Are You Advertising One Knee or Two?

Nothing beats the feeling of seeing that big, brown UPS truck roll up in front of my house. The UPS guy brings me great things. He used to bring me chrome when I first got my bike. Then he brought equipment to trick out my bows.

Now, the UPS god blesses me with gifts for my latest obsession: Iaido.

The package he delivered didn’t contain anything fancy, just a wooden practice sword that was shorter than my real blade so as not to poke holes in the ceiling and a pair of kneepads. The kneepads were quality ones with a nice slim profile and a better fit than what I’d found in the local sporting goods stores.

I brought my package of treasures to the office, followed by two cats who believe I order items just so they can have new boxes to sleep in. I sliced open the padded envelope that contained the kneepads… and did a double take.

Be Clear

My buddy Charlie was online at the time and he ended up sharing some of my surprise.

” WTF?” I asked him, stunned. “They don’t sell kneepads in PAIRS??” I couldn’t believe it. I shook the envelope in case I’d missed it and something fell out.

“What? Wait – You got ONE knee pad?”

“Yeah. One knee pad. I mean, damn, it’s a NICE kneepad… But don’t most people have TWO knees?”

“Were you shopping on”

I couldn’t help but laugh despite the fact that I had paid a pretty penny for these (this) snazzy pads (pad) and felt a little cheated.

I sent Charlie the link and told him to have a read. Maybe I had missed something in fine print or the company had made a mistake.

Searching for Clues

When writing your site content, say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t try to be clever; be clear. Don’t make clients read between the lines.

“Well, the lady in the picture is only wearing one kneepad.” Charlie pointed out. “I think that’s how they get you.” The more we looked at the content on the website, the more we saw all the hidden indicators.

I read the copy again. Not once did it mention pairs or pads. Now I had to buy the other pad and wait some more until delivery arrived. What good was just one kneepad?

“Wait,” Charlie sounded confused. “Are they seriously NOT sold in pairs? I can’t tell from the site either way.”

He thought I was joking. “Dude. They’re seriously not sold in pairs. Who just uses one?”

“Jeez. They obviously employ geniuses in their marketing department.”

Or crooks.

For the price I paid, you’d think I would’ve gotten a pair. I didn’t even want to add up how much the two pads cost together; that was just depressing. For that price, the kneepads should be lined in sable.

Speak Up or Hold Your Peace

“I’m going to tell them to change the content to read “Not Sold in Pairs”, I told Charlie. Nobody was going to get one over on Harry McLeod, and I rattled off an email to the company. It’s the least I could do. Some other poor sucker may go padless on one leg because of the same lack of clarity.

I’d like to give the company the benefit of the doubt. Maybe that little note was just an oversight.

The situation did make me wonder how many other people placed orders on websites thinking they were going to receive something and ended up disappointed because they received half or even something completely different.

The issue doesn’t bode well for a happy ending in my book. It’s sloppiness and not well thought out. Because of a simple lack of clarity, I most likely won’t order from that store again.

That is, after I receive my other pad.

Post by Agent X

Agent X is the name many mysterious and intriguing people take on when they guest post at our site. Their mission is to slip in like a thief in the night, leave you with entertaining, valuable and useful content, and slip away again - without getting caught.

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  1. Yowsers! What a horrible customer service experience. I suppose that’s why it’s always good to get people who know nothing about your site or service/product to do a test run and order stuff…

    Alex Fayles last blog post..Are you a Pooh-Bear?

  2. Hey, you’re not going to give us the address so we can go make fun of them? Damn. 😉 Good post – there are too many companies out there that do this, and many of them aren’t doing it by mere accident.

    Joel Falconers last blog post..Is Updated Technology Important to Productive Work?

  3. Jeremy Schutte says:

    That is seriously bad business – why not press for a full refund instead of pouring even more money into the hands of crooks?

    And are you going to let us in on the actual website so we can all go take a peek? Here in the comments they don’t get any link love.

    Jeremy Schuttes last blog post..Do You Know These 3 Secret Spots Where Pirates Dig for Treasure in the Stock Market?

  4. I’m with the gang. Post the link, Harry. (Now that you’ve received the second knee pad). They don’t deserve the bad press but they sure as hell don’t deserve nothing.

  5. Harry,

    I’ve had things like this happen before. Very frustrating, I agree.

    So did you really email them? What was the result of that? Odd web writing is fixable, but if the humans don’t care… eek.



    P.S. I’ve written posts on my lack of love for UPS. Interesting to hear it from a much cheerier perspective.

