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Why Does Zappos Advertise in Airport Security Bins?

Hey everyone – We often get questions about our decision to advertise in the security bins at airports.  I wanted to give you a little more info on the program. By sponsoring the security bins, we absorb the cost that TSA would normally have to spend buying tables, bins, maintenance, etc. (not their primary function or responsibility). Since the airports that have the sponsored security bins don’t have to put the money/time/energy into those efforts anymore, TSA can spend the money hiring/training more agents. And, due to the better training and additional resources, airports that have sponsors for their security bins have seen an average of a 16% improvement in wait time in getting through the lines.  I’m not sure how much you travel, but that seems like a pretty good deal to me!  

There are a number of advertising opportunities at airports (billboards, bin trays, free wifi, etc.) of which we've participated in. There could conceivably be a day when TSA is no longer required at airports, and we'd still be advertising in airports (including bins). Right now, we have no control over the government requiring TSA to be at all airports. For this effort, we contract with a media placement company (Security Point Media) who then contracts with the actual airports (not TSA). Thank you for your continued interest.



Aaron Magness
Sr. Director – Brand Marketing & Business Development
Zappos Development, Inc.






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Jan 10, 2011 at 6:10 pm Tree Fort Bikes said:

It probably doesn't hurt that people have to take off shoes and place them in those bins!

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Jan 10, 2011 at 9:57 pm Jonathan Ray said:

The idea is very neat, but with all of the frustration people are having with TSA, is it a good idea to attach your brand to such a volatile situation? If everyone understands that Zappos is actually doing them a favor, then great. However, how many are thinking their intrusive strip search was just sponsored by

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Jan 11, 2011 at 4:44 pm KristineL33592 said:

I love Zappos!

Great idea sponsoring trash cans. Can you also sponsor in our school trash cans?

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Jan 11, 2011 at 4:54 pm LoriS23766 said:

I didn't know that! This is great! Thanks zappos!

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Jan 11, 2011 at 5:45 pm Pat W said:

Thank you KristineL33592! They are actually security bins that you place your items in when passing through the TSA checkpoint at airports, not trash cans.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 1:13 am CliveH44561 said:

I can't support ANY company that sponsors the TSA. The TSA is Security Theater. They have NEVER caught a terrorist and severely impinge on our 4th amendment rights.

I feel disgusted when I see an 80yr old in a wheelchair being sexually abused by a TSA agent - or a 2 year old kid wondering why this man is "touching him in his personal places". Or a cancer victim having to explain her mastectomy in public. It's disgusting and it does NOTHING to secure us from terrorism.

It's no surprise that some cities and states are legislating against the TSA, making these kind of searches illegal.

I really think you should reconsider this decision.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 2:36 am PatrickM44574 said:

It's a shame that a company as progressive as Zappos wouldn't be paying attention to the outrage that is happening across the US with the TSA and their security theater.

The TSA loves to point out that only 20% of the traveling public disagree with their policies. Hopefully that 20% isn't the same demographic that Zappos is trying to sell to.

I for one can say that I am of the 20% that disagree with the TSA's security theater. It's bad enough that my taxes are going to this rogue agency. I won't have any of my dollars going to support any company that helps the TSA.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 3:00 am MikeS44582 said:

If you'll look at my account you'll see that I am a new customer and have just completed my first purchase. I was excited to see what Zappos was all about, hearing the buzz across the internet.

I will no longer be supporting the company, however, given your support of the TSA. My first order has now become my last.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 5:15 am Finnh44597 said:

Remember kids, the fourth constitution isn't really serious. It's ok to ignore some of those troublesome amendments. Like the 4th one. No one liked that one anyway. That's why at least ⅔ of the population voted for it...

