband’s comment expressing appreciation for Linda’s rational, thoughtful, balanced, and reasonable post.

  202. Anonymous on August 27th, 2009 10:20 pm

    “On that note, I bid you, your tempest, and your teapot goodbye.” – The Dude

    Hahahahahahahahaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaa!

  203. kristin on August 27th, 2009 10:51 pm

    I just don’t get all the “entitlement” accusations. I paid $1,300 for my first CAR. If I paid that for a washer, damn straight I’m ENTITLED as all hell to have it work. We ALL are. And I think we should ACT that way. I really do believe that it’s our own acceptance of low standards that keep them low.

    When I lived in NYC, I bought an expensive vacuum from the local hardware guy on my block. It broke many MONTHS later and I called the guy and he came over THAT NIGHT. Because customer service meant something to him. I didn’t have to demand. I didn’t have to get shuffled to an India call center. I wasn’t blown off with excuses.

    This is how it SHOULD be. And we should ALL WANT IT TO BE THAT GOOD.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but sundry. your comments to heather were not just regular old comments. The “entitlement in the dryer” comments are what I thought were uncalled for. But then that’s why I read your blog. To GET THE WHOLE STORY. I don’t think you’re wrong in your opinion necessarily, but you never did apologize or even admit that those were snide remarks.

    I make stupid snide remarks ENDLESSLY. But I also admit it.

  204. Tree Dreamer on August 27th, 2009 11:38 pm

    zOMG the butthurt that some people are catching over this is screaming out for some Prep-H. Notice how Linda, Heather, and Jon aren’t exhibiting any of the negative feelings towards one another that some people are towards them on behalf of … them.

    1 million followers? Making a living off your blog where you can afford stuff that most of your readers can only dream of? Yeah you have a responsibility. Period. She can run her blog anyway she likes – any of us can – but when you’re a professional blogger, you have a responsibility. To yourself, and to your audience – which is the public at large, in a sense.

  205. Kari on August 27th, 2009 11:43 pm

    Yeah, Leslie, Liat didn’t read the comments, and she isn’t a regular reader of this blog – she suggested Linda and Dooce “have a beer” and discuss it.

    I think both perspectives are interesting and have provoked a thoughtful, respectful discussion about a larger issue. Namely, at what point do you voice your complaints with a company or product, and does that timeline change when you are preaching to a louder audience?

    I think Heather was clearly entitled to voice her opinion, and I also think her readers, including Linda, are entitled to tell her that her call to arms needed and deserved more than a few 140 character rants.

    Reasonable people can and do disagree, and in terms of having a civil disagreement, I think both women showed their strengths. There is a reason both women enjoy broad readership, and the folks who are trying to create a deeper chasm than this really is are missing the point. Spectacularly.

  206. Lesley on August 28th, 2009 12:23 am

    kristin, most consumers are vocal when they feel they’ve been wronged or robbed. That America is one of the most litigious countries on earth kind of demonstrates that.

    In any case, that wasn’t the basis of the disagreement.

    $1300 for a washer is a scam when you can get a perfectly acceptable one with all the doodads for less than half that amount. It’s not as if Whirlpool has a monopoly on the washer market.

    Poor Maytag. It really used to be a great brand. Growing up we had one washer and one dryer – both Maytags, that lasted years and years. But that was in the day of the lonely not busy Maytag repairman.

  207. Kim on August 28th, 2009 3:01 am

    Because I’m not as mature as Linda, I’ll go ahead and say
    It – Dooce wishes she was half as talented. Team Sundry all the way.
    I’m totally buying a Maytag this weekend.

  208. Amy on August 28th, 2009 4:11 am

    Nope – I don’t buy it. My basic principals nor my voice should have to be changed or altered just because the situation has changed around me. Why should someone who has 2 readers be able to complain about a product but if I had a million readers, I’m not supposed to? You start stepping in to dangerous and gray areas. This is the pole on which the censorship flag flies. The responsibility is not with Dooce but with those that choose to listen to her and boycott a product simply based on what she says or to make an educated decision themselves. I love your blog and Dooce’s because you both can speak freely and openly (and well-written I might add!)and it’s it’s the way it should be. Let’s keep it that way.

  209. Amy on August 28th, 2009 4:58 am

    Perfectly said Linda….perfectly said!

  210. Gemma on August 28th, 2009 5:17 am

    i completely agree with you and how you’ve handled the situation.

    although i’m sorry about heather’s experience with maytag she handled the twitter side of it in absolutely the wrong way, and i’m glad that there’s someone with the balls enough to tell her that!

    however, i also think that if EVERYONE, not just dooce, ends up getting better customer service in the future out of this then that’s got to be a good thing.

  211. cagey on August 28th, 2009 5:31 am

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for calling a spade a SPADE.

    My husband is an entrepreneur and is currently building Business #2. I am tired of folks thinking they have the right to stomp all over businesses because they are poor consumer.

    Furthermore, as a former customer service rep myself, I can report that the vast majority of folks calling in tended to be rude on the phone and would take their frustrations out on the first one to answer the phone. ME. Folks, the person answering that customer service line is a PERSON.

    The customer is not always right and I think that is the silliest mantra to have ever been passed around.

  212. Dudeisaweirdo on August 28th, 2009 5:57 am

    Dooce had a hissy fit. It happens, but for the rest of us we swear and stamp our feet in the kitchen. We dont call for a million people to boycott the company, we just steam and then get over it. Hissy fits happen, Im QueenHissy…and yes, they are total overreactions. Dooce overreacted and brought it public, which is wrong but hey. We all have our moments. I totally agree with you Linda, and I tweeted so yesterday. This whole thing was so overblown it is almost laughable. But you know what? I need a new washer and I think Im going to buy Maytag. Because Jesus tits. They deserve some business right about now.

  213. Frank on August 28th, 2009 6:00 am

    I think companies are getting on the bandwagon regarding what goes on out in the twittersphere or blogesphere. I once complained about Comcast on my blog and someone from Comcast HQ contacted me and got the problem resolved after I had had several go arounds with the local Comcast office. An I only get a few hits a day on my blog so to me that was pretty impressive.

  214. Liz on August 28th, 2009 6:25 am

    Oh my god, I can’t believe people care about this. I couldn’t even read past your second paragraph. Heather’s washer broke, Heather had a nightmarish time with Maytag’s customer service. Heather is a pseudo celebrity, Heather twittered…Who the FUCK CARES??? Do you monitor other celebrities and what they say about name brands?? Also, why would I stop buying Maytag because ONE pseudo celebrity twittered about it? If I was in the market for a washer, one blogger’s (albeit a beloved and talented blogger) opinion would not make me not buy a brand. For christ’s sake women, grow up. All of you. Blech.

  215. marymac on August 28th, 2009 6:56 am

    Anonymous coward ‘dudes’ of the world aside, I too followed the whole “SOAP opera” with great interest though I have always felt ‘internet celebrity’ is a bit of an oxymoron. Also, can i just say that the way *your* comments are in yellow is way cool? That’s all. Carry on with rocking.

  216. Rumblelizard on August 28th, 2009 7:03 am

    Been reading both you and Dooce for a long time, and I respect you both.

    That said, I think the whole sentiment of “Dooce is a bully and she has a RESPONSIBILITY to do [insert whatever the commenter thinks Dooce should be doing here] because she has a popular blog that lots of people read” that you and a lot of other people are expressing is just…mind-boggling.

    Here’s what I think: Dooce can say whatever the hell she wants, whenever the hell she wants, and if you don’t like what she says, you totally have the right to vote with your mouse-clickin’ finger and READ SOMETHING ELSE. It’s a big internet, and no one is forcing you to read Dooce.

    So maybe you decide not to read Dooce. And maybe some of her advertisers will decide that they don’t want to advertise with someone who twitters mean things about their corporate brethern. Either way, it’s not up to anyone else but Dooce to decide what she does or does not have the right to say in her own online spaces. It’s up to you how you respond to what she says–and you’ve done good job of explaining your thoughts here. However, it’s not up to you to say what Dooce does and doesn’t have the RIGHT to say.

    I mean, are you “Dooce has a responsibility to yadda yadda” folks seriously suggesting that Dooce doesn’t have the right to say whatever the hell she wants just because she has a lot of followers? How does that follow, exactly? You can freely express your opinion however you like until…what? 500 Readers? 3,000 readers? 10,000 readers? Where’s the line drawn?

    And thirdly, Linda, are you seriously suggesting that poor little multi-billion dollar corporation Maytag is the VICTIM here? Because someone who is Internet Famous advised people not to buy a Maytag product based on her own experience of said Maytag product breaking in the first week, and then being unable to get someone from Maytag to help her get it fixed?

    Is it really just the fact that she happens to have a louder megaphone than most people that you find objectionable? Or was it her “sense of entitlement” that you snarked about on Twitter? You know, I thought that “sense of entitlement” tweet was kind of incomprehensible. Did you mean the totally justified sense of entitlement that you get when you spend $1,300 on a product from a company that purports to be reliable? Because believe me, I think we all share that sense of entitlement when we spend that kind of cash on a product.

    Anyway, here’s an idea: maybe Maytag should try and build products that DON’T BREAK IN ONE WEEK. And maybe they should treat all of their customers like they’re Internet Famous and get right on that shit when their products do break!

    I actually think that this kind of thing should happen more, not less. If getting the occasional kick to their PR ‘nads makes Maytag and other corporate behemoths try to improve their products and customer service even a little bit, then I am seriously all for the kicking.

