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Friday, August 28, 2009

Post #11 - The Dial Corporation - "Operation Brillo Sheep"

This was a note that I sent to Brillo, which, as I learned, is a division of Dial.  It was sent on 6/17/1997.
Dear Pad Daddies,

As a vegetarian, I hate to see the senseless slaughter of any animal, large or small. As a geneticist, I have chosen animal husbandry as my branch of focus. My latest project involves the common sheep, an unfortunate species that has taken the backseat to the cow (milk, beef, and fertilizer), the pig (ham, bacon, baby back ribs, pork rinds, and pigs feet), and the chicken (nuggets, patties, KFC). It seams that the only time lamb meat is consumed is around Passover, and dammit, that’s too often.

With all of these space age fibers replacing wool, the only other practical use for a sheep is their flesh. One night, eleven months ago, I had an idea—to genetically splice a sheep DNA strand with a fiber of steel wool, and to place the baby sheep (kid) on an iron rich diet. The result is a sheep that can actually GROW Brillo Pad material! The pads still need to be formed, but I’ve produced two males and three females so far, and I plan to breed them. I’m feeding them their normal allotment of hay, mixed with iron ore dust and water (to prevent sneezes).

The technology is undeniable, and at night, all we do is turn on an electromagnet and “attract” them back to home base. The once-painted barn wall, along which they walk, is now bare from their Brillo fur. The hang-up is finding a humane way by which the steel wool can be removed and rolled into pads. You might be of some assistance for this part.

Are you interested in pursuing “Operation Brillo Sheep”? I see economical benefits ($$$$) for a company that no longer needs to process steel into fibrous strands, and then blend it with wool.

Cloning Sheep to Earn My Keep,


P.S. I am trusting your confidentiality on this project until it becomes a reality!
Note from “Maria”, Consumer Information Representative at The Dial Corporation, dated 6/27/1997.

Dear Larry,

Thank you for taking the time to contact The Dial Corporation with a suggestion for one of our products. We all enjoyed reading your letter.

Because of the possibility of confusion about the origin of an idea, as well as to enhance confidentiality and other issues, The Dial Corporation has a company policy against considering ideas submitted by any outside source. We realize our consumers often have good ideas, but experience has taught us this policy is necessary to avoid possible misunderstanding.

In appreciation of your understanding, I have enclosed a coupon for you to use on your next shopping trip. Again, thank you for sharing your comments with us.



Thursday, August 27, 2009

Post# 10 - War on Spam: UK Lottery Winner Kenny Loggins!!!

Date: Tue, 16 Jun 2009 02:09:09 +0000
From: Leo Stocker
UK National Lottery, congratulate you are a success Winner of £1,000,000.00 to claim your prize contact Barr terry woodgate, E-mail: Barr terry woodgate
June 15, 2009

Dear Barr terry woodgate,

I received two emails from leo stocker. In our correspondences to and fro, I'm calling him lowercase leo. I hope that's acceptable.

Both notes were grammatically incorrect. There were commas out of place. They seemed a bit...Nigerian. Is that possible?

The first note offered what I assume is "congratulations", that I'm a winner (with a capital W). I wasn't referred to by name, and you really never told me how I became so lucky. Then he refers to you, but only your first name, Barr, is capitalized. This seems odd to me. Why do you not capitalize all of your names? Is this some sort of insult?

Regardless, it couldn't come at a more opportune time. I bet a colleague £250,000.00 that I could lose 50 pounds in 50 days. On day 49, I found myself at 49 pounds. I donated my kidneys to the black market--I figured kidneys would "put me over" the top. I could win the bet, and buy them back for £500,000.00, keeping the rest. Well, kidneys don't weigh that much. After doing this, I was a half pound below my target. So now I'm out £250,000.00 and two kidneys. Talk about a rough day.

As I type this from my hospital bed, I can't help but think about the second note. lowercase leo gently suggested that you may be an alcoholic and a womanizer who doesn't wash his hands in the restroom. He plans on screwing you out of your part of the business and sending you to jail for embezzlement. He's sleeping with Mrs. woodgate. His sentence structure is very unorthodox--I may have misunderstood.

