Note to vendors:

Never, ever reply to an angry librarian who you have clearly offended with something like this:

“Dear Ms. Rogers, I am sorry that you were having such a bad day when you responded to my email.”

It is, quite simply, unacceptable.

The American Chemical Society has a lot to answer for.

Fortunately, this did not come from my primary contact at ACS, and my sales rep is responsive, understanding, and does a good job smoothing ruffled feathers. But I’ve made it clear, and i believe he understands: If you want to sell me an expensive product, you better damn well make sure I want to do business with your company. This? THIS IS NOT THE WAY TO DO THAT.


  1. Horrible service, but to play devil’s advocate for a moment, what can you (or anyone) do about it? ACS knows where they have us, so when they play nice, it’s purely a courtesy and to make their own day more pleasant. I don’t like this state of affairs, but it does seem unavoidable.


  2. The reply email, after I indicated that I was disappointed in the level of professionalism being shown by ACS employees, replied that, essentially, I started it by being mean, and that I was receiving these replies as professional courtesies since the sender isn’t obligated to reply to “offensive or insulting” communications.

    Fuck me.

    As for what anyone can do about it, well, I’ve communicated clearly with my sales representative that I am an on-the-fence customer for budgetary reasons, and customer service is one of the factors that can push or pull me off my fence. He understood.


  3. I don’t disagree with either of you, really, but the salesperson understanding you isn’t going to change their stance. They know you have to buy their journals or face a)insurrection from your faculty and/or b)a risk to their accreditation. Put differently: inelastic markets really suck, and we swim in them. In your shoes, I’d be just as irritated and would fire back as you did, just to be clear about that.

    My only point is that ACS is absolutely bottom of the barrel when it comes to bad publishers. Elsevier et al. are kind and cuddly by comparison, because they lack the accreditation and membership cudgels. PRISM was a shot so far below the belt as to be nearly a self-parody, so how a publisher like that could go any lower … well, I don’t want to tempt fate!


  4. In light of how the ACS doubled the price of their journals package, they should feel we haven’t yet had the courage to cancel all subscriptions to their journals.


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