    It sounds like Dooce plans to tell the whole story in her blog and provide some context above and beyond what she said on Twitter. To my mind, that’s a lot more than she owes anyone, including Maytag.

  217. ashley on August 28th, 2009 7:04 am

    Way to go, Linda. You are so very right.
    I think the saying should be, “With great power comes great responsibility, AND, unfortunately, great ego, too.”. Dooce is great but in so very many ways she’s not any more talented or interesting than a host of other bloggers.

  218. Cheryl S. on August 28th, 2009 7:04 am

    The scariest part of all of this to me is that people would actually NOT buy maytag based on a “tweet” from some person they don’t know.

  219. Joan on August 28th, 2009 7:15 am

    I hope she never gets a bad cup of coffee at Starbucks.

    I agree with you.

  220. Courtney on August 28th, 2009 7:28 am

    Rock on Linda, rock on.

  221. Julie @ The Mom Slant on August 28th, 2009 7:40 am

    I find it interesting that your critics (and critics of anyone who calls out Heather on any point) insist that you’re being opportunistic. Might they be hoping for a little attention themselves as a reward for their blind loyalty?

    I think your post and your view of the situation is well balanced and defensible. Admired you already for taking on a triathlon, but admire you even more now for taking on a topic on which most people are too scared (or blind) to differ.

  222. Liz on August 28th, 2009 7:58 am

    What I find interesting after looking at all of the comments is this: People who agree with this post seem to “like” Linda more and “dislike” Dooce, for whatever their reasons. People who disagree, seem to disagree with the point of what Linda is saying. And Rumblelizard: yes, absolutely, I agree with everything you said. If I didn’t know/read Dooce or Sundry, I would agree with your comment, objectively.

  223. beth aka confusedhomemaker on August 28th, 2009 8:00 am

    I have to say the comments on this thread only seem to highlight the issues about social media & it’s use by those who are money makers (e.g. Dooce). Just look at how many people (myself) included are weighing in on this. I could tweet all day long asking people to not buy a product (or my bad experiences w/ a product) & I don’t believe for ONE second anyone would really care. I don’t have that pull, certainly not with potential advertisers.

  224. Mousie on August 28th, 2009 8:05 am

    I don’t read Dooce, but I have to admit I’m having a hard time reconciling the fact that the person who wrote this post is the same person who so eloquently called for compassion and understanding in this post:


  225. Insulted NOT Motivated on August 28th, 2009 8:14 am

    A few months ago on your Bodies in Motivation blog, I tried to make a similar point about a blogger’s responsibility for her words. See comments 6, 19, & 71: http://www.bodiesinmotivation.com/2009/02/navel-gazing-a-whole-new-level/

    Your response regarding the purpose of a blog was:

    “…for [bloggers] to have a place to share their successes, challenges, achievements, and setbacks. It is supposed to be honest, real, and written without editorial assignment or censorship.”

    And yet here you are, criticizing someone else’s “honest, real” thoughts. Shame on you, hypocrite. SHAME ON YOU.

  226. Anna on August 28th, 2009 8:19 am

    touche Insulted NOT Motivated! Bet that one hit home eh Linda?

  227. Katherine on August 28th, 2009 8:23 am

    I just love that classy and articulate Jon Armstrong. And I totally love you and Dooce–I think all told the three of you are quite an interesting, well-spoken group. This is an interesting dialogue and I’m really glad you brought it up.

  228. Sundry on August 28th, 2009 8:30 am

    Well, no. Sorry. I think there’s a pretty big difference between someone being vilified because she referred to herself as “fatskinny”, and the events I’ve already written my opinions on. If you go back and look at the context to my comment you copied and pasted, it was in response to people saying Kristin shouldn’t be allowed to use that term on the website Bodies in Motivation because it was potentially offensive.

    “Offensive” language? Not a fan of censoring it for delicate ears. Thinking twice about how you portray a company when you’ve only got 140 characters but 1 million listeners? Yeah, I still think that might be a good thing.

  229. kalisa on August 28th, 2009 8:53 am

    Rumblelizard – I believe your argument that bloggers should be allowed to say whatever the hell they want on their own blog has already been knocked down by the courts who have ruled that personal bloggers who review products must say whether or not they paid for the products.

    That ruling is based on the simple idea that even personal blogger have a RESPONSIBILITY to their readership.

    If you see this medium as an open space for 1st Amendment rights, you are clearly living in 1997.

  230. Erin on August 28th, 2009 9:04 am

    This whole thing is I think a fantastic microcosm of the weirdness/power/influence of social media, and I think it’s fascinating.

    I saw Dooce’s tweets, and I thought they were a little over the top. But I rolled my eyes and moved on.

    I saw your tweets, and I thought they were sort of harsh, but then I moved on.

    Honestly, I don’t know if I’m more irritated by Dooce’s possible power-wielding or big corporations only paying attention to the consumers who have power to wield.

    Either way, this is a conversation that needs to be had. The thing is, though, there IS a difference between bloggers, such as Heather and yourself, who have a tremendous following and branding power etc. and bloggers who, well, don’t. Should there be different standards of conduct? At one point would a blogger’s blog become a matter of public responsibility rather than personal space?

    This is a tricky issue, especially since people with great influence are bound to use that influence, and someone is always bound to disagree with how it’s being used.

  231. Nina on August 28th, 2009 9:11 am

    I agree with your post 100%. I am all for good customer service and getting a working appliance after you paid for it. But using your Twitter influence to demand a boycott, and to rally the troops when only 140 character story is given is just plain wrong.

  232. vegas710 on August 28th, 2009 9:20 am

    Sundry, I’d love if you would ask people to chill with the ugliness. Looks to me like a lot of people are using your post as an excuse to bash Heather, I’m sure that’s not your intent.

  233. Maria on August 28th, 2009 9:23 am

    I hate that people ACTUALLY made this out to be a catfight. People are dumb.

    I have so, so much to say about this but I’m exhausted by the whole fiasco.

    Personally, I’m glad I don’t have “followers” who would mindlessly run off insulting people or starting shit to support me.

    I stick by my Spiderman reference though.

  234. Shelly on August 28th, 2009 9:35 am

    What if the “unusally influential person” in question wasn’t Dooce, but someone like, say, a TV personality with their own show that suddenly started calling for Maytag to be boycotted? And that message was sent, without context, to the millions of TV viewers who were loyal fans? And then Maytag, or whomever, might then find itself in a lose-lose PR situation: no way to right the situation however they tried, due to the TV personality’s message (even with the promise of more context coming, days later).

    That is the point, here, people. I think a lot of people would cry foul (and have, in similar situations). Also, imagine if it were *the other way around* and a big national corporation were tweeting out-of-context messages about said popular media personality? The flip-side PR damage would be the same, and many people defending Dooce’s approach would cry foul as well.

    Clearly, a professional journalist, blogger, TV personality, what have you, has an ethical responsibility to provide a *balanced* report — even if the Maytag experience was awful, you must explain the whole story if you are a *professional* media participant. And we all agree that Dooce is a professional blogger, right? While she is quirky, path-blazing, taboo-topic-tackling, etc (all very commendable and of course we ALL benefit from the roads she has paved), she is still a professional blogger by virtue of her status and how she operates her website. So why, then, would anyone argue that she can “say whatever she wants”? She has set herself and *branded* herself as a professional blogger, ergo, the same standards of professionalism that we hold our newspapers reporters, TV anchors, TV personalities up to should apply.

    Bottom line: I don’t read Sundry’s post to read that Dooce *can’t* talk about how upset she is over Maytag’s product or service. Yes, of course everyone should be able to say what they want (including bad things about a company!). But, if you are a “professional”, then there are some basic media/journalistic standards under which we’ve operated our 1st Amendment society that you (any media professional) should adhere to. Otherwise, you lessen your brand and stature as a professional media figure, whether you’re operating in social media or elsewhere.

  235. Jean on August 28th, 2009 9:47 am

    Oh please. This whole thing is so stupid.

  236. Christy on August 28th, 2009 9:51 am

    I’m not taking sides because I couldn’t give a f*ck about who is right or wrong. It’s a BLOG for God’s sake…a place people go to think out loud. If people really want to focus energy on something productive, start at your local law makers’ next open session meeting.

    Heather and Linda, kudos for being able and willing to handle putting your opinions and lives out there for everyone to read and criticize. And thanks, also, for keeping things lively :)

  237. LC on August 28th, 2009 9:54 am

    I hope my comment is not deleted!!

    Sundry, I find it offensive that you insinuate that Heather’s fans are sheep. I know, I know…”You didnt say that!!! That’s not what you meant!!!”

    It SEEMS like what you claim Heather is doing to Maytag, you are actually doing to Heather. Just because you don’t come out and say BOYCOTT DOOCE doesnt mean that wont be the reaction. Is Dooce not a business that earns revenue from advertising? Dooce of course, cannot be compared to a multi billion dollar company – her business is more fragile. Dooce maintains her business by attracting readers to her blog. Wouldnt you say you are damaging HER business by accusing her of something like this? Irresponsibility with her words?? Arent her words all she has? Isnt that why she is in business? Are washers the only thing that Maytag has? I dont think so…maybe I am wrong.

    Granted, you don’t have the influence that she does, but you knew that responding to her tweet would cause this commotion…did you not? Yes, Heather is powerful, but not powerful enough to dodge the hate that you are now directing her way by basically calling her unAmerican.

