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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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Apr 4, 2011 at 4:41 am Graham K. said:

Terry, Thanks for your question. We charge sales tax in North Carolina, New York, Nevada and Kentucky (and most likely Illinois soon) due to state laws. We hope this doesn't impact your decision to buy in the future. It may not make up for the tax difference, but we made you a VIP customer so you'll get free next day air shipping forever. Your order will deliver on Tuesday. Let us know if there is ever anything we can do to help Terry!

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Apr 4, 2011 at 11:16 pm AmelieL21859 said:


Get real! Zappos is all about self-promotion. They could care less about anything else. It's a company consisting of dysfunctional types all drinking the kool-aid. Money is the driving force.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 12:10 am MatthewG46007 said:

I've seen the bins, which is why my wife and I have stopped shopping at Zappos. Associating your brand name with radiation and blue-gloved hands touching my penis is, I'm hoping, not the link you were trying to develop...

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Apr 6, 2011 at 5:35 pm KevinH46126 said:

Won't be shopping at zappos as long as I know they're defraying costs of the TSA who continually violates the fourth amendment.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 6:47 pm JulianTosh said:

Won't be buying any more Zappos products because of your support of the TSA and I'll be telling all my Freedom loving friends about this.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 7:28 pm DavidL46145 said:

I would like to also state that I will not buy from Zappos if they continue to sponsor the TSA.

Who thought this was a good idea? While you are getting groped isn't the best time to advertise.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 7:37 pm MichaelL46148 said:

Count me in as one of the many that will not be a Zappos customer as long as Zappos supports an organization that willfully tramples my rights.

I expect you to be inundated with similar comments soon.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 8:11 pm CG46161 said:

Seriously? Why are you supporting a department of the government that is violating our constitutional rights? Maybe you should sponsor a group that people actually want to support.

I'll be shopping for shoes elsewhere now.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 9:44 pm AndrewJ46172 said:

Sorry guys, I will now seriously question buying from Zappos in the future. You guys are great otherwise, but the supporting the TSA is just not something I want a company I do business with doing.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 10:26 pm JeremyN46179 said:

Huh, I have heard good things about your company and in the future would've liked to buy from you. However: if you're helping to defray the costs for such a tyrannical, invasive branch of the government you're not getting a bloody red cent from me!!

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Apr 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm StephenW46180 said:

Thanks! I think less time standing in line to be groped and radiated is awesome! Actually, no. I will not sink to their level and will not fly. After hearing of this program, I will not buy your shoes, so it is doubly not possible that I will take off your shoes at a TSA checkpoint. I will urge my friends to not deal with a company that deals with rights abusers as well.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 11:28 pm JavierR46191 said:

It is sad to see that a company that I have given so much business to has supported a system that violates my constructional rights. I dont care if this saves me time. I would gladly wait the extra time.

I too will have to look at other outlets for my shoes needs until I see that Zappo's has remedied this horrible marketing choice.

Suggestion: You should make a donation to aclu instead of supporting the TSA.

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Apr 6, 2011 at 11:56 pm KalinaA46195 said:


I am a Zappos customer who has seen the ads on the bins. I never realized that these ads were intentional (I assumed they were the work of an ad agency). I for one do not support the TSA and the invasion of my privacy this organization is engaged in.

I follow alot of these other posters by saying I will no longer shop at Zappos. I will go a step further and also let you know I will tell everyone I know about this as well, so they may also make an informed decision.

Thank you for your time.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 12:23 am CameronB said:

Wow, I thought this was a joke when I first heard about it. What kind of people are running the marketing department at this company? I've only used this site once, but I was really impressed with the service. Unbelievable that a company would support the TSA. Thanks for posting this, I won't consider shopping here again.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 1:25 am KeithB46209 said:

Wow, I never realized Zappos advertised with the TSA.

Goodbye, Zappos. It was great.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 1:36 am JonathanK46212 said:

I don't know if I'll be purchasing from Zappos now.

Wow. You guys support the TSA?

At DFW airport the security guards singled out my 11 year old and gave her a pat down. They stuck their hand inside of her panties and groped her very inappropriately. She told me she thinks she was just molested sexually by a guard, and I took it up with the management and was given a very rude response.

I tried to call the police but they said it'd take too long to come there, and we were flying in less then 10 minutes.

I've never been so angry and wished to kill someone as much in my life. My daughter has been to counseling over this event and we're trying to get over it.

The fact that Zappos supports this unconstitutional agency with business money I've gladly given you as a customer makes me feel like I've been violated as a customer. This isn't the organization Zappos should be donating towards.

If anyone knows of alternative companies similar to Zappos to give my business to, please let me know. Thanks!

