Lack of transparency with shipping delays is frustrating


#1

I’m currently trying to understand what is going on in the mind of this company right now.

In the first place, you have created a new product with no distributors besides the manufacturer itself. This means we are obligated to buy from you or go without.

This product was officially launched a few weeks back to much confusion. When I ordered my Soylent, it was not clear what the difference between a ‘customer’ and a ‘donor’ was. To place an order, I made a donation equivalent to the amount of Soylent I wanted to purchase. This was unusual, but I went along with it.

Now after ordering, I was not directed to input my address and information, but instead had to wait for a third party to respond to my order via email. This struck me as rather odd: usually the vendor you are buying from handles both the order and the shipping. Looking back, it should have been an early sign that something was not being disclosed upfront. I learned in time what that ‘something’ was, namely that I could expect to wait a full quarter of a year to receive my small order.

I am still waiting. My pitiful order has not even shipped yet, nor have I received the pitcher that is supposed to arrive three weeks in advance. Soylent has made it very clear that they are not at leisure to respond to each order on a case by case basis, so the customer will have a debit sitting on his account for (at current estimate) 3 months before he can expect to see his order moving forward. Oddly enough, the estimated wait time for re-orders is only 1-2 weeks. I imagine this is reflection of the fact that sometime in the next 2 or 3 months shipping will have caught up with demand, but that hardly helps those who are completely bewildered about what exactly is going on.

Now of course we are reminded that, if we would like to receive our product sooner, we should order a larger quantity. But seeing as Solyent is available nowhere else, and seeing as the manufacturer apparently cannot provide anything in the way of a ‘sample’ to prospective customers (suppose one orders three months’ supply of Soylent, only to suffer an allergic reaction to the first sip; I do not even want to fathom what the process for returning this stuff would be – probably just easier to resell it on Ebay at a markup because of reasonable shipping times), it is difficult to justify ordering a large supply of something you’ve never even tasted before. Moreover, this is simply patronizing, because it boils down to: well if you wanted it sooner you should have bought more of it! Ridiculous.

I have rearranged my diet to include Soylent, but having yet to receive so much as an idea of when I can expect my first order, I’ve since gone back to what I ate before. It is ludicrous to me that the founders can ramble on about charity and ‘feeding the world’ with Soylent, yet fail to meet the first wave of actual customer demand on a responsible timetable.

The lack of transparency with this entire affair only serves to make it more frustrating. I do not understand why the simple act of ordering something and getting it in the mail within 5-8 business days has become such a hassle. If Soylent knew ahead of time that it would not be able to meet demand for its product then it should have curtailed new orders preemptively. I’ve purchased cars that are not even finished being built yet and gotten a shorter turnaround than this. Either correct whatever deficiencies are impeding new shipments immediately, or be prepared to deal with a tide of agitated customers.


#2

I think rather than the lack of transparency on their part, it was the lack of research on your part. Just my opinion, since I ordered a few months ago, and knew exactly what to expect, why I had to go through a “3rd party” site to give them my information. I also knew the time frame was going to be a while with 30000 customers, and a delayed rice protein shipment I mean you have already rearranged your diet, before getting the product? If you don’t understand the reason for shipping the bigger orders first, there are many threads about it, and the search function is able to find those for you.

You do always have the option of making your own (the soylent team has been kind enough to give you the exact info you need to DIY), and you also can get your money back if you are not satisfied with how your current situation is playing out.


#3

And if you want a refund, you can always email mailto:info@soylent.me.
You can then place your order when there is little to no wait for customers, if you desire.


#4

A wall of text to whine. I really don’t get it. You can’t expect a new company to operate like amazon from the beginning.

Don’t like it, get your money back. Make your own.

Seriously. I have no sympathy for these posts.


#5

I’ll try to answer some of your questions directly:

When did you order? If it was during the initial campaign (around a year ago), you are a “backer” - you donated some money to a start-up, and as a reward, they are shipping you some amount of their product once it is ramped up to shipping capacity.

If it was after the campaign, but before April 25th, it’s a little fuzzier, but I think the best term is “pre-order”. You reserved your spot in line, purchasing a product to be delivered once the product was launched.

If you ordered after April 25th, you’re a customer, but in line behind many others as far as shipping goes. You imply going through backerkit though, so I’m pretty sure this isn’t you.

Backerkit handled some shipping/fulfillment during the campaign/preorder stage because they went through Crowdtilt for their crowdfunding campaign - backerkit is a pretty common fulfilment method. I’d assume the stuck with it into the pre-order phase simply because it worked, and there were more functionally important things to focus on. As I understand it, they are (and may have finished) transitioning to a more tightly coupled payment/logistics method of their own now.