    Good job though, waiting to pounce on one of Heather’s tweets to piggyback on some of her influence.

  238. Jean on August 28th, 2009 9:57 am

    And a PS. Anyone stupid enough to boycott a company over a twitter should be banned from the internet.

  239. Elizabeth on August 28th, 2009 9:59 am

    Dooce can say whatever she wants, whenever she wants, wherever she wants. No company is safe from product reviews on the internet. That is the beauty of it all. Maytag should be scared!! It will only make them better!

  240. Sally on August 28th, 2009 10:17 am

    I totally get where you’re coming from and I agree completely. With great power comes great responsibility and it seems Dooce *may* have let that slip in the heat of the moment. (or so I’m getting from the discussion. Personally, I gave up on her b/c her followers are SO rabid in their support or hatred of her, I got turned off. I just don’t care that much.)

    Anyway – I love your writing and follow regularly even though I don’t comment often. Thanks for being a source of reasonable debate amongst (mostly)reasonable adults.

  241. Amanda on August 28th, 2009 10:26 am

    Your balls are big and shiny and pretty.

  242. Sunshyn on August 28th, 2009 10:29 am

    So much for the idea of the lonely Maytag repairman… I stopped reading Dooce a long time ago, because my blog reading time is so limited, and I was sick of reading about constipation. Linda, I still read you. I think I will stick to Kenmore for my appliances.

  243. Callie on August 28th, 2009 10:30 am

    (By the way, I am not the same Callie that posted earlier. This is my first response to this post.)

    I would just like to say: meh. As has been said 1,000 times, we are all free to use our blogs to write about whatever we want, yadda yadda. I just wish people would use the same kind of energy to fight hunger and poverty and injustice that they use to discuss somebody’s broken washing machine.

  244. Maura on August 28th, 2009 10:31 am

    Seems to me that Whirlpool/Maytag isn’t the only one here having to do damage control. You’ve done a huge amount of it with this post and look at the spike in traffic. I’d say “well-played” but that would be a lie except for the very tangible results for your exposure.

    “Dude” above may not have done the most level-headed job of laying out the lapses in your argument, but the lapses are indeed there.

  245. Frannie on August 28th, 2009 10:35 am

    I found your blog several years ago, without much use of advertising. It was diaryland, for crying out loud. I was barely out of high school and now I’m 28. You were amusing, endearing, funny, and relatable. I can read your stories about your pregancies, and they are poignant, real and they even help me with my present pregnancy. You’re still all those things. Your site is not so grandiose, despite the fact that you write for numerous sites, and that is probably a good thing. I am glad you don’t link this site to your twitter. You still write for the sake of writing. Not for notoriety.
    I think having so many followers, you give up that intimacy of knowing exactly who your followers are. You have less people who blindly “hate” you. I mean, all you’re doing is sharing your life, and as much as you are knowledgable about marketing and social media, I commend you on not exploiting yourself. And that’s probably the smartest way, in my opinion, to go about it in blogging. I hope that readers do not pick sides, or start “hating” people they don’t even know, but learn something from this.

  246. MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt on August 28th, 2009 10:41 am

    What happened to the right of good old fashioned disagreeing? I happened to be on Heather’s side (for lack of better words, because were there really sides?). I loathe poor customer service and have been in her position, but you had the right to disagree…and seriously if someone is such a huge fan of a blog that they go on the attack for that person, well, I think they need to search for a few more problems to deal with in their own lives.

  247. wn on August 28th, 2009 10:42 am


  248. kalisa on August 28th, 2009 10:42 am

    LC & Elizabeth, I think you’re missing Linda’s point. In fact, you’re kind of proving it and you don’t even know it.

    Linda didn’t call Heather out for giving a negative product review, she actually called her out for NOT giving the review. For screaming DO NOT BUY MAYTAG without backing it up with any facts. And Linda most certainly did NOT do that to Heather, as proven by this post to back up her words.

    And if you read any of Linda’s tweets, you’d know that she most certainly wasn’t hoping for any sort of boycott of dooce. She merely pointed out to Heather that she wasn’t using social media to achieve consumer justice but exerting her influence to badmouth a company without any explanation. The two aren’t even remotely related.

  249. Ian on August 28th, 2009 10:58 am

    You know what’s an awesome product?

    Dyson. Customer service rocks too.


  250. Laura on August 28th, 2009 10:58 am

    Sundry, I give you credit for articulating your position well, as you do most things. But I completely disagree.

    Whether Dooce’s followers choose to buy a Maytag or not, choose to boycott a particular company, choose to buy a product she’s mentioned, whatever, is completely on them. They are not children. Their decisions are not her responsibility. This is really important – she is not responsible for their decisions. To put the onus on her is to completely infantilize her audience and their ability to make their own decisions. It’s the same issue I have when celebrities are chastised for their behavior because they are supposed to be “role models.” The behavior of others IS NOT HER PROBLEM.

    Yes, she has more influence and a wider audience than the average person. But that does not make her liable for their decisions. She is one person, who has made it more than clear over the years that she is a normal person with problems and weaknesses and issues. To insist that she has some power over others, and that she must wield it in the way that you deem appropriate, is unfair to her and unfair to her audience.

  251. Christina on August 28th, 2009 10:59 am

    Madness, I tell you, madness.

    Also, WEEEEEEEEEEEEE… this is what it feels like to go down one of those hot plastic slides really fast. It fucking hurts for days!!! OUCH!

    Linda, I think you are the best and I have tried to read Dooce’s blog off and on since she is referred to endlessly but she is not you and you are not her. That is what makes you groovy.

    Wha? Oh my point? No point I just like your blog and I thought WTF why not add to the shit storm!

  252. Karla on August 28th, 2009 11:00 am

    I have no problem with Dooce using her online forums to complain about Maytag. She doesn’t forfeit her right to express her opinion (or make a call to action) simply because she’s a megablogger/twitterer. Her followers aren’t sheep; they can decide for themselves if they have enough info on which to base their consumer choices. So many big corps are so indifferent about customer service – when did it become wrong to call them out on it – by whatever means are available?

  253. kalisa on August 28th, 2009 11:01 am

    Oh Laura I disagree completely. A person with that amount of influence can not scream “DO NOT BUY MAYTAG” and then assume no responsibility when the people listening to her boycott Maytag.

  254. gretchen on August 28th, 2009 11:02 am

    Somehow, I can’t picture men having this argument. Advil makes mommies mad. Nikon makes mommies mad. Airplanes make mommies mad. Burger King makes mommies mad. Now Maytag makes mommies mad.

    Then mommies get mad at other mommies for getting mad about getting mad.

    It’s embarrassing.

  255. Jonesy on August 28th, 2009 11:03 am

    Like you enjoy Free Speech, so should Dooce. Without strings. Regardless if she has 5 followers or 5 million – she’s an individual who’s personal opinion has garnered her some attention from her peers, and why should that opinion be censored because of the number of followers she has? Because YOU think so?

    Maybe some of this “responsibility” should fall on the shoulders of her audience. You know, the responsibility to THINK for themselves. To make decisions based on research, not just a few tweets. This sort of unthinking following is what got Germany into trouble isn’t it? One man didn’t terrorize millions. And if they do listen to her without question and her “call to action” that has absolutely zero to do with her. Unless she’s also some kind of internet hypnotist – in that case, I’d agree with you 100%. But she’s not. So I don’t.

    I think this whole debate is ludicrous – and exactly why mommybloggers get such bad names: they attack their own over petty matters. Over a corporation like MAYTAG – come on, there are more causes out there than defending a billion-dollar corporation for what actually seems like a legit gripe: a bum $1200 machine that needs several parts repaired, you can bet I’d be tweeting my ass off to think twice before giving your hard-earned money to said company. And you know why, because it’s my right! Ever heard the saying, “if Johnny jumped off a bridge, would you?”….maybe it’s time to revisit this sagacious idea of yore.

    The sad thing is if people actually developed their critical thinking skills people like you and Dooce wouldn’t have as many followers.

    PS – I don’t read Dooce, don’t care for her writing. Nor do I read any Mommybloggers. Just saw the brouhaha on twitter and had to exercise my personal, individual, divine right to Free Speech.

  256. Miss Britt on August 28th, 2009 11:03 am

    I think the speaker and the listener both bear responsibility.

    I don’t think the fact that you have stood up to discuss the speaker’s responsibility in this case is the same as removing all responsibility from the listener.

    They are two, separate issues.

  257. Laura on August 28th, 2009 11:04 am

    Also, re: this tweet of yours:

    “Would now be a bad time to mention this weird noise our dryer is making? I think there might be a sense of entitlement stuck inside it.”

    Would you please explain how expecting a brand new, $1000+ appliance to WORK FOR MORE THAN A WEEK equals a sense of entitlement? That seems really unnecessary.

  258. Stephanie Parnell on August 28th, 2009 11:07 am

    I wish there had of been some research done before she purchased the dryer to begin with…if she had of seen all of the negative history behind Maytag that so many people (mostly Dude) pointed out I doubt she would have purchased the expensive and yet notibly crappy product. If I was going to spend $1300 on a dryer I would be reading consumer reports and making daggon sure that it was worth the money.
    It’s like letting your dog crap on your front step and then when you step in it you kick the dog.

  259. Karla on August 28th, 2009 11:07 am

    Oh, and Mommybloggers ARENT journalists so the First Amendment argument is moot, IMO.