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Mar 28, 2011 at 6:17 am CraigK44601 said:

Long time Zappos customer and fan. And - I'll never buy another pair of shoes from you again. In a company as seemingly progressive as yours, I cannot believe you'd support the actions of the TSA and their unbelievable disregard of the constitution of this great country.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 7:53 am GordonF44607 said:

Wow. That was the most anti-American excuse for Fascism that I've read in a long time. I can't believe a company would stoop so low as to trash American civil rights so that they can advertise in a trashcan. Really shameful behavior.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 12:20 pm ScottP44619 said:

I'm shocked and appalled that a company like Zappos would support the TSA actions. While this continues, I'll be shopping elsewhere for my shoes. With all the issues with the TSA and their total disregard for our constitutional rights, I can't believe Zappos is supporting them.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 12:36 pm DaleM44622 said:

I am deeply disappointed and saddened to learn of Zappo's' endorsement (tacit or otherwise) of the TSA.

I have recommended Zappo's to many friends and family in the past and Zappo's has been my first and only place to purchase shoes since they are so perfectly exemplify the principles of excellence in customer service.

But so long as Zappo's in any way supports the current assault on liberty being perpetrated against us by the TSA and Federal Government, well, I'd go to Wal-Mart before I'd go to Zappo's again.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 12:53 pm Greenface said:

Hey Aaron,

Thanks for explaining the logic behind your decision to advertise with the TSA. Obviously, it's a clever fit to advertise your shoe company in bins where people are putting their old, beat up shoes. It's very smart work and I applaud that.

Unfortunately, the TSA lines are not a happy place for the shoe-buying public. Airline customers are forced to place their shoes in the bins and walk barefoot across the cold ground to be subjected to additional searches that violate our constitutional rights and have undisclosed health risks. I'm not sure if you fly often - but I do. The entire experience is stressful, terrible, and unnecessary. By advertising with the TSA, Zappos is only enabling this behavior and associating a strong brand with an unpopular one.

I urge you to do some research on the TSA's ineffectiveness and the growing outrage in the US about their tactics. Millions of Americans are having their rights violated each day - and, thanks to your clever advertising campaign, the name they associate with that is Zappos.

Despite the fact that I've not purchased anything from you (yet), I am very aware of the Zappos brand, due to your excellent marketing work. I'm positive that you guys can come up with an equally effective campaign that doesn't involve the TSA or any other organization that violates our rights. So long as you're advertising with the TSA, I will only be shopping at your competitors.

Thanks for listening!

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Mar 28, 2011 at 3:04 pm DennisF44645 said:

Sorry Zappos...big fail. Our family will no longer be buying anything from your family. Seems to me the only way to make this right is to quit sponsoring the unconstitutional doings of the TSA and actively start supporting the rights of Americans to travel unmolested.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 3:13 pm KevinB44648 said:

I wanted to reiterate what everyone else in this forum says.

I will NOT buy from a company that advocates and SUPPORTS an organization (the TSA) that gate rapes innocent people in the name of freedom and security.

The TSA reduces our liberty and security and wastes $ doing so...

They're also fundamentally against everything this country stands for.

I'm innocent.... I see no need to prove my innocence.

I've never actually bought anything from Zappos but I have no plans to do so in the future as long as they are sponsoring the TSA.

Shame on you!

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Mar 28, 2011 at 3:15 pm Aaron Magness said:

Thank you for taking the time to post a comment. Far too often, people feel one way towards a subject, but don't take the time to communicate (our Core Value #6 is "Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication"). I'm sorry you feel this way about this advertising platform. Also, I'm very sorry that our advertising decision has impacted our ability to WOW you in the future.

Aaron Magness Sr. Director - Brand Marketing & Business Development Zappos Development, Inc.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 4:00 pm BrianC44656 said:

Disgusting. I'm afraid to say, unless your policies change, you've lost a customer. Piperlime here I come...

Brian ~The shoe guy from Ohio.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 4:33 pm BarbaraS44663 said:

Dammit, Zappos, I'm a long-time customer. I love your site & your service, but your position on supporting the TSA is extremely disheartening. Their constitution-violating policies gradually accustom people to more and more intrusive losses of their rights. I am saddened to see you supporting them.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 5:06 pm SamW44670 said:

I'm glad this blog post was brought to my attention. There is a pair of Geox loafers I was going to purchase from you because they're significantly cheaper.

