Real Sobriety Ep. 64
Jeff Bezos Saves Real Sobriety
Thank you all for your patience and support as we dealt with some unexpected technical difficulties on the Amazon.com platform. The Real Sobriety DVD is again available to be purchased.
Todays topic is going to be a little different from any other Real Sobriety podcast. I’m going to share the story of how Amazon.com suddenly removed our inventory of Real Sobriety DVDs and cancelled our listing on their website. It is a remarkable story of mistakes, anger, resentment, acceptance and , eventually patience and persistence winning in the end.
About two weeks ago, I received an email from Amazon Seller Performance notifying me that they had received a complaint from a buyer that our documentary film, Real Sobriety was a counterfeit, inauthentic product. I have no idea why someone would do this. Now, for the past year or so, Amazon has been cracking down on intellectual property violations, and removing pirated, unlicensed and counterfeit books, videos, music, and DVDs. Removing our DVD was probably a mistake, and I figured I would just respond to their email, explaining that we were the producers and distributors of the film, and all would be well. It didn’t quite work out that way.
Even after multiple phone calls, emails, chats and faxes, providing Amazon with all the documentation required to have our listing reinstated, they ruled against us, and threatened to remove all our products and selling privileges on their platform. We also independently publish other books and films, mostly about scuba diving and outdoor adventures, and like every other small media company, Amazon is our number one sales platform. It would be devastating to our business if we could not sell on Amazon.
After a week of being pissed off, and angry, I just meditated on it, and decided that this was one of this times when I had to, as the serenity prayer states: Accept the things I can not change. It was over. I’d have to build some other online platforms on which to sell the DVDs. I decided to move on to other projects.
Unknown to me, my wife, who sat and watched me fighting for the Real Sobriety DVD for a week, sent a heartfelt email directly to the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos. In it, she explained the whole production and distribution situation, but, she also told him about the messages and letters we receive from people getting into recovery, for whom the Real Sobriety played a big part in their recovery. She told Mr. Bezos that treatment centers, therapists and counselors were showing Real Sobriety to their clients as part of their treatment curriculum.
And, he answered. Yes, Jeff Bezos, one of the most powerful people on the planet took time to look at our situation, and he instructed his people to reinstate the sales of the Real Sobriety DVD.
It took a few extra days to work it way through the Amazon system, but as of now, the DVD version of Real Sobriety is once again available. Thanks to my wife, who I know cares about people in recovery, because after all, she married one, and thanks to Jeff Bezos, a powerful billionaire who saw the potential good that a small movie was making in people’s lives.
So, after being angry and resentful, I finally arrived at acceptance, and that is where the positive change happened. Some things are worth fighting for when they serve the greater good.