I can’t really speak to this, not knowing exactly when you ordered. Yes, there were delays at various points, and yes, we are all disappointed that they happened. Honestly, that horse has been beaten into a fine mist at this point. But while some may argue as to the promptness/rationale/etc of Rosa Labs’ disclosures, it’s certainly a fact that they did release this information. Have you been following blog.soylent.me? I believe that during the pre-order phase, it was listed on the main site as the primary means of information sharing.

They’ve made it a point to structure their shipping logistics such that re-orders are indeed given priority. This has been detailed throughout multiple shipping updates on the blog, as well as throughout the forums. The rationale given has been that, due to the nature of Soylent, it is imperative that users not be forced to interrupt their supply once they have begun.

This is similar to the last point - larger orders are being given priority on the logic that they will be able to subsist for longer without requiring a re-order, and thus by shipping large orders first, the shipping queue is more easily able to scale up (by the time re-orders start coming in, shipping capacity will have warmed up to meet the higher demand).

To be clear, ordering more Soylent no longer has any bearing on delivery. Prior to the 25th, multiple orders were consolidated, leading to the effect you describe, but following the lockdown date, this is no longer the case.

It is possible you may have drastically misunderstood the scope of this company – Rosa Labs is not a large, established business. In fact, they didn’t even exist a year ago, and their initial customer projections were less than a tenth of the interest they faced in their very first month.

The reason “the simple act” of getting something in the mail has become a hassle is that they have tens of thousands of things to put in the mail, and only a fledgling distribution network with which to do it.

That is in fact what they are now doing – the purpose of the longer lead time on new orders is to deal with their current enormous backlog of product prior to handling any further demand.

Again, scale matters greatly here. I’m certain that if the manufacturer of that car had only a single factory, had only just signed on with a reseller, and had tens of thousands more cars ahead of yours to deliver, the turnaround would have been just as greatly affected. At this point (as far as we know), it is not so much that anything is “impeding” shipment, as much as there is an awful lot to ship, and I doubt they have on staff a jolly fat man with a red suit and some reindeer to deliver thousands of boxes across the country in a single night :wink:


I’ll acknowledge that this is a good point, and an unfortunate effect of the current size-based shipping model. However, unless you ordered very early on in the original campaign, it is doubtful that you would be much closer to the start of the line even if date-based shipping were being undertaken. Again, it really just comes down to the sheer volume of product being shipped, combined with the fact that this is a small startup, simply lacking in raw shipping muscle.


#6

But my sooooylent isn’t heeeere yet! Why aren’t they breaking the laws of nature to transport my goods to me???
So FRUSTRATING!! I am so mad!! I even Rearranged my Diet!!!


#7

If you’re only waiting a quarter of a year for Soylent, you have a VERY short wait time. I’ve been waiting since September, and others have been waiting since last May. So, sorry but I have no sympathy for you right now. Especially since any research at all on your part would have addressed all your complaints.


#8

Yeah, I’ve been waiting with a one month order for over a year. I’m just glad they’re finally shipping product!


#9

shadow, if i ever meet you in person, I am buying you a beer. Your patience and ability to answer these child like posts is commendable.

tip of the hat to you sir.


#10

You people…innovators?


#11

Or better, we could share a frosty mug of Soylent, yeah? :wink:

And thanks. I figure there’s always the chance someone has legitimately had a drastic misunderstanding of what is going on – poor research/planning/phrasing aside, this is the right place to ask “what’s going on”, so I try to give the benefit of the doubt :smiley:


#12

This forum needs a “Donate a day of Soylent to [username]” button.


#13

This is an great idea. If it could somehow be linked to your soylent.me account, and you could maintain a balance of soylent days and use them as currency. Have 7 days of soylent on your account, and you can cash out for a weeks worth. Then you would have roommates being like “Yo I’ll give you a day of soylent if you take out the trash tonight.” I.E. I would be saying that to my roommates. Derivative currencies are awesome.


#14

I moved a post to an existing topic: Official Soylent Shipping/Fulfillment Thread


#15

Shipping/fulfillment discussion should go in the official thread.

Missed this thread earlier, otherwise would have moved OP to the official thread, but I think OP’s concerns were pretty comprehensively addressed by @shadowhawkxx, so I’m just going to close it and invite everyone to continue the discussion at will on the official thread.


#16