  260. Penny on August 28th, 2009 11:09 am

    God, I only wish I could have seen your tweets, Linda. Good for you for being harsh. You had an opinion and you let it fly. I hate that “let’s all be friends” mantra so many women try to advocate.

  261. kalisa on August 28th, 2009 11:09 am

    Everyone touting Heather’s right to free speech is forgetting one thing: Heather is a PROFESSIONAL BLOGGER. She makes her living by writing on the internet. She is no different from a professional journalist who makes their living by writing for a newspaper. And are they allowed to say whatever the hell they want as a matter of “free speech”? Absolutely not!

    Read Willikat’s comment above. If a journalist wrote what Dooce wrote w/out backing it up with facts – which is all Linda pointed out that Heather did – they would be sued. Free speech has nothing whatsoever to do with it.

  262. webswinger on August 28th, 2009 11:10 am

    You start your post by basically saying “I don’t have all the facts and I’m not really sure about a lot of what happened exactly ..” and then go on to write more than 10 paragraphs on the subject. Your point as stated above is basically “I disagree with her choice to call Maytag out in such a public fashion” but your entire blog post is about calling Heather out in you very own public fashion. Hello pot? Meet kettle.

    And to all the commenters posting about how you have such big balls … really? Besides sounding really gauche, does it really take a lot of “balls” for someone on the internet to talk about someone else on the internet? So yeah, check out my big balls posting about Linda on her blog. Nelson Mandela is an effing wuss compared to you and I, Linda.

  263. Gina on August 28th, 2009 11:19 am

    Kalisa (another mommy blogger),

    Heather is not like a journalist at all! The terms blogger and journalist, ESPECIALLY in Heather’s case are completely different. Heather is a WRITER who writes about her life – she is not a journalist who needs to back her opinions up with facts (Besides, had she said “been broken 2 weeks, leaking, bad customer service, etc. would we still be having this discussion?…Probably).

    BLOGGER is a relatively new term in the media world. They are NOT journalists. A journalist BLOGGING for a NEWS SITE is not a blogger. She does NOT have to justify anything!

  264. Felicia on August 28th, 2009 11:26 am

    It is laughable that you are comparing Dooce to a professional journalist. Two different arenas, two different audiences, two different…everything.

    You are giving bloggers, such as yourself, WAY TOO MUCH CREDIT.

  265. cbrks12 on August 28th, 2009 11:31 am

    Thanks Linda. Love your post.

  266. kalisa on August 28th, 2009 11:32 am

    Nope, I disagree. When you become a professional it changes everything, no matter what line of work you’re in.

    Kind of like a friend can help you move and not have any responsibility for the quality of your furniture. A professional mover is going to get insurance, because they are in fact responsible.

    Anyone can post a video with copyrighted content and get away with it. A professional filmmaker would be sued for doing so.

    You can pretty much come up with an example in any field.

    And I totally think we would not be having this discussion had Heather posted any background information. That was, in fact, Linda’s complaint.

  267. kalisa on August 28th, 2009 11:34 am

    Not bloggers such as myself, Felicia, PROFESSIONALS.

  268. kalisa on August 28th, 2009 11:41 am

    Part of me is fascinated by what this all says about the power of social media. Part of me just enjoys the hell out of a good debate. Thanks, Linda.

  269. Felicia on August 28th, 2009 11:45 am


    Professional what?

    Ok, so there are bloggers, professional bloggers and journalists who are all professionals. Still, professional bloggers and professional journalists are not the same line of work, and do not owe the same responsibilities to society at large.

    I guess you are saying that for a blogger to enter the realm of professional blogging is for their site to be endorsed by advertisers (the only way to do this is to have enough people enjoy your CANDIDNESS to visit your site often enough to get these advertisers’ attention). I don’t disagree with your definition of professional blogger. However, I stand by what I think is an obvious distinction between the responsibilities of a journalist vs. professional blogger.

    At the end of the day, we are talking about a washing machine. How much detail does one have to go into about the failings of the washer? I think the average can decipher, from Heather’s tweets that the washer was defective and she couldn’t get help to fix it. BIG FREAKING DEAL!

  270. Felicia on August 28th, 2009 11:48 am

    Oops, sorry…it was a dryer.

  271. Christine on August 28th, 2009 12:02 pm

    Linda/Sundry, you are one of my favorite bloggers and I’ve been reading of you since before I even knew who Dooce was. In fact I started reading right after Riley was born! That said, I’m all for freedom of speech. Did she use her influence on the internet to get a better response? Maybe. Do I have a problem with it? No. Frankly, if I made my decisions based on what Dooce twittered, I would have way bigger problems in my life than my choice of appliance. ‘Na mean?

    I totally understand the frustration between trying to diffuse bad PR and social media, especially since you come from marketing. It all comes down to personal responsibility and each person’s choice. I feel (and hooray! my overpriced law school education comes out!) that she has a right to say whatever the hell she wants. That’s all.

    Still hope we can be imaginary internet friends and that you have a lovely weekend.

  272. Jonesy on August 28th, 2009 12:12 pm

    BLOGGERS ARE NOT JOURNALISTS. Anyone can blog!!!! Have you read most of the blogs out there?! Certainly not print worthy.

    And if Dooce’s job is to blog, who are the employers? Advertisers, that’s who. And guess what people, advertisers don’t have to advertise on her site! Isn’t that incredible!

    And moreover, by Dooce not censoring herself she probably alienated a pretty big potential advertiser, wouldn’t you say? I think it would be worse if she kept her shitty experience to herself in the hopes of retaining or snagging a few dollars in ad revenue.

    GET A LIFE! THINK FOR YOURSELF! Woe’s the day when all the wittle sheep do everything their idols do. Seriously yo.

  273. Michelle on August 28th, 2009 12:45 pm

    I love your blog! I read it all the time, but this post just left a bad taste in my mouth. Just a few weeks ago you made an emotional post in response to Heather’s birth story, so now it just feels like you are picking on her.

    Also, I feel like she can twitter whatever she likes. If Maytag is not giving her good customer service they should be called out. If my friend or neighbor purchased a $1300 anything and didn’t receive good service I would want to know. Friends and acquaintances give each other product reviews all the time. I thought that was how companies gained customers and how they were held accountable.

  274. lisa-marie on August 28th, 2009 12:56 pm

    Beautifully put, Sundry!

  275. Karen Lee on August 28th, 2009 1:00 pm

    I think the reason your comments got to Heather is because she respects you…..otherwise, she would have just let it go.

  276. Andrea on August 28th, 2009 1:30 pm

    I think its weird that all responsibility is taken away from the readers/consumers in your view. Why do you assume that people are going to stop buying maytag because the dooce got mad at them? This isn’t some big responsibility she holds. This isn’t a critical issue she’s yelling about. Her damn washing maching broke and she got pissed and posted it on the internet. This is her entire job. She feeds her children by voicing her opinions and telling us stories about her life on the internet, but you want her to censor herself so people won’t run out and do everything she says? What are your feelings on her “Daily Style” postings? Does she have some huge responsibility to the makers of those products? what about all of the bath products and onesies she DOESN’T post about? Is she irresponsible for not representing them?
    You took this way too seriously. Let maytag deal with the fallout. I guaran-damn-tee it won’t hurt their business in any significant way. And maybe they’ll have better customer service in the future.

  277. Jess on August 28th, 2009 3:00 pm

    OK. I’ve been reading these comments since they started flowing in and I was not going to jump into this. I absolutely see both sides of this issue. I see why Heather did what she did and I don’t fault her for it. At the same time, I totally see why you took issue with the way she handled the situation. I think it’s great that we’re having a (for the most part) civil conversation about this, and while it may some silly to get into all this over someone’s washing machine, I agree that this is really a larger discussion about the power of social media and the responsibility that individual users have to watch what they say.

    But here’s what confuses me. The problem as you state it in your post is not that Heather complained publicly about Maytag–it’s that she did so on Twitter, without providing in-depth context.

    But then, in your response to Jon’s comment on this post, you tell him that no matter what Heather’s ultimate post on the subject says, you won’t change your mind on this. That you can envision that it was a crappy scenario but that doesn’t justify the way she handled it on Twitter.

    What that tells me is that Heather did provide enough context on Twitter. Her tweets told you everything you needed to know–there was a shitty situation with a broken washing machine, and Maytag didn’t handle it well, and as a result Heather would not recommend working with Maytag. You knew that from her tweets. You might not have known the exact details of how Maytag blew it, and we all had to wait for her post to find that out–but you know enough to know what to expect.

    That seems like enough context to me. Anyone who might be relying on Dooce to help them make informed decisions about what washing machine to purchase, unless they were planning to run out that same day to make that purchase, could easily wait a day or two for the detailed post to find out if the details of Heather’s experience merited the level of concern that her Tweets expressed.

    In the meantime, I actually think she chose a good approach. Instead of writing a blog post that ended in fury and anger and no resolution, leaving it in her archives to be accessed by anyone Googling “Maytag” for years in the future, she tweeted about it to give the company one last chance to resolve it, and then she wrote a nicer, friendlier, and more complete entry about the situation once it was resolved. I find that quite fair.

  278. Susan on August 28th, 2009 3:21 pm

    My 2 cents after reading Heather’s post:

    It would have been irresponsible of Heather to tweet what she did had she not already gone through proper channels and given Maytag a chance to fix the situation. She gave them that chance and they basically told her to suck it, so they get to reap what they sow.