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Apr 7, 2011 at 2:07 am EricH46218 said:

This is a sad day, as I used to love your company. I will no longer be purchasing anything from Zappos until you decide to stop advertising with an agency that violates my constitutional rights. I'm sorry, but you have just lost the business of me and my family. Please stop supporting the TSA.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 2:10 am AllynB46220 said:

Damn it, now I've got to find a new place to buy shoes. Sigh.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 2:14 am EricH46218 said:

(no spaces in these) Shoebuy . com 6pm . com cabelas . com (for outdoor footware) endless . com

I know someone who regularly uses cabela's. I hear they're great.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 3:19 am WesE46232 said:

I was intending to use Zappos to buy quite a few pairs of rather pricy shoes in the near future, however after learning of Zappos associating and assisting the underhanded and frankly unconstitutional TSA, I will be taking my business elsewhere until this is resolved. I made this account purely to demonstrate to Zappos that not only will they be losing current and long time customers because of this decision, but potential customers as well.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 3:38 am MichaelD46235 said:

Not only will I not purchase anything from Zappos due to your support for the TSA, one of the most horrid violators of our civil liberties in modern times, but I will quickly spread the word to everyone I know that similarly despises the TSA. Hopefully we can put a large enough dent in your revenue that you can no longer afford to support this blatant violation of freedom.

"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

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Apr 7, 2011 at 4:32 am NathanW46241 said:

I recently purchased shoes from Zappos and was extremely pleased with the order. As a male with a size 13 foot, it is often difficult to find shoes that fit me. I have relied on this company for 6 years for all of my footwear needs.

However, after my wife told me about your thoughtless association with TSA, I will not buy anything from zappos. To say I am disappointed is an understatement! I would rather try to run away from lava in swim fins than purchase anything from a company that sponsors TSA.

Until this decision is reversed, you no longer have my, my wife's, my co-workers, or any of my family and friends' business.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 6:22 am MauraD46249 said:

My husband and I have shopped with Zappos for several years. Always loved the service but was extremely disappointed to find out about Zappos sponsoring the TSA.

Clearly, Zappos doesn't care what less than a hundred people have to say. They know the less they ( Zappos ) say, the quicker it will go away. Which only adds to my disappointment. That's why we've decided to never shop with you again.

Thank you for showing everyone your true colors.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 2:39 pm ThomasW46283 said:

I'm not going to get on a high horse and say "I'M NOT SHOPPING HERE AGAIN!!!" but this is the last thing I would expect from a socially conscious company like Zappos. I will honestly say that this is disappointing and I have lost respect for your company.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 3:12 pm scrapb46290 said:

Zappos is attaching itself to a disaster that arrogantly flips off the American people every single hour of every single day? Rarely do I feel so outraged by an online merchant's stupidity.

Your short-sighted behavior will result in fewer Zappos packages ending up on porches in this neck of the woods. A firm boycott is in order.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 4:10 pm Greenface said:

Hey there Aaron,

Thanks for updating the blog to add more information about the situation. I've done plenty of ad-buying in my life and used placement agencies as well. I know that you often rely on their expertise to make your ads most effective. However, a company called "Security Point Media" is very likely 100% okay with the TSA and their unconstitutional practices, so it's unlikely that they were thinking of this issue when they created your campaign. I'm sure that they could create an advertising package for you that avoids any association with the TSA part of airport administration while still being extremely effective at creating awareness in airports.

Personally, my favorite form of in-airport advertising is sponsored wi-fi. When a company gives me the freedom to use my laptop or iPad in an otherwise pay-only situation, I am always grateful. Both Google and Sprint have done this in the past and I still cite them (as I am now). Perhaps, this would be a better use of your funds.

I realize that you may not want to take the blame for your placement agency's decision. Pleading ignorance was certainly fine up to this point. However, now that it has been brought to your attention by over seventy people who felt strongly enough to take the time to sign up for a sales-oriented shoe blog and write out (mostly) thoughtful comments, continued advertising with the TSA is no longer an oversight. I'll ask you again, along with the unanimous voices of the other commentators have, to please stop endorsing a government agency that violates our rights with impunity.

Thanks again for reading. I hope you take the time to evaluate your spends and reallocate your funds. It would be very patriotic of you.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 5:29 pm LauraM46311 said:

Zappos, I realize I haven't patronized you in awhile, but with this information you've lost me as a customer.

You've also lost all those who read my blog. Why do you hate freedom?

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Apr 7, 2011 at 5:39 pm Ryan Britt said:

Though I have been previously delighted with your service, I will no longer be able to patronize in good conscience because of your support of the TSA, an organization that, in my view, is being used to strip the American public of their right to privacy. They are a fear mongering waste of public funds and should be abolished immediately.

