OfficeMax Apologizes for Insensitive Letter Address

A promotional letter from OfficeMax identified a customer by name and a line under it: "Daughter Killed in a Car Crash." The Seays' daughter, 17 years old, was killed in a car accident last year, so the information is accurate, but you might imagine how upset the family was to read such an address.


When Seay contacted OfficeMax's call center, a manager denied that he received a letter with that address. Later, OfficeMax told the LA Times that the mistake "is a result of a mailing list rented through a third-party provider," but the company is still trying to sort out how this happened.

At this point, Seay is asking for an apology from the CEO and an explanation of how this happened. He said to the LA Times, "Why do they have that? What do they need that for? How she died, when she died? It's not really personal, but looking at them, it is. That's not something they would ever need."

Discussion Starters:

  • How do you think this happened? Who is responsible?
  • What should OfficeMax do now? Do you think an apology from the CEO is appropriate? One writer noted that no one from the company called the family personally to apologize. Should someone? If so, who?