    Kellys last blog post..Inspiration Points: It’s You—Yes, YOU—Seeing the World at Dawn

  6. Well, that’s not very nice of them. We want the link. It DOES look like a very cool pad though. They sell armament accessories…and they fear no pointed retribution? Balls or sheer idiocy?

    Janice C Cartiers last blog post..Lolita, Lolita, Lo-lee-ta

  7. Ah, if that was me, I’d be calling the owner of the company (if it was a small company) or talking to a manager higher up to issue me the second knee pad– free.

    Expose the company here if you can’t get anywhere in your email with them. Today’s companies are listening to bloggers and making changes. After I had a beef with a bag of Tyson chicken and posted it on my blog, the company made some changes and improved the quality of their chicken parts.

  8. Bill Kanapaux says:

    So what are you saying here, I should put a disclaimer on my Sock Online Clearinghouse web site too? You can’t blame a guy for trying to double his profits.

    That pic is brilliant. I like the way her hand is draped over the other knee as if to suggest she’s just about to put the other one on.

    Bill Kanapauxs last blog post..Andre the Giant has a Posse – Do you?

  9. A single knee pad is like ordering a toothbrush without bristles.

    Writer Dads last blog post..On Being a Chooch

  10. “Were you shopping on”

    That caused a spit-take. You owe me a new keyboard :-p

  11. A good lesson about bad copywriting.

    It’s like opening a huge box of Cheerios and finding only two. (Hey, the box says it contains CheerioS …)

    Please let us know how the knee pad saga turns out!

  12. “It’s sloppiness and not well thought out. ”

    Either that, or it’s extremely well thought out: they’re really good kneepads, right? How long are they going to last you? Probably a really long time. Maybe they’ve decided they’d rather get twice the money from each customer, rather than hoping for referrals.

    Because there IS a chance that it wasn’t actually designed to rip people off I, personally, would speak with a manager/supervisor. But if they didn’t offer to ship me a second one for free, (including free shipping), I would return the one I purchased, and demand my money back (including shipping both ways), and then go buy a pair elsewhere, even if it cost me more money. Then, I would blog about the experience, complete with company name, and tell everyone I know to avoid them — and make sure they know I’m doing so.

  13. @ Carole – Extremely well thought out, perhaps. Whether it is or isn’t doesn’t matter – the lack of very relevant information is, I feel, dishonest and unethical. That’s just bad business, period. It’s not a question, to me, of whether they prefer twice the money versus referrals.

    For those who’ve asked, yes, Harry did write a letter of complaint to the site. It wasn’t acknowledged, answered or addressed. He bought the second kneepad (they’re really good knee-pads) but won’t be doing business there again, and he will be giving the business bad PR.

    Anyways, his story to tell… um, when his day begins 😉

  14. When will businesses learn?

    You screw someone over these days, the blogosphere will let the world know …

    Dave Navarros last blog post..Rock Your Business Tip #1: Choose Magnetic Contacts

  15. @ Everyone: Oh man! You guys are too funny this morning! Don’t worry, Dave, karma has gotten me and a few of these comments made me ruin my own keyboard! Specifically, Bill K’s Sock Online Clearinghouse. Actually, Bill, you could get away with that if you’re selling all those socks missing their other halves. Hmmm…so that’s where they’re all disappearing to.

    Oddly enough, the name of the company is CYA (can we say “Cover Your Ass”?). I did order the second pad and when it came yesterday I half expected to get a pair, but no, ’twas no mistake, only got one.

    They never replied to my email either. I did notice they do have a 90 day money back guarantee, but I do like them and haven’t seen them anywhere else.

  16. I’m thinking that the the reason why you received one knee pad was because it was a part of the sport.

    If you were to fight on both knees that would leave you vulnerable. So instead you would drop to your dominate leg.

  17. Well, Harry, I laughed at your expense when we were talking this over in real-time, and now I’m laughing at your expense again. Can’t help it. Sorry.

    This is actually one of the reasons I list features when I write the occasional sales letter, even though it’s sort of frowned upon. “List benefits, not features!” we’re always told. But a lot of people want to KNOW how long the book they’re ordering is. A lot of people want to KNOW if it’s printed on recycled paper. A lot people, strange as they may be, want to KNOW that knee pads actually come in pairs.

    This post is also a very strong illustration that when you’re in sales and advertising, you have to BE the customer. Step into the customer’s mind and read what he’s going to read, and try to worry about what he’s going to worry about. Gives you a whole different perspective.

    Thanks for writing this up, Harry, and giving others a chance to laugh, er…learn from this.

    PS…Oh! Just had an idea…perhaps you could send the company a notification that you’ve written a post here. Would be very interesting to see if they comment.