  279. rosalicious on August 28th, 2009 3:29 pm

    I think if Dooce used Twitter more regularly and was more a part of the Twitter community, then maybe the whole Maytag sitch wouldn’t be so bad. But from what I can tell, she doesn’t regularly post, participate, RT, follow or whatever (I’m sure for good reason, but still).

    I don’t think I would have had any problem with the way she voiced her opinions had they been on her blog. But coming on to Twitter, which she rarely uses, to voice her strongly-capitalized opinion about Maytag, well, that just screamed I’M GOING TO GET YOU MAYTAG REVENGE, not a simple passing Twitter “complaint.”

    I don’t care who you are: vengeful doesn’t look good on anyone.

  280. Bridget on August 28th, 2009 4:06 pm

    Hm. I appreciate your post, Sundry, but, hm. You accused Dooce of slandering! Big deal. And as soon as she responded to this, you backed way down. Together with the fact that you, as well as many other bloggers, owe your existence to Dooce paving the way in this field, well…

    I totally appreciate criticism where it’s due, but it’s hard to take it seriously when it’s just “rant rant rant” without any constructive outcome. MommyMelee was also annoyed with Dooce’s tweets, but she suggested something positive, even if her suggestion was made while she was feeling angry.

    It’s easy to knock on someone else. It’s a lot harder to constructively solve a problem or make a positive change.

  281. Jennie on August 28th, 2009 4:33 pm

    I’m a reader of Dooce’s website but not a follower on Twitter, so I only became aware of this yesterday with her somewhat cryptic comments, and then today with the more complete story. The whole thing is sort of an eye-opener. I had no idea that Twitter was apparently taken so seriously by people. It’s TWITTER. Emphasis on the “twit”. The idea that people are expected to show an excessive level of responsibility while tweeting, or that it’s even possible to be irresponsible on Twitter – it’s all news to me. The idea that there is apparently some Dooce army out there taking orders from Heather Armstrong? Would be troubling if it was at all credible. A comment above references Dooce’s “hissyfit” – what the hell is Twitter for if not hissyfits? Jeez, I’m scared to see that there are so many people who seem to view fucking TWITTER as second only to the King James Bible as some sort of source for truth and enlightenment.

  282. Tree on August 28th, 2009 4:52 pm

    I have to disagree with you here as well. I am not, in particular, a fan of “Dooce,” but I cannot agree with your assertion that she acted irresponsibly.

    A blogger, is, in my opinion, a writer. A writer is an artist. An artist has no responsibility to the public. You can criticize her work based on its form, but how can you criticize its function? There is no function. Art for the sake of art.

    Still more baffling to me is the comment by Kalisa, that Dooce has increased responsibility because she is “professional.” She is compensated, true. But she is her own employer– meaning her only professional responsibility is to herself. If an artist sells a painting, does the patron also purchase the right to dictate what the next painting will be? Does the entire community get to dictate what the next painting will be just because the artist is now “professional”? Nope. If Dooce worked for Maytag, perhaps then her professional status would raise issues.

    In any case, what disturbs me about this whole discussion is that it smacks of anxiety about power. Anxiety about how much power Dooce has, specifically. Why should she use her power differently than others? Why should her power be more regulated and constrained? Because she is a mom? A woman? Because too many people will see her doing it? Is she being unladylike?

    Super yuck. You seem smart and cool, Linda, and I wish you success with your writing but I’m not hanging this particular work of art on my wall.

  283. Jules on August 28th, 2009 6:03 pm

    I’ve been reading your blog for over a year and hers for a short time. I continue to read yours faithfully for the bold and lively way you approach your subject matters. This is no exception. Keep up the honest and creative way you write. It’s much needed in this ever changing world we live in. Bravo!

  284. Michelle on August 28th, 2009 6:21 pm

    Beautifully written reply – thoroughly classy and spot-on.

    I think it is a rare person, indeed, who could retain a true sense of humility in the face of the adulation that Ms. Armstrong receives. The most compassionate thing anyone could do for her, IMO, would be to ignore her and her site altogether. I genuinely believe it would do her and her family a world of good to come down from #26!!! and back to reality. I was a regular reader of Ms. Armstrong’s blog some years ago, but her pervasive air of cooler-than-thou became too much for a thoroughly uncool Midwestern woman like myself. Am I envious of her success or her personally? Not in the least. I freely admit that I could never withstand that level of quasi-celebrity with any semblance of grace, and apparently, neither can she.

    I am especially disheartened to hear someone malign an American business – especially one based in Michigan (my home state). If you think times are tough in your area of our fair country, you ought to feel what it’s like here in the Great Lakes state. Was it irresponsible to make a blanket statement to boycott the company, given the following she has? You bet your sweet bippy it was.

    I, too, had trouble with a Maytag washer some years ago. (But then, I’ve also had trouble with my current Fisher & Paykel.) I am notorious for being a customer service stickler, so I have no shortage of sympathy for Ms. Armstrong, there. But when I had trouble, I dealt with it through the appropriate channels as best I could. It’s unfortunate that Ms. Armstrong’s line of work (”Everything that happens to me is BREAKING NEWS!”) combined with her ego led her away from those reasonable methods.

  285. Liz on August 28th, 2009 6:43 pm

    I really like both of you and frankly don’t give a whit about the whole Maytag thing but, I find it in extremely bad taste that you went so far out of your way to call out another blogger like that. I mean, agree or disagree w/ what she says, and us to you.

    I know by calling you out on calling people out it’s kind of hypocritical but it’s just so petty.

    Like I said, I really like your blog, but this kind of soured my stomach. As “classy” as the other readers here want to call your argument, you kind of picked it, no? And there’s nothing classy about that.

  286. ilva on August 28th, 2009 7:14 pm

    So you still can’t get over Dooce’s birth story,I see..I think this is the only reason that made you react this uncharacteristically and irrationally. I love reading you both, but this one clearly goes to Heather..

  287. Lesley on August 28th, 2009 7:21 pm

    Yeah, Liz, you’ve wagged your finger several times in the comment thread already about an blog post you couldn’t be bothered reading.


    For someone who claims she couldn’t get past the second paragraph and finds the whole thing a waste of time, shouldn’t you shut your pie hole and find something else to be a busybody about?

  288. Merideth on August 28th, 2009 7:54 pm

    Team Sundry, just because she’s a much better writer. Heather doesn’t have much to say if she’s not feeling sorry for herself or bragging about herself. It’s kind of gross.

    Anyone ever wonder what Heather would do if she had to actually spend real physical time with her legions of fans?

    She and Jon would make fun of 95 percent of them, I’m sure. Yeah, that’s right, Dooce fans. You’ve built the empire of two people who mock you endlessly behind your back.

  289. Jen on August 28th, 2009 9:14 pm

    Heh, I actually found your post on this via another post agreeing with you on Rancid Raves.

    But I gotta say…it’s TWITTER! It’s not exactly where I turn for my penetrating news insights or in-depth product reviews. It’s where people make funny or stupid or quirky or ranty wee posts.

    How many of the “1M followers” were actually at that moment poised on the brink of buying a Maytag? I’ve got to bet it’s a mighty small number. If there were others poised on the brink of thinking about getting one? Well, gosh, maybe they’ll google “Maytag washers” and see what the rest of the internets have to say.

    Or maybe it’s hard for me to imagine the “power” of an individual blogger/tweeter to a big old company.

  290. Kate (one of several, apparently) on August 28th, 2009 9:28 pm

    I think it’s pretty telling that Heather and Linda have both refrained from the ugly comments we’re seeing from some of their readers. It makes me sad and angry on both their behalfs; there’s just no need for it. This was simply a disagreement between two people, however public, it’s not like Linda set fire to Heather’s house, for God’s sake.

    Fortunately, this will blow over, and that’s what I’m looking forward to–particularly for your sake, Linda, since you seem to be getting the brunt of the vitriol.

  291. Anonymous on August 28th, 2009 9:48 pm

    I disagree.

    And you even point out why…

    “I decided to expand on what I wrote on Twitter simply because I felt like I wanted to express more than 140 characters would allow me to do.”

    Twitter (much like FB) doesn’t appear to be DESIGNED for “the whole story”. The whole story was days, weeks, months worth of bad experience culminating into those short simple twitter updates. Did she bash them MONTHS ago? No! She gave them time to step up and make it right.

    And if anyone is going to take her simple twitter update of… don’t buy Maytag… and acting upon ONLY that info is crazy. Will it happen? Possible. But in a matter of a short time ALL the details were explained. Any why shouldn’t people know about their experience?

    Honestly – after all the details were out there – I’d come to the same conclusion. Don’t buy Maytag! If that is how they take care of their customers, I don’t want to be one. For this exact same reason (personal experience) I won’t buy Samsung again! Customer service goes a long LONG way.

  292. moojoose on August 28th, 2009 9:54 pm

    Boy…if I didn’t love your writing before all of this, I do now. I hate reading comment after comment of everyone bashing Sundry and Team Sundry and Eat That, Sundry and so forth. I feel protective of my favorite blogger (Is that stalker-y and inappropriate? Probably.) and sincerely hope the flamewars stop soon.

    I have read you both, but always enjoyed you more and this whole thing clearly illuminated why: HUMANITY.

    You, Linda, you write as a person and with such honesty that sometimes it brings tears to my eyes. You don’t turn your humanity into a brand and churn out identical sounding posts and let your writing blur the lines and make it impossible to know how to continue being human.

