Seven Miles Off Topic: Powerless? « Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

Seven Miles Off Topic: Powerless?

Seven Miles Off Topic: Powerless?

A few years back I was not very happy with the nine LaCie hard drives that I had purchased. Something like seven of them failed within months, two of those twice. I called and said, “I have a big on-line presence and I can hurt you. I want a full refund.” “Sorry, no. The best we can so is repair them.”

So I ran an item or two in a Bulletin and asked folks who had had problems with LaCie drives to e-mail me. Many did. I shared all of the negative comments via the Bulletin and forwarded the Bulletins to my contact at LaCie. In short order I had my refund….

So when I received the pass-along e-mail from friend Joan Masson, I just had to share it with you here. Note: Joanie sends me about a dozen each week. Most get deleting instantly especially the political ones. But this one will strike a chord with most of us.

Getting Even With United Airlines

A musician named Dave Carroll had difficulty with United Airlines. United apparently damaged his treasured Taylor guitar ($3500) during a flight. Dave spent over 9 months trying to get United to pay for damages caused by baggage handlers to his custom Taylor guitar. During his final exchange with the United Customer Relations Manager, he stated that he was left with no choice other than to create a music video for YouTube exposing their lack of cooperation.

The manager responded: “Good luck with that one, pal.”

So he posted a retaliatory video on YouTube. The video has since received over 10 million hits. United Airlines contacted the musician and attempted
settlement in exchange for pulling the video. Naturally his response was: “Good luck with that one, pal.”

Here’s a link to the video

The original video went totally viral with 11,764,355 views as of 6:10pm eastern time on Sunday, 4-8-12.

The song is cleverly written and the video is pretty darned cool. As for the song and the music, I love it. Dave Carroll comes of as a very nice young man. With brother Don, he is a member of a two man musical group, Sons of Maxwell which who performs both traditional Celtic folk music and original compositions with a pop-folk sound. While doing some on-line research I learned that the song we first posted on You Tube in July 2009; where was I? You can find lots more info and some great links on Wikipedia here.

There were two follow-up videos that you can find on the original You Tube link above. Most times that I visit You Tube I spend at least a half hour following and listening to the links.

The neatest thing of all is that Dave Carroll’s career got a huge boost from the media storm that followed the release of the video. This from his bio:

Dave Carroll is an award winning singer-songwriter, professional speaker and social media innovator based in Halifax, Nova Scotia Canada. He began his music career with his brother Don in the band Sons of Maxwell and has been enjoying success as a solo artist for the last two years. For two decades, Dave has charmed fans with his approach to music. His ability to extract the essence of a message and craft it into song is a rare gift that is attracting fans of all ages while his sense of humour and disarmingly warm stage presence makes each live experience a memorable one for audiences around the world.

Known as a master storyteller, Dave’s incredible talent was introduced to millions when his 2009 YouTube music video ‘United Breaks Guitars’ became a worldwide sensation. The song chronicled his experience in the customer service process with United Airlines. His creative use of social media to share that message has reached over 150 million people. United Breaks Guitars was named one of the five most important videos in Google’s History.

The United Breaks Guitars trilogy has awakened companies everywhere to the importance of focusing on the customer and on delivering exceptional customer experience. Dave Carroll is a musician with a message, demonstrating the power one voice can have in today’s socially driven world. Dave has become internationally famous as one of the world’s top media relations innovators & customer experience authorities. He is also widely sought after as a content creator & songwriter.

Dave is co-founder of; if you have a complaint against a company or corporation you may be able to have them resolved by clicking here.

If anyone heard of this in 2009 or is otherwise familiar with Dave or the group, please leave a comment and let us know.

32 comments to Seven Miles Off Topic: Powerless?

  • Louise Burky

    Right on gang! Only one of various incidents with many instruments, and various airlines.
    I no longer take mine anywhere. The worst was with a TSA agent. They dropped her oboe and she was on the way to play for a job. She sued.

    Stand up…Speak out….and fight back….DOES IT EVERY TIME!

  • I first watched that video in 2010… I loved it then, and still love it! That really is true, that everyone a person deals with is important. In strange ways, a person can get bit in the future for a bit of past rudeness, or helped in the future for a small act of kindness.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Reminds me of an anonymous quote I learned when I interviewed Johh K. Terres, editor of the massive Audubon Encyclopedia of North American birds years ago for a Bird Watcher’s Digest interview article: “Be kind to strangers; you may be entertaining an angel, unawares.”

  • Hello! I too was told that Lacie drives would not disappoint, but I’m inclined to listen to the voice of the professional. Mr Morris, which hard drives would you recommend? Which do you use? Many thanks, as always, for your help.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      As below, we use Western Digital stuff for portable backup and Seagate drives in our big Drobos. All have a perfect record (knock on wood).