  18. @Ona: No, iaido requires many of it’s moves start from a full kneeling position. This came about as a means of defense should a samurai be attacked while relaxing in his own home.

    Iaido isn’t about the offensive, it’s all about the defensive. It’s the total opposite of European swordsmanship. If you’re a good samurai, you should never have to draw your sword at all. 😉

    @Charfish: Laugh it up, Fuzzball. 😛 But you’re right, benefits are good, but for stuff like this, the consumer really does need to see features.

  19. Harry, Charlie,

    Clearly you didn’t read *all* the features. Right there in the fine print it says, “Great for marriage proposals!”

    Ladies, you know what to buy your man next Febraury 14th….



    Kellys last blog post..Inspiration Points: It’s You—Yes, YOU—Seeing the World at Dawn

  20. @ Charlie –

    “Our kneepads come in pairs, so that you’re never searching which leg to put them on!”

    Features AND Benefits, dude.

  21. Jeeze Harry, haven’t you seen “Crouching Tiger”? Who needs 2 kneepads when you can fly 😀

  22. Michael Martine says:

    I suppose one would wear out faster than the other and then you’d want just one.

  23. And now the question for our little ER crowd 😉

    Does Jake Iaido because Harry learns it or it is the other way around?

  24. Harry was doing it before ER, if memory serves me.

  25. @ Martin – Hehehe, good question. I’ll answer yours with one of mine:

    Does Race play guitar because James does, or is it the other way around?

  26. Does he play better?

    Kellys last blog post..Summer Is a Great Time to… Cheat and Save Money!

  27. @ Kelly – It’s a fantasy world. That boy gets everything he wants, and then some. 😉

  28. I haven’t lurked since early on, but it certainly looked that way to me!

    Kellys last blog post..Summer Is a Great Time to… Cheat and Save Money!

  29. With a name like Race Tobin you have to be a rock star.

    And hey, you can stage-dive even without an audience ;-).

  30. @Martin: Write what you know, right?

    @Kelly: *ding ding ding* We have a winnah! Yes, your memory is correct, I started iaido right before Jake sprang into being.

    @RLD: I’ve seen it. I haven’t earned my rank in Wire Fu just yet 😉

    @Michael: Good point, never considered the wear and tear factor. If that’s the case, they should have an option for single or pair, with a reduced rate for the pair (buying in bulk and all that jazz).

  31. It’s a curse, this memory. 😉 Worse, is that everyone knows it about me, so if I forget something, folks feel slighted.

  32. @Harry – Wait, wait….not ALL martial artists fly? Crap, all my Magical Kung Fu lessons have gone straight down the toilet…

    RLD: Taekwondo Happinesss last blog post..A very short hiatus…

  33. *whispers* I can fly…

  34. I noticed that no one has written a review for the kneepad yet. It says their reviews are moderated, and perhaps the comment moderating guy is more responsive than the email reading guy.

    You know how they say “pair” of underwear? What do you get if you order 1 unit of underwear from this company?

    Hunter Nuttalls last blog post..The Abraham Simpson Guide To Being Miserable

  35. Graham Strong says:

    @Harry – Return them — it’s cheaper if you buy direct AND they give you a discount if you by two…

    BTW, it seems that it is an “orthopedic” knee pad, which may explain why it is only sold in singles.


    Graham Strongs last blog post..Find and Replace – Update!

  36. Graham Strong says:

    …and by “by two” of course I mean “buy two”, too.


    Graham Strongs last blog post..Find and Replace – Update!

  37. Urban Panther says:

    Wow! I can’t think of specific examples, but I know I have come across online shopping sites where I have to guess it such and such is included, where the such and such is critical. I just give up and leave. But, one knee pad? Wow!

    I LOVE courier deliveries. Yay! Gifts for me! I completely forget that I paid for my own gift.

    The Siamese also believes that all boxes are ordered just for him. The trick is to get him to wait for the box to be emptied.

    Urban Panthers last blog post..A sacred space

  38. @Graham: Too late. I like them too much. That’s the other thing about sales, once you have the item in your hands it’s easy to say fuhgeddaboudit. Your orthopedic guess might be right, I thought of that too. That was also my line of reasoning when I clicked “add to cart” . I figured if they were made for people with injuries, they’d be even better in the long run.

    @Panther: We are Siamese if you please… 🙂

  39. Harry,

    Now I can hear those little whiny voices in my head. TX.

    “We are Siamese, if you don’t please.”

    Oh, no.


