If you follow beauty brands and makeup influencers on Instagram, it’s likely you saw some social media hype back in 2017 about a device called the Z Potter. The company that makes it, Z Palette, calls it “a game-changing device that expertly separates your makeup from its original packaging and melts your lipsticks and concealers, saving you time, saving your makeup, and saving your body parts” (via ZPalette.com). What it essentially does, is use heat to help release pots of makeup (like eye shadow) from their original packaging so that you can create your own palettes. Sounds fun, no?
Plenty of people thought so. But the $85 price tag at the time gave many people pause because what they received in the mail when they ordered the device was pretty much just a hotplate. When customers left negative feedback on the brand’s social media accounts, the replies shocked fans of the company and everyone else scrolling their feeds and stumbling upon them. At the time, Seventeen covered the story with a headline that read “People Are Boycotting Z Palette for ‘Bullying’ Customers On Instagram.”
The pricy equipment wasn't loved by beauty fans
When people left comments questioning the price and the usefulness of Z Potter, whoever was running the brand’s social media accounts shot back with flat-out insults. At first commenters thought the account might be hacked, but it soon became clear that this was actually how the brand was dealing with customers (had they ever heard of a Public Relations professional?). Some of the most heinous clap-backs sent directly to commenters included: “You look like a cheap date, but we’re not messing with you,” “And we pass on you, bye, Felicia,” and “…It’s not a hotplate. Look up induction” (via Seventeen). Yikes!
In response, outraged customers took to social media. Instead of apologizing, the company justified their behavior in an Instagram statement, saying, “We understand feedback, we understand constructive criticism, we understand upset customers. And we deal with those in stride and we know these are all opportunities for us to deliver great customer service. We are not talking about those; we are talking about the viscous, mean-spirited comments from people who, in 99% of cases, haven’t even tried the Z Potter. They [sic] just commenting to jump on the band wagon, or be seen or heard, or get [sic] followers” (via Allure).
This didn’t go over well (shockingly), and customers boycotted while retailers dropped the brand. Years later, the company has lowered the price of Z Potter to $60, but customers haven’t forgotten the way Z Palette bit the hand that feeds it.
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