    Hang in there and keep writing just as you only can do. It’s so great that your thoughts made everyone (for awhile at least) stop and use those things we usually have crammed up our respective sphincters.

  293. honeybecke on August 28th, 2009 9:59 pm

    jesus christ that was a lot of comments! my eyeballs hurt. interesting stuff.

  294. Maria on August 29th, 2009 3:51 am

    Joking around on Twitter about Team Dooce and Team Sundry is now, literally, my biggest regret since blogging in this community. I don’t think Dooce deserves an apology for any of the ways I’ve expressed my opinion about the way I perceived the situation.

    However, you deserve an apology. I’m really, unbelievably sorry for the couple of tweets mentioning your “throw down” with Heather. I had no idea people would take it literally, but I should have realized that.

    (I doubt my tweets actually contributed to the personal attacks / yucky doocedefending you’re experiencing, but I still feel gross.)

    (So, there.)

    (MAN I feel like a stalker for obsessing about this.)

    I’ve been blogging since 2002, so you’d think I’d permanently learn stuff about fandom/wank/etc. I guess I’m overly optimistic. Blown away that an adult can’t express her negative opinion about a public/pop culture figure (in a funny, witty way) without getting personally attacked.

    Also, was anyone else watching Twitter that afternoon? Sheesh. I saw dozens of twets like “someone buy that bitch a washer so she shuts the fuck up.” Wher’s the army after them?

    (Oh yeah, they were called out in the middle of a tweet in an obvious, deliberate attempt to drive hateful traffic toward them.)

    Stupid twitter.

    I hope this all blows over soon, and I’m glad to see you already just continuing to do your thing.

    The baby just bit the crap out of me. I think he’s trying to tell me to stop vomiting in your comments box. Again.

  295. erin on August 29th, 2009 4:12 am

    Well said post. I don’t do Twitter, so I’m not up on the whole controversy, but your post was enough for me to figure out what was going on. And you said it well.

  296. Krissa on August 29th, 2009 6:25 am

    I’m always fascinated when this kind of thing happens.

    A few months ago, you linked to a comment on a blog from Twitter – a comment, not the blog itself. And then some of your readers went over there, and oh the mean! The terrible, horrible, nasty, no good, very awful things they said to this blogger were astounding. I can only imagine the kind of email she got from that. And with the situation at hand now – a lot of comments about “who would do something based on a Tweet? Too far!” when clearly, many people will.

    I’ve enjoyed having the whole story now on Dooce’s site. In looking back, though, how different would this have been if she’d posted the first half of the story on her blog, up to the point on the phone with the stupid girl where she told her, “I’m taking this to Twitter,” and THEN tweeted about it? Which is what happened in real time, but the viewing audience over here in the sticks first got the Tweets, and then the story. A little bit of a cart, running down the road before the horse. (Please note, this is a metaphor and I am not in fact calling Dooce a horse.)
    I love that she consciously used her influence to get what she needed – and, I think, was entitled to. A brand new appliance that works is something we’re all entitled to if we bought it! It seems like she even purposefully blew the tweets out of proportion to get a calculated response. I love that she is using social media in such a way, with a purpose.

    But I agree with your stance. The contextless state in which the tweets went out were *my* problem with the whole thing. Of course there is a back story – but I would’ve liked the back story first, and then the fanning of the flames to get the job done. I love a good fire, when I know it’s burning.

  297. stacy on August 29th, 2009 6:37 am

    You make a good point about being careful about what we Twitter/post/blog about etc …. but I’m not sure this post was entirely deserved without knowing the whole story first hand, Heather’s side of the story that is.

    It’s actually this kind of back and forth stuff that often times gets misinterpreted that is making me reconsider being a part of this blogging community.

    That said, I have never purchased a new washing machine, never had one break (knock on wood, although mine makes strange noises, a lot), nor have I worked in marketing.

    I am glad to know that marketing departments are monitoring Twitter and social media outlets, it’s high time that customers get the service response they deserve.

  298. KB on August 29th, 2009 6:56 am

    This entire epic adventure has definitely turned me off from Twitter entirely. I thought it was meant to be a positive form of social media, and a quick transport for information? Anyway, a majority of the commenters have touched on many of the things I’ve felt having been drawn into the eye of this tornado yesterday while absentmindedly internet browsing at the office. So instead of saying more of the same, I want to shout out to my friendly, patient and kind folks at Apple for their recent round of amazing customer service. I purchased a product of theirs, couldn’t get it to work per the book’s instructions, scheduled a phone appointment for the next night and an Apple rep called me promptly at the time I scheduled, proceeding to spend an hour on the phone with me until my issues were resolved. I do realize there is a membership fee after a certain length of time to continue to access this service, but this was one night after my purchase so my call was free. Other corporate giants should be as effective if they wish to maintain continued success. And additionally, this outrage has definitely turned me off to dooce. Several years ago I loved, loved, loved reading her. She is such a clever writer. But lately, she rarely posts anything that interests me. And when I click on her page, before it loads I just wonder if I’m going to read about a)another dirty diaper, b)more money she’s spent on some housewares luxury or another or c)how she never sleeps. I agree with poster Merideth in that Heather wouldn’t mix well with many of her readers. In speaking for myself only, I doubt I’m interesting enough to keep her entertained!*I do like this blog. This is the first time I’ve read it, but will plan a revisit.

  299. Scattered Mom on August 29th, 2009 9:36 am

    I thought you were brave for calling what was happening for what it was. While I like Dooce occasionally, I agree that the sudden tweets calling out a company with no back story was a poor choice. What really left a bad taste in my mouth after reading Dooce’s account was that while on the phone with Maytag customer service she finally pulled the “do you know who I AM?” card and practically threatened Maytag with saying something on Twitter. The customer service girl told her it wouldn’t make a difference-I hope she still has her JOB.

    I believe that sort of behavior on the part of bloggers (famous or not) makes the rest of us look bad, and I resent it. It reminds me of the woman threatening the Crocs rep at Blog Her, and ruins our credibility.

  300. Mel on August 29th, 2009 9:41 am

    She wasn’t calling for a boycott, she was simply saying that she wouldn’t buy maytag if she were you. So she’s got an audience. So what? She can still say what she likes, just like you can misconstrue things as much as you like.

    Sorry your audience isn’t so big, and sorry your poetry isn’t as popular.

    “boycott” is a strong word. No where did she say “boycott” this company.

  301. Scattered Mom on August 29th, 2009 9:43 am

    Oh and Sundry, I had never heard of you before this, but you can bet I’m following you on Twitter and your blog now. :)

  302. Jessica on August 29th, 2009 10:01 am

    I think you make a good point, but I found this tweet to be really, really unfortunate.

    “Would now be a bad time to mention this weird noise our dryer is making? I think there might be a sense of entitlement stuck inside it.”

  303. sundry on August 29th, 2009 10:18 am

    Jessica: I totally agree that comment was over the line, and I actually emailed Heather on Thursday night to apologize for the snarky tone there, and also for using the word “slander” (which I also apologized publicly for via Twitter, it definitely wasn’t the right word).

    Still stand by the rest of it, though. Although now everyone seems to think I called her a bully.

  304. Krissa on August 29th, 2009 10:53 am

    Yes, you called her a bully AND ALSO you did it to gain readers. I mean, *obviously.*

  305. Jessica on August 29th, 2009 11:19 am

    @Sundry — that’s good to hear! I think you and Heather are both real nice ladies. I appreciate your blogging and entertaining us masses.

  306. Whippy's on August 29th, 2009 11:25 am

    This entire event has been so intriguing to me on so many levels.

    You both expressed your opinions & received responses both negative/positive. The fact that you both can do this, as women, in America is fortunate.

    My Mother, 77 yrs old, would never speak out about anything that either you or Dooce put out in public via blogs/Tweets. She is horrified that I blog & feels the same about anyone that does.

    Lastly, just imagine what all your kids will be like as a result of mothers, like you & Dooce, that freely express themselves … Hopefully they won’t accept status quo or unsatisfactory customer service from any business!!

    In the end … Good for both of you. Develop thick skin & carry on. You can’t please everybody & why would you want to spend your entire life doing that anyway? : )



  307. Tessa on August 29th, 2009 11:44 am

    I agree that the multiple DO NOT BUY MAYTAG tweets without the full story to go with it were irresponsible. (Once she finally posted the whole thing, I agree, it was a series of terrible customer service experiences, but…I certainly hope that she never has a bad experience with my company or any of yours.

    I also think it’s kind of funny that your posts involving laundry-related issues are always the ones that bring out the haters for you. Let’s go back to discussing fabric softener use on sheets!

  308. Marinka on August 29th, 2009 12:51 pm

    Heather has every right to vent her frustration on Twitter, or however she sees fit. she absolutely has the right to tweet “off with their heads!” but her followers, and I’m one of them, need to figure out for themselves whether they’re going to follow blindly or think it through.

    I saw part of the discussion last week and wasn’t motivated to do anything but have my laundry sent out to be done by someone else and delivered to me, all clean and folded.

  309. Kim's Korner on August 29th, 2009 1:07 pm

    I’m not on Twitter. I don’t tweet. I missed the whole thing and simply ended up here by following another thread the other night. Never been here before.

    I’m simply an unknown blogger. I have no ill will towards Sundry, but yes, like many others, I do read Dooce.

