From a New Yorker article on Zappos:

One of these classes, held in a room called the Elvis Presley, happened to contain many bleary-eyed C.L.T. members who had just come from the graveyard shift, where Zappos’s basic assumption of human beings’ essential good nature sometimes rubs up against some uglier truths…[T]here’s the caller who, Zuniga said, will just “breathe kind of hard.” It turns out that there are limits to Zappos’s customer service: callers who truly overstep boundaries are sent to a top-secret eternal hold loop known internally as the Abyss.

That’s funny, but I wonder how they determined that this is the best way to deal with difficult customers. I’m sure they’ve tried a variety of methods, but it seems that admitting this infinite loop exists goes against their experience-based brand. If I were to call them and be put on hold by someone, I’d certainly fear they’ve given up hope for me.

Are there other companies with similar policies? Once you’ve been Abyssed, are you blacklisted?1 I’m sure the law of diminishing returns applies here, but I’d like to think that I’d be given another chance down the road, even if I’d abused my privilege.

  1. Recently, I watched an episode of House M.D. where a patient had Munchausen’s Disease, a disease where someone fakes an illness to receive attention. Once diagnosed, patients have a difficult time receiving care.