  • Roger Dietrich

    I have purchased five Western Digital hard drives in the last few years and been very happy with them. I had read you comments on LaCie problems and have stayed away from them and warned friends also. Thanks for your advice.

  • David Policansky

    Thomas: What a great line from you, and not just for customer-service reps: “Every customer service rep ought to assume they are talking to someone important. They are.”

  • I must have missed your Bulletin on LaCie and had to learn about them the hard way. Scott Kelby trashed one of the airlines on his blog (millions of followers) after they refused to fix a simple problem last year. Of course, after getting thousands of e-mails they called him and wanted to make it right and he said no, he was finished with them. Every customer service rep ought to assume they are talking to someone important. They are.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Agree 100%. When we screw up here–rare as it is–we try to make folks happy fast.

  • Ted Willcox

    Thanks Artie. Great video. He’s a very talented young man.

  • David Policansky

    It is a cool video. The Internet and cell-phone cameras and videos have changed the world. I hope that includes changing the way big companies treat their customers. But I don’t understand what people are thinking when they check such valuable items. Surely United Airlines isn’t unique in the way it handles baggage. Who would check an heirloom flamenco guitar?


    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      When gate agents lie to you you are sometimes forced to do so. And even if you Fed-X stuff there is no guarantee of safety.

  • Nick Honig

    Yes Artie, Dave lives in my backyard. Could not miss that story as it was all over the local news paper at the time. Its indeed very clever and he kept everything on a very professional level. I loved it. Thanks for sharing.

  • Myer Bornstein

    Great video BTW I now use Western Digital and have had the same result with them as Larry Had two hard disks fail ( was able to get the picture off of them) and WD repalaced them without any hassle.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      All digital stuff fails on occasion. Good customer service goes a long way to restoring faith. Everyone needs to be sure to have multiple back-ups. But seven out of nine failures (including two twice) with no help from customer service was a bit too much for me….

  • Larry Coleman

    Artie, Although I have had good luck with the LaCie rugged drives. I have the highest regard of Western Digital. Whenever I have had a problem with a WD drive underwarrenty, they have shipped me a new one with ZERO hassle.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      We have been using Western Digital drives here for years and knock on wood, have never had a single failure.

  • Jack

    A follow video up to the Sons of Maxwell video by Taylor guitar gave info on carrying your musical instruments into the cabin rather than checkin luggage that was not widely acknowledged by the airlines. Check out Arthur Morris info about carry on camera info.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Yup. There are lots of tricks for trying to get your valuable stuff on planes, especially those little puddle jumpers…. Often simply asking nicely for help gets things done.

  • Charlie Young

    I was led to believe that LaCie was the Cadillac of external hard drives….I know better now.

    • Arthur Morris/BIRDS AS ART

      Obviously I have not used them in years but when I did they were beyond terrible. And so was there customer service.

  • Mike Magden

    Hi Artie,
    We are going to a balloon fest this weekend. Any shooting hints.

  • Artie – I did here of this a few years ago – won’t swear that it was 2009 – and fell in love with the tune and the video. Dave is one talented guy. More recently I heard about a young woman who organized online protests against her bank’s new fees and got a wave of support – and the bank backed down. They tried a new approach recently and ABC news interviewed her – she was going back to the ramparts. The internet is a powerful tool. On the other hand, there are also some decent companies and individuals out there – Henry Posner of B&H helped me out with a problem once and gained a devoted customer who has since spent thousands of dollars with the company. I had trouble with a hard drive (an 80 MB model as big as a brick, back in the day) and after some difficulty with an employee named Kelvin I got through to another man who promised to make it right. Wary of Kelvin’s broken promises in this regard, I announced my skepticism; the man said he was the owner and it would get fixed. When I called a week later to let Kelvin know the replacement had arrived I was informed by the woman who answered “Kelvin doesn’t work here anymore”. The airlines – and a lot of other businesses – could take a page from these honest folks.

  • John

    I’ve stayed away from all LaCie products ever since…..beware the web!

  • Andrea Boyle

    Wow, cool video…I don’t know how it got by me so long. Unfortunately, Dave’s isn’t the first incident with United that I’ve heard. I have two other friends who also lost valuable instruments by them. One was an old flamenco guitar that had been in his family for generations; The other was a handmade Sobol Cittern. Both friends were devastated with their losses. The best protection for such valuable instruments is the right case. Both friends used regular guitar cases. It cost them big time to take that chance… No wonder photgraphers keep their costly equipment with them as carry-ons.

    And good for you, Artie for pursuing your issue and getting it resolved! I never tire of these kinds of stories. Thanks!