    I’m blown away by the whole ‘Team Sundry vs Team Dooce’ hatred going on and although my blog is read worldwide, I’m GLAD I’m not ‘popular’ enough to have enough fans/followers to make a ‘Team Anything’. Not if THIS is what being on a team involves. For either side.

    I’d just like to point out a couple of things, then I’ll be on my way back to obscurity.

    Perhaps Heather wasn’t putting out that tweet so EVERYONE would boycott Maytag. Heather is internet savy enough to know the power of the tool. PERHAPS … she was simply hoping the RIGHT person would read it.

    I know when I’ve received shitty customer service, and I feel I’m being mis-treated by the CSR, I will ask to speak to someone who I think WILL be able to solve my problem. Someone who understands. Someone who ‘gets it’. PERHAPS that’s what Heather was shooting for? To get the RIGHT person to finally hear her?

    There have only been two moments in my life where I’ve gone over a supervisor’s head. Two instances where I’ve contacted the ‘head honcho’ of a corporation. LARGE corporations.

    And you know what? Me, the lowly unknown blogger, got service. IMMEDIATELY. FROM THE PRESIDENT OF THE MAJOR ORGANIZATION.

    And I’m not even #26!

    I just needed the RIGHT person to hear my story. The person who actually had the power to FIX it. And it was fixed. Immediately.

    Also, this is not the first time something like this has been done. As perviously mentioned. We’ve all blogged or talked about bad service.

    Some of you may have heard or seen the YouTube video for United Breaks Guitars

    That was done by a local Halifax musician, who had flown United, had his guitar broken by baggage handlers and spent a YEAR dealing with United and their bad customer service over it.

    When I blogged about Dave’s Video he had just over 500,000 hits. Because the song struck a chord with consumers, it’s now up over 5 million.

    United finally got the message, and are compensating him for his guitar.

    Only AFTER going extremely public with his complaint.

    One man. Who wasn’t #26. But needed the RIGHT person to hear him.

    Should he NOT have used YouTube on the chance that ‘too many people’ would see it?

    It’s exactly what he should have used. IF after going the ‘original routes’ he didn’t get the satisfaction he deserved, SURE he shoud have!

    I don’t fault Heather for doing so either.

    The squeeky wheel gets the grease.

    Heather’s washing machine wheel wasn’t working … she squeeked (or Tweeted) LOUDLY … it’s now greased. And working.

    I say more power to her, and power to her readers (and yours) for having their own brains to think for themselves. And act accordingly.

    OK. Done. Going back to my Korner now.

  310. Kim's Korner on August 29th, 2009 1:10 pm

    Oops, sorry, the link for United Breaks Guitars didn’t come through for some reason. Those interested can find it here:


    I won’t bother reposting the link for my blog post on it. It’s not all that important to the original comment anyway ;-)

  311. Abby on August 29th, 2009 4:15 pm

    I’d love to say that if I had been in Heather’s shoes I would’ve taken the high road and not done what she did but … I’m human, and I know what it’s like to be sleep-deprived while caring for an infant.

    It’s WILD to me that this has been taken so far. I had no clue what was going on because I try avoid the Internet a few days a week, and this all blew up while I was away.

    However, perhaps many companies could learn a lesson here. They are only as good as their customer service because machines DO break occasionally, and they need to be prepared to deal with ticked-off customers when that happens. If Heather hadn’t been treated so poorly this would all be different, I’d venture to guess. An “I’m sorry, let’s try to fix things this way” goes a lot farther than an irritated sigh from a gum-chomping 20-year-old.

    That all being said your reply was eloquently stated. Maybe we should all remember that elementary-school rule – Time to learn to agree to disagree.

  312. Lesley on August 29th, 2009 5:13 pm

    To beat this dead horse a little more, I clicked on Dooce’s twitter followers and a good number seem to be spammers and bots. Parasites, if you will.

  313. kim on August 29th, 2009 5:54 pm

    I don’t understand the ones who defend Dooce’s right to post anything she wants but then slam you for what you’ve said. If it’s ok for Dooce, why isn’t it ok for you?

    And most of the ones who defend Dooce are doing so after she’s posted the backstory – which: duh – is why her tweets now make sense…the whole point of your comment was she had provided no backstory at that time.

    I read both of you, but you are my favorite blogger regardless.

    I will say it seems a bit self-serving for her to figuratively shake her finger at all of us because she “thank Mike Hamilton” saves her money for big purchases – when her site is known to produce upwards of $40,000/month in ad revenue for her – $1300 is chump change for her, no saving required.

    And she has an assistant – why couldn’t she run to the laundromat for her, it’s the kind of thing an assistant does: right? All this crap about dirty laundry piled up was ridiculous – she has friends/family as well – I think the idea that her house smelled like spoiled milk was a bit of creative writing, not at all her reality.

  314. Sweetney on August 29th, 2009 8:46 pm

    God, what to say after reading all of those comments? People never cease to amaze me. And I mean that both ways.

    I have no judgments to pass or points to argue, I merely wanted to say that, having been through the interweb wringer before myself, I’m sorry you’re having to go through it. The good news is, the attention span of the internet is REMARKABLY short.

    I have a lot of respect for you, and you’ve handled this with a lot of guts and grace. In a couple of days, this will be near ancient history, thank god. Until then, do what you can to find rest and peace, and know you are very loved.

  315. l on August 30th, 2009 4:00 am

    i hate this whole thing because it just shows how bitchy (mostly commenters are) and how quick everyone is to judge and bitch and hate on each other. seriously. you wonder what is wrong with this world? It took me about twenty reads of i hate dooce, im unfollowing her rah rah rah to get fed up with all of this. all. of. it. i enjoy both blogs, but rarely get involved because people are so so so quick to hate on each other.

    i seriously dont care about the situation we dont even have the brand maytag where I live. there are two sides to every story, but if someone wants to vent on twitter i dont see why its such an amazing whooo haa we hate either/both sides.

  316. jo-jo on August 30th, 2009 8:01 am

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I was really turned off my the numerous tweets and was disappointed in her “do you know who I am” take on the situation. Yes, she went through a shitty experience, and it really sucks, but man…..I don’t know, I really like to read Dooce and now I’m a little less in love with her for that. Which makes me sad.

    Also, I know its been said already, but you really do have majorly big balls. In the best way of course, mad props for being willing to ruffle the feathers of someone with so much pull. I love you even more for it!! :)

  317. Alyce on August 30th, 2009 9:20 am

    If I (joe blow american consumer) had a product that didn’t work and I was getting the runaround from customer service and no-help-technicians arriving at my house, I’d be pissed. Understandably so. But I would have handled it differently. And that’s where, Linda, you make the very best of points.

    See? I’d have just packed up my 10 loads of laundry and gone to the laundromat. Instead of spending 4 days doing the laundry, I’d have it done in 2 hours tops. Plus, I’d have been able to read a couple of old People magazines and sip on whatever cold coffee beverage I grabbed next door.

    In other words, I’d have dealt. I would not have started a national campaign to boycott anyone.

    If I had done that, I would have been mocked to kingdom come.

  318. Liz on August 30th, 2009 10:05 am

    Hey, @Leslie,

    There is more than one “Liz” – go figure it’s a common name. Please refrain from the insults before you think of that. I’d put up a link or something but I don’t have a page of my own. I’m the one who called Linda’s post “less than classy” – I’ve been a long time reader but I’ve never before commented.

    Now I’m really turned off this blog. Not only by the post, but by vicious community members like you, who see a common name and jump over everyone.

    Great community, Linda. Seems really in tune to the whole “jump down other women’s throats” kind of thing.

  319. Patsy on August 30th, 2009 10:26 am

    I followed a link from Pooponpeeps.com

    I was very impress by how you handled yourself.

    I do have to question WHY you want to remain friends with Heather. Is it clearly for aesthetics? I mean can you say you dislike Heather in public and still be received the way you have. Lets be honest. People who publicly say they dislike Dooce, are not going to be asked to speak at blogher.

  320. Patsy on August 30th, 2009 11:17 am

    Where did my comment go?

  321. Tammy on August 30th, 2009 1:15 pm

    I have read only a few of the other comments so forgive me if I am bleating on in the same vain.
    I read both you and Dooce’s blogs and love them both. I’m not an avid commenter, just a stalky type reader but I felt compelled to throw my tuppence worth in on this one.
    I think people are missing the bigger picture here. The fact is, Dooce went out and spent $1300 of her hard earned money (for a lot of people – a weeks salary) on a brand new washer. The expectation being that …it worked. It didn’t. She called Maytag to tell them and instead of apologising profusely and sending a Brand New appliance that DID work within a reasonable amount of time, she was given the run around…all the while Maytag holding on to her hard earned $1300. I would have lost my freaking mind.
    At what point did it become okay to passively accept terrible customer service? Yes, shit happens, and I certainly don’t think we should expect absolute perfection but once a problem is flagged it should at the very least be put right with as little disruption to the consumer who forked over their weeks salary, as possible. Could she have gone to the laundromat? Yeah. Should she have had to? NO.
    Social Media works both ways. Companies can also benefit from the good PR received which should in turn prompt them to not treat their customers as though they are a mere obstacle to raking in a ridiculous profit. If nothing else, maybe just maybe, Maytag and other companies like them will use this as motivation to bring back some form of decent customer service.
    I say Hoorah for Dooce and for getting it done!

  322. Janna on August 30th, 2009 2:00 pm

    I second Tammy, but I appreciate the great discussion. (I’ll ignore a few of the nastier comments I just happened to read.)