My info is below. I don't have a bank account--I use my neighbor's mattress. He doesn't even know! I'm assuming you need my bank account number or some sort of processing fee. Which one? Like kidneys, I have neither.

Say hi to Mrs. woodgate for me!


RE: Uk National Lottery "FILL AND RETURN"
From: Barrterry Woodgate
Sent: Tue 6/16/09 3:46 AM
1 attachment


Letter Date: 06-16-2009
From Barrister terry woodgate
To Winner,

Good day to you lucky winner, how are you doing today? sorry for the late reply to your email. Congratulations once again, your email indicating you as a winner in the lottery programs held by UK NATIONAL LOTTERY. your email address was selected through the computer ballot system drawn from over 25,000,000 company and 40,000,000 individual email addresses, your email address attached to a single ticket was found as one of the lucky email address that emerge from the first category to have won the sum of £1,000,000.00 (One Million Pounds).

I have attached your verifications form to this email. You are advised to fill out your information correctly and send it back to me as soon as possible, so that i can start the claims Process.

Once again i say congratulations to you. I await your swift reply.

Warm Regards
Barrister Terry Woodgate
Your Claims Agent.

Sent: Tue 6/16/09 8:19 PM
To: Barr terry woodgate

Dear Barrister Terry Woodgate Chamber,

First, how do you think I’m doing? I don’t have any frigging kidneys. I’m hooked up to a machine that filters my blood. I’m in massive debt. And the black market that took possession of my kidneys burned to the ground. That part is new.

No disrespect, Barrister, but I’ve been reading your little notes and attachments. Your capitalization skills suck. You lowercase the first person possessive pronoun “I. You separated “everything” into two words. You use “there” in places where you should be using “their”. How, I ask, did you get through Barrister school? How, I ask, do you pass yourself off as a Brit? Also, you guys really sucked up that Revolutionary War.

Here’s my info from your grammatically deficient attachment:
1. Name: Kenneth Loggins
2. Address: 17 Cadbury Crème Egg Lane
3. Marital Status: It’s Complicated
4. Occupation: Furry Singer and Songwriter
5. Age: That’s None of Your Beeswax!
6. Sex: Furry Male
7. Country of Residence: USA
8. Telephone Number: 000-000-001 (I’m a direct descendent of A. G. Bell. First phone # was willed to me).
9. Fax Number: Nope.
10. Draw Number above: Why do I have to copy it? You already have it. How lazy are you?
11. company/brief description: I haven’t been heard from in a while. Can I sing you a song?


Kenneth Loggins
RE: Cleared: Contact Payment Delivery Company

From: Barr.terry Woodgate

Sent: Wed 6/17/09 10:28AM

Letter Date: 06-17-2009
From Barrister terry woodgate
To Kenneth Loggins,

Hello Kenneth Loggins, how are you doing today?

I am pleased to inform you that your claims have been duly verified and endorsed by the UK National Lottery Organizations (U.L.O) thus you have been confirmed a winner in this quarter of the UK National Lottery Online Sweepstakes Promotion. You have therefore been approved to receive a lump lottery payout sum to the tune of £1,000,000.00 (One Million Pounds) in cash credited to your file (XB3/701/LNRC).

The hard copy of all relevant lottery winning documents which includes your Winnings Certificate, Certified Bank Cheque and Clear Source of Funds Certificate (C.S.F.C) and your details for delivery, has been deposited with our contracted payment office (City Link Courier Express Logistics Ltd.) for onward dispatch to you. You are to immediately contact City Link Express Logistics Ltd.

You are required to contact our payment delivery Company for the delivery of your won prize to you with there contact details below:.

City Link Courier Express Logistics Limited.
Address: Unit 4 Armstrong Business Center, Goldie Rd,
Bothwell Park Ind Est, Uddingston, G71 6PBP.
Contact: Official: Mr. Garry Jones (Director, Operations/Logistics)

Email: garr jones

The following requirements should be sent to their office for confirmation and final process for payment.You will be sent your winning draft from their office.