Losing my girlfriend's business will hurt you more and she won't be happy, but this is goodbye until you spend your advertising dollars in a more patriotic manner. At least we'll save money. Maybe we can spend it on copies of the constitution to hand out on street corners since clearly no-one has been reading the damn thing lately.

Good Day.

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Apr 7, 2011 at 9:50 pm JustinB46343 said:

I hope this goes viral and you lose millions of customers.

I for sure won't be spending money with you again. You apparently do not respect my right to not be sexually assaulted.

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Apr 8, 2011 at 12:50 am ChrisB46361 said:

I'm glad that I saw this post now. It came just in time for me not to purchase the new pair of Rockports that I've been meaning to get.

While Zappos may be lauded for their customer service, I find it unconscionable that they would opportunistically find advertising possibilities in the erosion of civil liberties and the sexual assault of civilians in the name of a xenophobically-motivated culture war.

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Apr 8, 2011 at 1:29 am mitchp46364 said:

Support (no matter the justification) for the TSA and its security theatre means I cannot in good conscience do business with you. I have previously enjoyed/used/recommended zappos.

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Apr 8, 2011 at 6:32 am NotaFanOfZappos said:

Well you just lost a customer. Thanks for supporting a company that does little less than provide a security theater and the expense of tax payers. My wife and I will not be buying from you anymore.

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Apr 8, 2011 at 7:32 am StephenC46409 said:

Thank you for the post that started this thread. Since I no longer fly, due to the possibility of molestation by the TSA, I would not have known Zappos was involved in any way.

Now that I do know, I will stop purchasing from Zappos until I can walk through an airport without anyone touching my genitals against my will.

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Apr 10, 2011 at 3:41 am MauraD46249 said:

This is an excerpt from actor Wil Wheaton's blog post.

Yesterday, I was touched -- in my opinion, inappropriately -- by a TSA agent at LAX.

I'm not going to talk about it in detail until I can speak with an attorney, but I've spent much of the last 24 hours replaying it over and over in my mind, and though some of the initial outrage has faded, I still feel sick and angry when I think about it.

What I want to say today is this: I believe that the choice we are currently given by the American government when we need to fly is morally wrong, unconstitutional, and does nothing to enhance passenger safety.

I further believe that when I choose to fly, I should not be forced to choose between submitting myself to a virtually-nude scan (and exposing myself to uncertain health risks due to radiation exposure)1, or enduring an aggressive, invasive patdown where a stranger puts his hands in my pants, and makes any contact at all with my genitals.

When I left the security screening yesterday, I didn't feel safe. I felt violated, humiliated, assaulted, and angry. I felt like I never wanted to fly again. I was so furious and upset, my hands shook for quite some time after the ordeal was over. I felt sick to my stomach for hours.

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Apr 10, 2011 at 4:31 pm KellyC46663 said:

I have to add my voice to those who will no longer use your company. Supporting TSA is supporting the very agency taking away our liberties.

The are NOT about security; it's a govt job program designed to desensitize us to our ever-diminishing freedoms.

Well, at least I still have the right to choose where I shop.

Bye bye, Zappos! All of my friends will hear about this, too.

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Apr 11, 2011 at 2:33 am KK44757 said:

I loved Zappos as a company but something tells me that they only care about the profits, not the customer.

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Apr 11, 2011 at 11:45 am PollyPlanner said:

Wow. Where did the bandwagon go that everyone jumped on? Love you Zappos. Always will. I'm not saying I support the TSA, but one bump in the road of a long history of superior service from Zappos will not derail me from being a loyal customer. People usually see only one of the story - their side. Maybe your sponsorship will free up some TSA resources so they can find a better way of screening people. Keep it up Zappos!

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Apr 11, 2011 at 6:24 pm MauraD46249 said:

6 year old girl groped then drug tested by TSA

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Apr 11, 2011 at 10:04 pm DLS20 said:

Zappos has done nothing wrong. If you have actually read the blog post instead of just the title, you would see that Zappos is absorbing the cost of the security bins and TSA will reallocate that money that was originally in the budget for the bins and can (and hopefully will) push the money towards better training and hiring of ethical employees.

I don't think that Zappos "endorses" the TSA, but rather used them as a channel for an advertisement opportunity, something every company needs to do (advertise, that is).

Zappos is a great company that seems to be doing everything right, including get some people upset who have no idea what they're talking about (4th amendment clearly states "unreasonable" searches and seizures, and when national security is at risk due to a terrorist attack, there is a damn good reason to be searched).

Haters gonna hate. That's all, that's it. Keep up the good work, Zappos.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm TeresaS46982 said:

I was absolutely astonished when I started seeing Zappos' logo on the security bins in airports, and have not purchased anything from Zappos since.