    But here’s my opinion:
    I’m a bit flabbergasted by all the sympathy here for Maytag. Who cares if Dooce was mean to Maytag? They sold her a sh*tty product and then refused to take responsibility. Perhaps it was an isolated incident, but I highly doubt it. She just happened to have the audience to get them to pay attention. I would have done it too if I could.

    I do have personal sympathy for the marketing folks at Maytag who I’m sure had a hell of time dealing with all the bad PR. However, again, I doubt that it’s just their bad luck that the one person who ever had a bad experience with their product and service was a blogger with a million twitter followers. The much more likely scenario is that this or similar has happened to lots and lots of people who just don’t happen to be famous. And while the folks at Maytag may have a big headache, the responsible thing for them to do is take a look at how a customer could have been treated so badly and make sure it doesn’t happen again.

    Will that happen? I don’t know. I fear that more likely Dooce will be sued for libel, just as Oprah was when she criticized beef.

    I also think a “national boycott” takes a lot more than a couple of tweets to organize. And unfortunately, while this has raised a bunch of conversation, I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t affect Maytag sales at all. THAT would be interesting info to add into the mix.

  323. kim on August 30th, 2009 5:29 pm

    I still want to print Team Sundry and Team Dooce shirts and sell them, since I did NOT win the megamillions. :(

  324. Lisa on August 30th, 2009 5:33 pm

    Are you kidding me?? Is this really something to debate about?? A twitter post?? Most likely venting from frustration because you have a toddler and newborn and don’t have time to F around with this crap?? Shame on this for being a discussion and shame on anyone who makes their purchasing decisions based on a twitter post.

  325. ade on August 30th, 2009 6:17 pm

    This is so ridiculous. If her experience helps any customer service department get their crap together, then I’m all for blogging and twittering. I’m SOOO sick and tired of calling huge companies, only to get transferred twenty billions times, told over and over again that my problem can’t be fixed by some snotty bored little bitch and hung up on. I have to say that I love what Dooce did. The service was ridiculous and Maytag deserved the bad press. I read her blog and thought “AWESOME” “WAY TO GO” “YOU TELL THEM!!!”

    This is my first time here…I don’t think I will come back.

  326. Stumpy on August 30th, 2009 7:23 pm

    Hey, you’re entitled to your opinion, but I wholly disagree that (totally paraphrasing it here) she needs to frakking watch it (rethink what she’s saying, etc) when she whines/vents just because she’s got followers/readers?

    Dude. That’s what I’d call to be limiting freedom of speech (or tweet or bitch in this case).

    I have a blog myself and have bitched about my husband’s car being broken into, on how the cops were dealing with it, etc, and oh well, if I had like 1 million followers, basically..I won’t be allowed to openly voice my frustration? Because I may be giving the local police department a ‘bad’ name?

    That’s discrimination. To tell people what they can or can’t write/bitch about based on the amount of people listening. My experience may be a REAL one and until the day comes when we’re actually honoring censorship, etc, if I ever had millions of followers, I do refuse to shut my mouth from bitching :)

    I don’t even know who she is (or you) until someone actually linked the story today.

  327. Laura on August 30th, 2009 8:11 pm

    @Stumpy – you have no idea what you’re talking about. Freedom of speech means you can say what you want without the government censoring you, not that you can say what you want with no consequences or any sense of responsibility. Similarly, discrimination is when someone is denied something, like a job, or a hotel room, or access to a water fountain, because they belong to a certain group, whether defined by race, gender, or religion, generally. It does not mean pointing out when someone is irresponsible.

  328. Julie on August 31st, 2009 5:46 am

    I believe Dooce totally reserves the right to express her frustration for the poor service she received. If folks choose to boycott a major corporation, so be it. She’s not “making” them do that, free will people, free will.

  329. alfredsmom on August 31st, 2009 6:17 am

    Wow- a lot of people are totally over-reacting here. Your post was mature and well thought out. You arent a bully, you are just expressing your opinion. I love both you and Dooce and I know you weren’t trying to cause any sort of throw down like some others have said. Silly commenters.

    BTW- good luck with your big triathlon! I think I remember you saying it is in Sept, just not sure when. So impressed with your stamina and determination.

  330. Liz on August 31st, 2009 7:32 am

    You know what gets me most about this whole situation? Outside of (what I consider) a very interesting conversation about marketing, internet responsibility, and customer service, this whole chorus of “BULLY!” or “JEALOUS!” or “HUGE BALLS OMG!” has gotten OUT of CONTROL. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen two people disagreeing spark such battle.

    Sad to see that two women openly disagreeing with each other causing such an uproar. I can’t help but feel if this was two men, it’d have boiled down to “Dude, you suck” “No, dude, YOU suck” “Eh, fuck you, dude*” and we all would have rolled our eyes and been spared the hassle of feeling like we had to ‘choose a side’ and expect someone to apologize for having the audacity to have voiced a differing opinion.

    ANYWAY: appreciate the clarifying post here, and have really enjoyed this conversation as it plays out. Lot’s of good things to talk about. Also: Bosch as got to be LOVING this whole shebang.

    *Men: Don’t email me. I know that you can argue more intelligently than that.

  331. Kizz on August 31st, 2009 8:25 am

    Now that all the info is out about it and we know that some of your interest comes from the perspective of a company who follows social media comments about its work I want to contribute to the conversation on that level. I hate bad customer service (who doesn’t?), it makes me seethe. It would anyway but, since I worked in customer service in a few different industries, I really try to approach the problem in a kind way and with an understanding approach to a worker who simply doesn’t have access to the tools to help me. I hated it when that was the case for me. Recently I was in a dust up with a communications company on behalf of my boss whose husband had recently died. They were clearly screwing her on a couple of levels and it was my job to fix it. The customer service was abominable. It was so bad that when I got to the highest level of it the supervisor yelled at me. Anyway, neither here nor there but to say that, as I read your argument, I thought about that experience and how poorly I (and my sweet boss) was treated and I tried to imagine if I would have vented on Twitter or Facebook or my blog (I don’t have Twitter, I try very hard not to put job things on the other two) if it had been a personal thing. I sure as heck blogged about Bank of America when the treated me like shit on a shingle personally. Honestly, regardless of how few or how many followers I had I don’t think I could have stopped myself, and I’m sure I wouldn’t have given the full story until I could calm down because it was so ridiculously bad I couldn’t think straight. The pull of the quick release would be too much.

    I don’t know if she has a responsibility to be more careful what she says given her job and her following. I do think that she wound up giving Maytag an opportunity for some good publicity and they took it. I also think that everyone (Dooce included) who said that calling her Do Not Buy tweet dangerous was undervaluing the intelligence of her readers has a point. And yet…so do you.

    You’re right, it’s a really interesting conversation.

  332. JennyM on August 31st, 2009 11:25 am

    @Laura (8:11 PM)– thank you. Jebus.

    Anyway, ah, the wonderful, horrible Internet.

  333. B on August 31st, 2009 12:44 pm

    All I can say is freedom of speech; someone can speak, but you don’t have to listen. Just because someone has more of a global audience, does that mean that they have to hold back from speaking their mind? Couldn’t agree with SKL more! It is the responsibility of the audience to remain educated. Either there is alot of truth to Heather’s posts, or there are pretty many ignorant ppl in the world…

  334. Lesley on August 31st, 2009 2:09 pm

    Liz, yes I was addressing you. Your writing voice and multiple comments have been unremarkably consistent: rude and ill-informed. Heavens, even Heather’s husband complimented Linda on her post and supported her right to engage in debate. Guess you missed that.

    Now, since you think ill of Linda and her readers, despite the fact that you couldn’t be bothered reading her post in its entirety or most of the comments, you’re welcome to change the channel. Or you can continue blathering away about a blog you’ve – to paraphrase – “never read and have no interest in.” It’s your time, waste it as you see fit.

  335. Robyn on August 31st, 2009 3:37 pm

    Don’t all you crazy ladies have some diapers to change or something? I can’t figure out why this even mattered to you, Linda, but hopefully Maytag will replace your appliances for looking out for them. That’s the only motivation I can see from this post.

  336. ginger on August 31st, 2009 6:25 pm

    I really wonder what it’s like for Heather, having so many people willing to “defend” her against any perceived slight? Can she call them off, or are they pretty much self-directed? (Not that I think she did much to call them off this time – I think she kinda stirred ‘em up, actually.)

  337. susan on August 31st, 2009 6:34 pm

    Arriving late to the party (as usual). As a person senstive to phrasing and tone, to *me* had she worded her Tweet just a little differently it may not have struck such a chord. Perhaps it would have been better received if she’d said “I WILL NEVER BUY MAYTAG AGAIN,” vs. “DON’T BUY MAYTAG.” One is a personal choice/rant, the other *could* be interpreted as a call to action. I can see how it rubbed some the wrong way.

  338. Lorrie on August 31st, 2009 9:30 pm

    [Lorrie, I'm sorry, I felt this comment was too much of a personal attack to stay posted here. - Linda]

  339. sundry on August 31st, 2009 9:47 pm

    I don’t normally close comments, but I think it’s time to do so on this entry. Thanks to everyone who shared their opinion while keeping things things civil.

  340. Pajamas and Coffee » Use Your Powers For Good, Dooce on September 21st, 2009 7:39 am

    [...] blogosphere, and board rooms of certain appliance companies. Other bloggers (including sundrymourning.com) questioned Armstrong’s use of influence and were the recipient of direct messages from [...]

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