    Kellys last blog post..Inspiration Points: It’s You—Yes, YOU—Seeing the World at Dawn

  40. In my book – that’s just down right deception. End of story.

    Bamboo Forests last blog post..Wikipedia: The Holy Grail

  41. My UPS guy brings me Fighter’s Formula vitamins, and Vita Muffins and looks darn hot in shorts. 🙂 Cho Pat straps, which we runners like to call knee bras are sold as one not a pair. Out of curiosity I checked a site offering these and it also does not specify single strap but I know this to be true. Your message is a good one that companies should not assume their readers know anything. I too would have assumed knee pads not pad.

    Karen Swims last blog post..Perception and Art

  42. I have had the wrong size come or the wrong color but not “only one” and today my daughter had her UPS package stolen from her front door and now can not use UPS any more- none of those nice packages at the door- gifts yes!

    I find I have to be very careful about ordering on line because there are a great many sites without clear easy to read information. I think it best to let the company know of your dissatisfaction about the mis information or in complete information. It is good to know – if they do nothing about the confusion well then let other’s know too.

    I think I will use the reference to knee pads for proposals of marriage in my workshops…laughing with you!

    Patricias last blog post..90 Seconds of Anger – 90 Seconds of Happiness

  43. @Patricia: I think Kelly was on to something about the marriage proposals, so let’s take it a step further, shall we?

    Three words: Valentine’s Day Sale


  44. Harry,
    Maybe I could get them as an ad on my blog! I’m laughing out loud!

    Patricias last blog post..90 Seconds of Anger – 90 Seconds of Happiness

  45. Don’t you always go down on the same knee? Or are you constantly down on both knees begging for mercy? Hence the need for two kneepads I guess….

    Urbane Lions last blog post..Gas light? What gas light?

  46. @Lion: Dem’s fightin’ words, Frenchie…

  47. As someone who writes online copy for a living, I work hard to make things like this clear. Otherwise we get angry customers calling and e-mailing, and then the Customer Service department gets mad at me.

    And trust me, I don’t want Customer Service mad at me (because I don’t want to have to take the calls myself).

    Joseph Z.s last blog post..Health News for the Week of 8/17/2008

  48. Harry: Watch it Buddy Boy…. I know Tai Chi and Kama Sutra….!

  49. Nice lead in story to make your point. 🙂

    I’d definitely have a picture and an accurate description if I were selling knee pads (or any other type of pad). All you’re doing by being vague is setting yourself up for wasted hours in the customer service department.

    Lindsays last blog post..9 Success Secrets from a Part-time Blogger Earning a Full-time Income

  50. Hello Everyone,

    I think I can bring some light into the mysterious reason why DonJoy packages these knee pads in singles. I’m the owner of CYA Protective Gear.

    I agree it seems a bit strange to only get one knee pad, but DonJoy is the largest knee brace manufacturer in the world and the Spider Pad Knee that you bought it is also a knee support as well as a knee pad. Not everyone needs support on both knees so that is why I’m guessing they are sold as singles.

    In 3 plus years of selling their products this is the first time this has come up and I apologize for any confusion and I will pass this on to the product manager at DonJoy on your behalf.

    I’ve also made the change our our site to clarify that these are sold as singles.

    If there is more we can do please let me know. I’ll do what I can to make it right.

    Thank you for bringing it to our attention.

    CYA Protective Gear

  51. @Jason: Hey! Thank you so much for your reply and attention, I really appreciate that. You’ve just changed my opinion of CYA and I think a followup post is in order 😉

    Knowing that the pads also provide extra support is great too. My Sensei, and others in my dojo, have knee problems and I’m sure they would love to know about this product, so I will be sure to spread the word around.

    Just seeing that you would take the time to post here is fantastic, that in itself says a lot.

  52. Jason,

    Good for you. You’re all class to come around and discuss it here.



  53. Jason,

    I’m a martial artist, and it’s important to me to support good companies. I’m going to shop your site for my next set of protective gear, because I now know that you listen to your customers’ needs. Plus, it looks like you have great products!

    RL David: Taekwondo Happinesss last blog post..Meditation for Monday: Humility

  54. Graham Strong says:

    Hey Harry,

    Thought of you last night. I’m in the middle of staining a new bench for the kids for putting on winter boots, storing hats, etc. In my flurry at Home Depot to get all the stuff I needed, I grabbed a bag of disposable gloves. When I dipped in to get a pair, I noticed that the huge 6 in the top right corner was followed by a small bit of writing that said “gloves” — not the six pairs an impulse buyer like me assumed with a quick look at the packaging.

    Yeah, I could have read the package more carefully. And hey, I would have bought them anyway. But I couldn’t help but feel a little cheated…



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