I wanted to meet up with someone from Williams-Sonoma, the SF-based kitchen toy superstore, for a book I'm working on. So I did the reasonable, responsible thing and contacted Williams-Sonoma's PR department to ask for an interview. Here's my answer:
Thank you for your email. After careful review, we have decided to pass on this opportunity. We appreciate your interest in Williams-Sonoma. Have a nice afternoon.
After careful review, I have decided to come to SF anyway, Williams-Sonoma, and to write about your business anyway. It was never my intention to write anything the least bit unflattering about Williams-Sonoma—I have some of your fine stainless-steel flatware at home—and I won't be utterly destroying you now just because 1.) I can, and 2.) your PR people won't talk to me.
But I am going to do this: If there are any Williams-Sonoma employees out there—retail folks welcome, corporate honchos preferred—who would like to talk to me, please send me a note. I'm not sniffing around for sex or scandal or a soup ladle to complete my set. I'm just looking for someone who can answer a few questions—on the down low—about the creation and marketing of new product lines, give me some background on Williams-Sonoma, and walk through a store or two with me while I'm in SF if it isn't too risky.
I can offer complete confidentiality, of course, along with post-interview drinks and unlimited sex advice for life.