1, Full Names..................
2, Occupation..................
3, Nationality...................
4, Address, ie were i want my parcel to be delivered to ...................
5, Amount Won...............
6, Phone Numbers...........

NOTE: You are advice to give them a call immediately after the submission of below informations.

Stand informed that in accordance with Section 24(c) of the International Lottery Act of 1996, winners residing/resident outside the United Kingdom and inside the United Kingdom may be obliged with financial responsibilities as regards disbursement of cash prize to their location because the British Gambling Board does not permit the UK National Lottery to assume such responsibilities outside the United Kingdom. This is in line with the Insurance policy drawn on your cash prize to counter misappropriation of funds in the course of remittance on contraction to City Link Express Logistics Courier company Ltd.

Please note that its imperative that you add your Identification Code {XB3/701/LNRC} as the subject on initial correspondence with the City Link Courier Express Logistics via email.

Ensure to keep all information about your award confidential as earlier informed until your cash prize has been remitted to you. This is to avoid double claiming/disqualification in this final stage of your clam's process.

I would require a concise update on your proceedings with the payment office as soon as you are in contact with them. If you need any assistance, Please do not hesitate to let me know.

Best regards,
Barrister. terry woodgate.
Your claims agent
Sent: Wed 6/17/09 9:36 PM
To: Barr terry woodgate
Cc: garr jones

Dear Barrister terry woodgate,

I am alright. Nobody worry about me. Why do you have to give me a fight? Why can’t you let me be? Actually, I have had a pretty lousy day. We lost power. My electric kidney machine shut down. So I hooked it up to my bike, which has one of those headlights hooked up to a generator. I tow my machine around, while pedaling to power it. I’m safe as long as I pedal. So I’m typing this as I pedal my bike continuously around our local McDonalds (free WiFi).

You keep asking me for the same information over and over. You ask me to enter codes and amount won, from one part of the page to the other. You still lowercase your name. That really creeps me out. Why wouldn’t you carbon copy those other dudes, right in your initial email, like I am right now? A bunch of red flags are going up over here!

I called your Mr. Gary Jones contact. I don’t like him. I won’t deal with him. He fired one too many mom joke my way. He swore like a sailor. He was unprofessional, and I may take legal action. Plus, I got the impression, from one of his anecdotes, that he doesn’t wash his hands after using the restroom. He won’t be handling my money! I’m not dealing with him anymore. It’s you or nobody, Barrister terry!

I’m feeling pressured to advance our relationship on this end. When the paperwork goes through, and the check is issued, you won’t want to be my friend anymore. That makes me sad. I’d like to “back ‘er up” a little bit and get to know Barrister Terry a bit.

Barrister Terry—have you ever loved a woman unconditionally? Do you look like Adam Ant, with the powdery wig and all? What’s your most embarrassing moment? Have you ever cried at a movie?

These are the questions that keep me awake at night! I should probably stop typing and pay attention to where I’m going on this ten-speed. I just t-boned a lady and her little punk. There goes my kidney machine, into oncoming traffic. To be continued...


Kenneth Loggins

Dear Barrister terry,

Bad news. I am the lone offspring of Kenneth Loggins. We buried Pa today. A lone dove was released into the sunny skies, and we sang “Like a Bridge Over Troubled Water”. Then we ate ham and potato salad from Sam’s Club that I think was expired.

Pa’s not able to continue this project. He willed it to me. So what’s the deal? How do I get the old man’s money? He was rough on you—he told me during our daily massage time with Frida. But he only wanted you to be the best Barrister terry you could be! If there’s one lesson to take from all of this, that is it.

Let me know—the old man left me only a chest freezer full of Ore Ida potato products. Everything else went to his live-in masseuse, Frida.

Peace Out!

