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.