That won't be happening anymore, I'd rather pay the EXTRA $80 to your competitor than I would support the TSA.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 5:25 pm BobB44673 said:

I've seen your adds on plastic bins a few times but always assumed the add revenue was going to the airports and not offsetting cost to the TSA. I hope whoever is responsible for associating your company with the most blatant and wide spread violation of american civil liberties since the Japanese interment camps in WWII gets fired. Also Aaron Magness's assertion that contributing money that in anyway eases the financial burden to a group of thieves, drug smugglers, child molesters, and occasional terrorists is a "good deal" makes me sick. If companies like yours didn't subsidize this massively over-reaching, corrupt, completely incompetent, and often sadistic organization airports would come closer to realizing how unnecessary they are and choose another organization. I have bought two pairs of shoes, one watch, and three pieces of sportswear from your site in the last year. Not only will I never spend another cent with your company but I will also tell all my friends to boycott you until you discontinue your support of the TSA and publicly apologize for this betrayal of the American people.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 6:10 pm LisaM44679 said:

Ditto what Greenface said. I have been a long time Zappos customer and have always, always been happy with quality, price and service. Two days ago my husband asked about buying shoes online and Zappos procedures and I greenlighted your company wholeheartedly.

I haven't seen your ads on TSA bins because I stopped flying months ago to protect myself and my daughters from possible sexual assault by government employees. Now that I've been made aware of your support of the TSA, I can no longer support Zappos with my business. If you're going to support the TSA, you might as well advertise at NAMBLA meetings.

I'll be happy to bring my business back when this policy stops.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 6:23 pm KeithF44682 said:

As a new Zappo's customer, I'm here to tell you I will make my first $300 purchase the day you STOP advertising in TSA bins.

You're associating yourself with an organization that violates our rights, assaults our kids and steals our stuff.

What's there to be proud of?

Email me when your decision is over. I'm ready to reward companies that support decency and our constitution.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 6:54 pm MikeB44688 said:

Very glad I happened upon a link to this blog post today. My wife and brother-in-law are big proponents of Zappos so I've always had a very favorable impression of the company.

Not anymore. Really quite shocking to see an organization that bills itself as so progressive and customer-sensitive supporting an entity that routinely violates the law and common decency with impunity.

Please carefully reconsider your position in this matter. You could easily direct your media buyer to sponsor opportunities within airports that EXCLUDE the TSA checkpoint.

You have an opportunity to demonstrate that your company's press is more than "hype" - that you really do care about the way your customers are treated.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm IanK44689 said:

I've been a customer of Zappo's for years now and have easily spent several hundred dollars during this time.

Your service to the customer has always been excellent, my purchases arrive insanely fast and your return policy makes purchasing online a painless process.

All that said, you (Zappo's) are part of a larger community of your fellow citizens and you should expect to be held accountable for your actions.

The reprehensible "security" apparatus that is the TSA, makes a daily mockery of our rights provided in the Fourth Amendment, and routinely commits what would be sexual assault in any other scenario.

That you would associate with this invasion of our liberties, and even suggest that your investment helps to train more of them, is simply mind boggling.

You certainly have the right to place your ad dollars wherever you see fit.

I also retain the right to do business with companies that act responsibly within our society.

As stated by others before me, I will not use Zappo's again until this policy is reversed and a statement released to such effect.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 7:08 pm MK44692 said:

I have to say, after hearing about your current advertising "gimmick", I am placing Zappos on my blacklist of shopping sites. It has to be a gimmick, what company would want to give money to an organization that abuses it's customers? I will also make sure that my family and friends know that it is not a viable site for their spending, and recommend your competitors as options.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 10:36 pm PV44693 said:


Like many others here, I'm thunderstruck by the decision to support the TSA with advertising from Zappos, given their (the TSA's) blatant disregard of the Constitution and repugnant customer relation skills.

As a long time customer of Zappos, I feel so strongly on this issue, I don't think I could ever again purchase from Zappos (or parent company Amazon or sister company Woot) as long as the advertising relationship with the TSA continues.

