Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.
Welcome to the Department of Why Did They Do That.
Today, we examine the perfectly odd social media behavior of a beauty company.
Beauty companies tend to operate in a world where everything is impossibly lovely, everyone is beautiful and smells of roses fertilized in hand-selected earth.
And then there's Z Palette.
It retails something called a Z Potter. This is, so I'm told, a hot plate that allows you to melt your lipsticks and concealers in order to create your perfect hues. For $85.
I hope you'll understand that I've never tried this product. Here's why I'm unlikely to try it in the future.
Some people on Instagram offered certain criticisms of the Z Palette.
This can happen to any brand on social media. Have you seen some airlines' Twitter accounts?
It's rarely wise to react with anything other than (at least an attempt at) understanding.
As Cosmopolitan reports, Z Palette took a different route.
This, for example, to someone who complained about the price: "You're in a dorm room. It may be a stretch for your budget. Give customer service a call on Monday."
To another who wasn't too happy with the cost, Z Palette invoked motivational speaker Jim Rohm.
"Listen to some Jim Rohn -- it's not that it's expensive, it's that you can't afford it," Z Palette offered, less than graciously.
Another commenter got this thoughtful response: "Thank God we don't need your money."
And then there was: "You look like a cheap date, but we're not messing with you."
Charitable sorts might think that Z Palette was trying to mess with people -- in the sense of being funny. This doesn't appear to have been the case.
What Z Palette certainly wasn't was apologetic.
The company's founder and CEO told Seventeen magazine: "We took a stand against the insensitive (and unsolicited) comments that were being hurled at our company and at (makeup) companies in general. The images floating around social media show you what Z Palette allegedly wrote but make no mention of the posts that triggered the response."
Sadly, social media -- like life, in fact -- isn't a place for solicited comments only. What a wonderful world that would be.
There are all sorts of, um, insensitive, even unpleasant people lurking online. What can a company gain by actually making them look -- even for a moment -- sympathetic?
The story doesn't end there, even though it should. Z Palette also posted an explanation on Instagram. It's since been taken down, but has been preserved, as so many things are on the web.
Among its many words were these: "This was a personal journey for us: It was a challenge to see if we could help others de-pot easily and safely, and to see if we could build this machine. And so we take it very personally when people dismiss it, or talk badly about it, or treat it as a joke."
If you're on social media in any public or commercial capacity, you will get invective.
If it feels like a genuine customer, perhaps it's a chance to be reasonable and bring them to your side.
If its obviously a gratuitous insulter, then move right along.
Throwing a witless hissy-fit -- which is what this seems to have been -- will only turn out badly.
Indeed, Z Palette has finally come to realize this.
"We regret that communications originated from our team that were not a true reflection of what our brand stands for and the respect we have for our customers and partners," a company spokesman told me.
Cosmopolitan is now reporting that some retailers are dropping the brand. Some customers on Twitter are also vowing never to buy Z Palette's products again.
Who knows how serious this will be and how much of an effect this might have on Z Palette's revenue? What's clear is that Z Palette's name is now associated in many minds with unpleasantness.
Still, Z Palette told me that it's "seen that a lot more people love us than we thought. We have an incredibly large and loyal fan base that is supportive of us and willing to stand by our brand."
Business is hard. People are too. Why make it harder for yourself?
As someone on Twitter called wisely mused: "Zpalette would've just been better off saying they got hacked than giving a explanation of why they bullied people."Hondrea