UPDATE: I had two more live chats with Amazon just to confirm that the information I had received in my first live chat (12 hours earlier) was correct. The transcripts of those conversations follow the first live chat transcript, below.
In my first live chat, with Deepak, I was told that indeed the federal government has ordered (maybe pressured?) Amazon to remove the Confederate flag from their site. In the second live chat, with Jessica, I received no answer at all. Jessica claimed to not know the answer, but would forward my question, to which I would receive an answer by email. In the third live chat, with Adriana, I was simply hung up on when I asked the question,”Why don’t you have the Confederate flag? You used to have it.”
I can only conclude that within the past 12 hours Amazon has instructed its customer service reps to not answer any questions regarding the Confederate flag, to forward those questions to corporate, which will email a response, for which I am eagerly awaiting. I fully expect Amazon’s answer to be a whitewashed, canned response. I will post that answer as soon as I receive it.
By Thomas Madison
I am posting this in the “For Whatever It Is Worth” category. This is why. I was an immediate skeptic when I saw an article by Infowars claiming that the federal government forced Amazon to remove all Confederate flags for sale from their website. As unbelievable as I found that claim, I was intrigued enough to watch the accompanying video (below), and grew even more skeptical when I saw the source of the video was Godlike Productions, a well-known conspiracy theory site.
In the audio, a telephone conversation between an Amazon customer service rep and a customer looking for a Confederate flag, the rep tells the customer at first that there are no Confederate flags for sale because they have been found to be offensive by the decision makers at Amazon and promptly removed. She admits later that the real reason for removal of the flag was a federal government order to remove the flag.
Still skeptical, I vetted the story further. I began a search on the story and of course found snopes pretty quickly, which denies that there is any truth to the story. That told me that the story was probably straight up legit, as I consider snopes a biased left wing mouthpiece. Snopes claims the video is bunk because Amazon didn’t ask for an email address in the video, which they did when snopes called Amazon customer service, who demanded an email address to proceed. So, I decided to vet the story the best way I know how. I initiated a live chat with an Amazon customer service rep. Amazon did NOT ask me for an email address, as snopes insists is the true measure of legitimacy. I believe my email came up automatically as a part of my account information when I began the live chat.
My conversation with the Amazon rep was strangely similar to the telephone conversation in the video. The transcript of our conversation follows the video.
So, as far as I can tell the story is 100% legit. It appears that the federal government has forced or pressured Amazon to remove the Confederate flag from their website. Amazon still sells books and other items related to the Confederate flag. They just no longer sell the flag itself.
You are now connected to Deepak from Amazon.com
Me: I would like to purchase an item I can’t find
Deepak: Hello, my name is Deepak. I’m here to help you today.
Deepak: I’m sorry for the trouble you are facing in finding an item which you want to order.
Can you please provide me the name of the item which you want to order?
Me: I am looking for a Confederate flag.
Deepak: I searched some flags by the name of “Confederate flag” and found the following flags on the website. You can click on the following link and can check about the available ones:
http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?…(See full link)
Me: There are no Confederate flags there. Just American flags and books about the Confederate flag. I want an actual Confederate flag. You used to have them.
Deepak: I’d like to inform you that we do not have the “Confederate flag” in stock as of now and we are not sure when it will be available on the website again. But you need not to worry, I’m writing a followup for this and will keep a check on the availability of this item and will let you know via email once I find this item in stock again on Amazon.com website.
Me: What happened to the ones you had?
Deepak: They have been sold out and we don;t have that in stock anymore.
Me: Are you sure?
Deepak: Yes, as they are not available on the website so that is possible that they might have been sold out.
Me: I just looked it up and saw a news article that said the federal government forced Amazon to stop selling the Confederate flag. Is that right?
Deepak: Let me check again Please allow me a minute.
Deepak: Thank you for waiting.
I appreciate your patience.
I’d like to inform you that Amazon acted independently to remove confederate flag merchandise. Some of the customers were offended by a listing on Amazon.com for a Confederate flag. Thus, Amazon acted independently to remove confederate flag merchandise.
Me: That is horrible. I will never shop at Amazon again. I am offended by a lot of things. I am not demanding that Amazon remove any of them.
Deepak: I apologies for this, and I appreciate your feedback and have forwarded it to the correct team internally.
Me: Please let the decision makers know that if they choose to cater to a small, vocal minority then they are only hurting themselves. That small minority did not make Amazon what it is.
Deepak: Please understand that the government is not allowing us to sell this Confederate flag. You can also check about this news on the following link on Google:
https://www.google.co.in/search?q=feder…(See full link)
Me: I am offended by rap music. Please remove this category immediately…. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_…(See full link)
So, it is true, the US federal government forced Amazon to remove the Confederate flag, correct?
Deepak: I can forward your feedback from my side to the appropriate team but please understand that Amazon ordered by the federal government to stop selling Confederate flag so we are unable to sell it. Yes, it is correct.
Me: Thank you, Deepak.
Deepak: You’re welcome.
Is there anything else I can do for you today?
Me: Amazon should have just said NO!
Deepak: We can not go against the Government and we have to accept their decisions.
Me: How could they force you?
Deepak: I’m sorry but I don’t have more information about this. I’ll forward your feedback to the appropriate team for the same.
Me: Thank you.
Deepak: You;re welcome.