My experience in purchasing from Zappos, Amazon and Woot has always been pleasurable, and the customer service top notch. How can companies, such as your own, that value customer service support an organization that is the antithesis of everything you stand for? I don't get it and implore you to rethink your support of the TSA.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 7:31 pm JW44695 said:

While I have been a happy customer of Zappos in the past, I simply cannot patronize any entity that endorses the TSA's illogical, invasive, and unconstitutional practices.

Your company has deplorably decided to sponsor this morally bankrupt agency. Furthermore, your sponsorship occurs at the place where their disrespect for the public is most visibly manifest.

While you continue to sponsor the TSA, I will not order anything from your company. Furthermore, I will encourage everyone I know to do the same. I assure you, resentment and outright hatred of the TSA is widespread, and I would urge you to rethink your association with them.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 7:39 pm AlexanderA44696 said:

As a Zappos frequent customer (VIP level from when it was created), I was appalled to find Zappos ads in TSA bins. This really upsets me as Zappos is probably my favorite company in terms of customer service and the image it usually projects. The brand image is strong and the value the company delivers to customers is great. As a Marketing executive myself, I would never understand the company's desire to associate themselves with such an anti-American agency as TSA. TSA has much more in common with the North Korean regime policies (thats coming from someone who has actually travelled to North Korea)than with anything remotely resembling the Western values. Please remember that every time anybody with a shred of intelligence sees a Zappo ad in a bin at the TSA checkpoint they will immediatley associate the brand with utmost ignorant, uneducated and rude outcasts of the society who could only get a job at TSA, for-profit companies would never hire them in the first place.

This marketing decision, unfortunately, leads me to believe Zappos supports TSA disgusting activities, including sexual assault-like gropings and general abuse of passengers by TSA goons. Until Zappos ads will dissapear from the TSA bins, I vote with my $ and will refrain from purchasing from Zappos.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 8:45 pm MarkP44705 said:

We loved Zappos. Please note that is the past tense.

There is absolutely no way I can shop at a company that feels the need to subsidize the government's repeated violations of our Fourth Amendment rights. I've (the wife) been screamed at, treated like dirt, stolen from, and had my breasts get a better exam than my MD gives me, all from a low level gov't lackey that may have very well been recruited from a gas station ad or pizza box and who isn't even required to have a GED to assault me. And Zappos thinks it's appropriate to subsidize this in exchange for advertising?

My husband and I will be returning to Nordstrom and other online stores for our quality shoe shopping until Zappos reconsiders its position. Clearly, our right to be secure in our persons and possessions and to be not treated as a common criminal for merely purchasing an airline ticket isn't something Zappos can get behind so our money will go elsewhere until policy changes. Zappos isn't getting our money for the time being (but Nordstrom just got 'em for two pairs of Eccos for the husband).

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Mar 28, 2011 at 8:16 pm AaronR44710 said:

I am speechless.

As a military member, to see your company assisting in the destruction of the American CONSTITUTIONAL values that we fight so hard for... well, it appalls and disgusts me.

I will be sure to tell everyone I know in my unit and downrange to stop buying from your company, now knowing full well what sinister anti-American activities you are engaged with.

I wish I hadn't already used those shoes I purchased from you last week, or they would be in the mail on the way back to you.

For shame!

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Mar 28, 2011 at 8:40 pm ErinT44719 said:

After the obscene patdown I received yesterday at the grubby hands of a TSA screener, I can confidently say that I will purchase no more shoes from Zappos until you stop supporting the TSA.

I will not patronize a company who directly enables the government to pay MORE undertrained workers to put their filthy hands in my pants. Yes, IN MY PANTS. I was appalled. I have also relayed this post to my family and friends, urging them to boycott Zappos as well.

Disgusting. Have a little discretion with your advertising funds, please.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 8:41 pm nekonomore said:

Any support of the TSA in its present form is against my morals, my ethics, and the Constitution of the United States. It doesn't much matter to me that it's "only" the bins and tables. They can buy their own bins and tables without corporate sponsorship. Passing the buck to your outside marketing and PR firm doesn't absolve you of responsibility.

