When you live in a city you get used to poor retail service. You get used to attitude.

But what happens when your retail experience becomes big news in social media – for all the wrong reasons? Retailer GASP Jeans is finding out.

Shopping over the weekend with friends, Keara O’Neil experienced the style of “customer service” that is all too common in many of our retail spaces. She then emailed the GASP Jeans customer service team to describe her experience to which she received a response which has since “gone viral”.

Here is the “complaint” email:

Complaint

And here is the response: 

Response

Now – this is clearly not good customer or brand management from GASP Jeans. But these emails have been quickly transformed not just into links or stories, but “social objects”. So even if websites are modified or Facebook pages closed off, screen captures such as these can be taken shared and promoted via many other types of social media – for example, this copy of the email was passed on via Twitter with a link to dropbox.

And the “conversation” on Twitter is spurning a completely different style of brand engagement.

But while #GASPfail continues on its merry way, the question really is – where is the follow-on response from GASP Jeans? One small incident has been amplified across the web and the PR and management team are nowhere to be seen.

Could this happen to your brand? What would you do? Do you have some crisis planning in place? Maybe you should.