It seems that the website poetry.com now belongs to the self-publishing company Lulu, but about ten years ago it belonged to the so-called National Library of Poetry. Any poetry you wrote and posted on the site would be automatically hailed as genius and worthy of inclusion in their annual poetry anthology, which of course you had to buy. They also had the option of writing a poem on the website and having it printed on a piece of merchandise, such as a coffee cup.
I was in the market for something to give my stepdad for Father's Day; this was either 1999 or 2000, he hadn't been my stepdad for very long. I thought it'd be neat to write a poem for him and have it printed on a coffee cup that he could keep on his desk at work or something, so I composed a schlocky little number (I call it that in hindsight, at the time I thought it was good) and placed my order. I was ordering it in early May, and the confirmation email stated that I would receive the cup within six to eight weeks, plenty of time.
Didn't come. I sent off an inquiry and waited. I wasn't too concerned because my stepdad's birthday is in late June, so I got him something else for Father's Day and figured that the cup would be his birthday gift.
June finished itself out and still no cup. I email again. I am not getting responses to any of my emails. The bank statement has meanwhile proven that I was indeed charged for the cup.
Finally, pissed, I printed out the confirmation email and both of the emails that I had sent, highlighted dates and information, and mailed it with a letter saying that if I did not either receive a refund or my cup by the end of July, I was calling a lawyer. I was only 21 years old and didn't have the means to hire a lawyer, but they didn't need to know that.
I got the cup, finally, but no other contact from them. No letter of apology, no responses to my email, nothing. I suspect this kind of behavior may have something to do with why they appear to have gone out of business. Was it really so hard to just send me the thing I paid for in the first place?
I've got other stories, but I'll save them for another time. :)