This is really a shame, because I used to recommend Zappos without hesitation to anyone. I can't do that now in good conscience.

Once I post this, I am unsubscribing from Zappos' mailing lists, and if I can figure out how, I will delete my account. But please do let us all know when you're done selling out our Constitutional rights.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm PaulG44725 said:

Aaron Magness wrote:"By sponsoring the security bins, we absorb the cost that TSA would normally have to spend buying tables, bins, maintenance, etc. (not their primary function or responsibility). TSA can spend the money hiring/training more agents. "

TSA is not a private company having to scrimp on equipment and personnel due to lack of funding. It receives funds from appropriations taken from taxes paid by US citizens. Many of those US citizens are Zappos customers and are also airline passengers --EVERYONE of whom the TSA treats as a terrorist simply because that US citizen has purchased an airplane ticket.

At present there are more than 60,000 TSA employees. Those employees have verbally harassed passengers. Those employees have virtually strip-searched passengers. Those employees have squeezed passengers' breasts, have touched passengers' testicles, have touched passengers' labia, have thrust their hands inside passengers' underwear.

Those employeess have forced passengers into x-ray machines. Those employees have threatened passengers with arrest when the passengers protest being groped.

So, when your Zappos customers who are also airline passengers see the name ZAPPOS associated with TSA, don't be surprised that those customers quickly become former customers.

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Mar 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm AdamD44729 said:

Very disappointed to read about this. I'm a huge fan of Zappos and have recommended the site for almost a decade and raved about the book Delivering Happiness for the past year to anybody that would listen. I can see why this place to advertise would make sense on a superficial level, but I can't see how this jives with the core value "Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication." The policies of TSA are the antithesis of this and I find it troubling you are choosing to work with them. I hope this changes.

Adam - Customer since 2003

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Mar 28, 2011 at 11:37 pm KarinT44741 said:

Major FAIL. Until this stops, I will buy no more from Zappos. As painful a decision as this is, I cannot support a company that willingly condones the insanity that is the TSA.

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Mar 29, 2011 at 12:37 am KK44757 said:

uhm, not cool. I will not shop at your company again. I used to tell all my friends how cool your guys were. Now, it's time to tell them to boycott your company. Not cool at all. It is not appropriate for the airport security theatre people to be allowed all access to your body as a requirement to fly. What if this lady was your wife or daughter? Read this story and tell me how this isn't wrong.

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Mar 29, 2011 at 3:10 am PaulaJ44784 said:

After many years as a VIP customer of Zappos, I must tell you that I will no longer shop with your company. Your support of TSA by placing ads in the shoe bins is appalling. You should think very carefully before linking your name to this most reviled agency. When the ads are removed from the bins and any other area under TSA jurisdiction, I will return to your company.

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Mar 29, 2011 at 4:48 am SommerG44808 said:

The TSA is traumatizing and physically abusing people at our airports. These thugs have their hands down our pants and they spend their days taking naked pictures of children. Their gauntlet of sexual humiliation is disgusting and depraved, and your decision to financially support their vile crimes is unforgiveable. I won't fly because my body is my own. I will never order from Zappos again, because your company supports these hideous sexual assaults.

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Mar 29, 2011 at 5:53 am DrewP44820 said:

Due to Zappos support of the TSA I've deleted what information I can on your site and will never use your services again.

Kind of shocking that such a progressive company does business with the TSA.

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Mar 31, 2011 at 7:17 pm SamuelE45231 said:

Dear Zappos,

I have been a longtime and loyal customer of yours. Now that you have decided to spend your advertising dollars with the TSA, a government organization that clearly violates the 4th amendment of hundreds of thousands of Americans each year, I have decided to take my hard earned money and spend it elsewhere.

I will miss your vast selection, great pricing and generous return policy, but as a frequent traveler who must endure the constant violations of my rights at the hands of the TSA, I cannot give you money that you will turn around and give to the TSA.

