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The 'Avenger' controller accessory was the subject of the complaint that sparked the now-infamous email exchange.

Today’s lesson in customer relations — as in, what not to do — comes from this painfully entertaining email thread in which a marketing rep for a video-game controller is first incredibly insensitive to a customer’s inquiry about a shipping delay, and then unbelievably oblivious to the influence of the Seattle-based Penny Arcade webcomic and the influence of its readership.

And that’s putting it mildly.

The best part is seeing the marketer, identified as Paul Christoforo, backpedal after realizing that the “douchebag” he’s berating via email is Penny Arcade’s Mike Krahulik, better known as Gabe, who stood up for the customer after being copied on the email thread.

“Who are you again?” writes Christoforo, after challenging Krahulik over whether he can keep him from exhibiting at Penny Arcade Expo East in Boston.

Krahulik replies, “I am mike krahulik, Pax is my show. Feel free to google me=) I can promise you that you will never have space at any future Pax event.”

“OK Mike whatever you say lol,” says Christoforo, before going off on another diatribe about his influence in the industry.

Krahulik: “I do run Pax, but I also run a website called penny arcade. It’s kinda popular.”

Christoforo: “Love penny Arcade !!”

Krahulik: “I’m glad you like it! You will be on it tomorrow:)”

And lots of other sites, as the story has now taken on a life of its own. Read more in Kotaku and the Something Awful forums.

Update: Krahulik has published the text of an apology sent to him by Christoforo.

Thanks to Scott for pointing this out.

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