I am truly disappointed in Zappos for this decision, and for the inane attempt at justifying it. Purchasing shoes at Zappos just got a whole lot less palatable for a whole lot of your customers. I would hope that after all the feedback you've gotten on this issue, you'll reconsider where your advertising dollars go, and work to ensure that in the future they do *not* go to an agency that intentionally and egregiously violates your customers. In the meanwhile, my shoe dollars will continue to go elsewhere.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 6:27 pm Sporkfly said:

Congratulations! You just lost another customer.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 6:33 pm ChrisS46985 said:

Dear Zappos,

This sponsorship/advertisement with the TSA is really disheartening. You WERE one of the larger companies that I looked up to. 1. Because of your outstanding customer service. 2. Because you actually gave a shit about your end user. Both of these things still might be true. However, the fact that you are advertising with the TSA, "to put the money/time/energy into those efforts anymore, TSA can spend the money hiring/training more agents" is nauseating. You have sold out and lost your soul as a company. Do you enjoy being harassed by the TSA when you travel? Do you enjoy your wife's breasts being felt in front of you? Do you enjoy being radiated? Do you enjoy the destruction of our rights? To me, your saying to all of your customers, and the rest of the world, "Yes we do enjoy those things!" I am disappointed and will never make a purchase from you. I will tell every friend and family member who enjoys not having their nut sack or breasts groped to not give you any business. I urge you to redeem yourselves by removing said advertisements and issuing a formal apology. Then and then only then will we give you business.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 6:37 pm ChuckS46986 said:

I for one am never ordering from you again. I'm also going to pester everyone i know who has ever ordered from you, until they stop shopping with you just to shut me up. That you would do business with those constitution-ignoring gate rapists is beyond the pale.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 7:10 pm WilliamM46995 said:

Really? I buy my kids' shoes through you guys. And you're supporting people who molest children?

What I shame, I really liked your service, but I can no longer support you knowing this.

I hope you issue a mea culpa so I can consider using you again in the future.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 8:41 pm JenniferR47012 said:

Yeah, you know what? I like the ads. I noticed them when they started and thought it was clever. I especially like the ones that say "ooh nice shoes" because you know what, it injects one tiny fleeting moment of humanity into this process that Zappos neither created nor endorses.

They advertise there because it makes business sense for them to do so. It's a very visible connection with shoes and it gets their name in front of millions of people with enough income to fly commercially. It's smart business sense. So you folks complaining about wasteful government spending on TSA, you are probably the folks who complain that "government should be run like a business," right? So why complain that a business should be run like a political group? If you want to make a point about TSA, then don't FLY.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 9:38 pm DavidM47023 said:

Congratulations: your stupidity and lack of respect for the individuals that get molested by the TSA has won your competitors a formerly happy zappos customer.

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Apr 12, 2011 at 11:20 pm AmandaD47039 said:

I am going to embrace Zappos Core Value #6: Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication.

Does "Deliver[ing] WOW Through Service" now include a forced hand job and/or nude photography?

I have been a loyal Zappos customer for several years and always try to recruit new customers to what I thought was an exceptional company.

I was inspired by everything I read about Zappos including the book "Delivering Happiness" and will be applying some of the principles to my new business.

Apparently the Amazon buy-out has changed the company culture. How sad to see such an amazing company change so dramatically.

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Apr 13, 2011 at 7:35 am AmandaP47108 said:

I will not be shopping with Zappos again until they cease their support of the TSA.

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Apr 14, 2011 at 3:33 pm KeithH47293 said:

I'm afraid that this utterly disagreeable in-your-face marketing implementation was and is a seriously BAD idea. Linking the despicable and much HATED one-step from burger-flippers at the TSA with yourself is not a way to endear yourself to people or elevate your brand. But you can never tell that to a "marketing genius" (nor can you tell them much of anything, they're so wrapped-up in themselves) so I don't expect that this negative response will have much impact policywise. But I will gladly find another merchandiser from whom to buy shoes. Zappos your deleted from my bookmarks.

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Apr 15, 2011 at 9:26 pm MarkR47475 said:

I just saw a TV report about you sponsoring the TSA. I find it simply unbelievable. I just watched my wife being groped and fondled yesterday by your comrades as I was trying to distract my toddler daughter from seeing this done to her mother. You've chosen to inject yourself into a deeply personal and intensely emotional issue. I didn't stop shaking for quite a while after escaping the clutches of the TSA. Next time, I fear it might be my daughter getting molested with 'blue glove love', as has happened lately to so many other toddlers.

My wife has been shopping at your site at least once a month for years. No longer though. We won't be part of funding (or 'offsetting' as you rationalize) this unnecessary, ineffective insult to our dignity.

I'll also be contacting Jeff B. at Amazon through a mutual friend to let him know how you're diligently working to offend your best customers.