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Apr 1, 2011 at 12:31 am MLBrowne said:

I registered as a member, just so I could tell you I will not recommend, purchase, nor accept as gifts any products you sell, until you end your support of the reprehensible and un-American entity known as TSA. They represent everything I deplore, and everything attached to them reminds me of the 1970s-80s vintage East German Stasi.

You can do better. You can find better branding mechanisms, and you can support individual rights and liberties in other venues.

Until you do, I'm done with you.

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Apr 1, 2011 at 12:58 am WendyT45267 said:

As a longtime and quite otherwise satisfied customer of Zappos, I can only react with disappointment and disgust that Zappos would stoop to associating - and actually subsidizing - the TSA. The TSA routinely abuses citizens with their IMHO grossly unconstitutional and egregiously humiliating search procedures. I am quite dismayed by this turn of events and can assure you that I will be very hesitant to shop with you in the future because it appears that your organization supports practices and procedures that are extremely contrary to my principles. (I make a habit of putting my money where my mouth is.)

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Apr 1, 2011 at 4:00 am CathyM45286 said:

Zappos has been my favorite online source for shoes, so I'm disappointed to hear that you're publicly financing the TSA, a seriously misguided government agency that doesn't need your help. I'm also surprised that a company with such a strong history of smart branding would associate itself with an experience that at its best is annoying and at its worst feels like molestation. My shoes will now come from local retailers.

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Apr 1, 2011 at 9:44 am GG45310 said:

I just started buying my shoes online but won't buy from you as long as you are supporting TSA and their anti-American, perverted molestations of passengers, and blatantly fascist ways. I will also make sure that everyone I know doesn't buy from you either. I can't believe that any marketing savvy person would associate their retail brand with a fascist, despicable organization such as the TSA that routinely molests(or irradiates)law abiding citizens with no probable or reasonable cause simply because they want, or need to fly. You will find over time that this decision will come back to haunt you as more people find out about it. By the way, I spent more than 20 years in retail, including the executive level, and would fire Aaron Magness for writing such a thoughtless blog about this and I would also fire the advertising agency that came up with the idea.

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Apr 1, 2011 at 3:20 pm DianeD45330 said:

So Zappos wants their name associated with the humiliation of women? Do you people fly? Do your loved ones fly? Do you like having your children touched in intimate places by strangers? Or irradiated? How about your Mom? Seriously whoever came up with this boneheaded idea should be fired. Did it go something like this? Let's market our brand to travelers.... who are routinely violated by the TSA :) Wow what a great idea! Let's associate our name with the WORST part of any travel experience :) Wow! What a great concept! Because that is EXACTLY what you did.

Mark me down as a former Zappos customer because I will NOT buy from you as long as you support the behavior of the TSA (and by having your name in their bins you DO support it).

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Apr 1, 2011 at 10:53 pm AgnieszkaP45397 said:

Wow, this is sick. Simply put, I will never buy anything from your site again (I have many times before) and i will be sending out email tonight about this to everyone I know. What a terrible decision.

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Apr 2, 2011 at 1:35 am Alaskop said:

You need to FIRE the marketing person who came up with this idea. I will not deal with any company that thinks it's a good idea to give up your rights and then try to make a dollar off of it. SHAME ON YOU ZAPPOS. SHAME!!!!

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Apr 2, 2011 at 5:01 am AdrianG45443 said:

Here's the thing-- we don't want to absorb the costs that TSA would have to spend on tables, bins and everything else they use to violate our right to privacy and to move about freely in our own country. I'm even more offended by your explanation than if it had just been chance advertising placement. I ordered shoes from Zappos a week ago. Haven't worn them yet, I think I'll return them and cancel my account.

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Apr 4, 2011 at 4:35 am TerryB45718 said:

Good evening to all. I was just wondering if all online stores were charging sales tax? Has a law requiring the sales tax been implemented? Customers might as well shop locally if this is the case. Zappos charges tax and I will look other stores that do not.