Buck Loggins-Mazzola
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Post #9 - Frito Lay "Get Your Own Bag" Slogan

I sent this to Frito Lay on 8/13/1997:

Dear Potato Pushers,

How are you doing? As a loving father of three (and this town’s finest dry cleaner repairman), I have a problem with your slogans. “GET YOUR OWN BAG,” and “GET A LIFE”. My little Kenny has a black eye because at lunch time, he told a class bully to “Get his own bag” when Kenny asked for a chip. When Randy questioned him, Kenny said “Get a life”. When Kenny came to, the school nurse was applying one of those frozen blue jelly-filled ice pack things to his wounds.

We’ve always taught our son two key lesson—“treat other people as you want to be treated”, and also, “share”. Can you see the problem? You are contributing to the delinquency of our youth. Who has more credibility to a second grader? A naggy parent, or a bag filled with his favorite food? Sometimes I, too would rather read the side of a chip bag than listen to my wife as she fills out my honey-do list.

I hope you take something away from this letter—a cross section of America, land of the free and home of the brave. If you’ve corrupted our son, who knows how many others? Is our son going to grow up to be a serial killer? I hope not—we’ll ground him to his room!

Please provide a response to my issue. If you don’t plan on changing your slogans, at least explain your reasons, so I don’t feel like God put me on this earth solely to eat your chips, provide plants with carbon dioxide, and complete these damned honey-do lists!

He’s A Chip off the Old Block,

Letter from “Sharon”, from Frito Lay Consumer Affairs, 1/22/1998.

Dear Larry,

Thank you for sharing your comments with us about the slogans that appear on our bags of Ruffles and Lay’s brand potato chips. I apologize for the delay in responding to your letter, but it was forwarded to me only recently.

We are always interested in learning what customers think of Frito Lay products and how we do business, and we welcome your comments. I am sorry that you and your family are disturbed over our advertising slogans—“Get your own bag” and “Get a life.” As in all our advertising efforts, these slogans are meant to be no more than simple advertising slogans which present our products in a memorable way Many are light-hearted and tongue-in-cheek—such as your letter (I loved it!). They are not intended to have any larger significance or make a values statement, only to present our products in fun and entertaining ways and, along the way, interest people in our snack foods.

We truly appreciate your letter and will keep your comments in mind when discussing future advertising. We hope you will enjoy the enclosed with our compliments.


Frito Lay Consumer Affairs

Enclosure: 4 Free Product Coupons
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Post #8 - Qdoba and Life In My Band, Cold Gravy

My note to Qdoba, sent 3/9/2009:

Dear Qdoba,

I am the bassist and backing vocalist in a tribute blues band, Cold Gravy. We play cover versions of the collective works of Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, and B.B. King. We also do one Sir-Mix-A-Lot song. Our budget is tight. Our overhead minimal, and as you can imagine, life on the road can make the pants a little tight.

I drive the equipment truck, with my sidekick, Mullins the Chimp. He eats what I eat. He helps unload and load equipment. Mullins sets up and takes down the drum kit. When Mullins is unhappy, the rest of the band is unhappy. He has started and finished more than one bar fight, and has served as my best man thrice.

When I’m on the road, I like to eat healthy, and as inexpensively as possible. That leaves only one true choice. I eat Qdoba every night for dinner. Generally, I build-a-burrito. I normally go chicken, black bean, verde, fajita vegetables, and sour cream. Once in a while, I swap pico for verde and cheese for sour cream. Regardless, I LOVE QDOBA.

Every trip involves a struggle with Mullins. Mullins loves Arby’s. Let’s make a piece of leather on a bun taste better with some horsy sauce. Whatever. As a compromise, I eat nearly every lunch there, and order Mullins a deli sandwich for his dinner. Yesterday I found my window to convert Mullins. Mullins had a bad sandwich experience. BAD!

I seized the opportunity—I had the workers at this particular Qdoba make a beef burrito with black beans, pico, fajita vegetables, and sour cream. I handed it to a dejected Mullins. First bite: SUCCESS!!!!! Mullins did a happy chimp dance. I thought to myself “YES! No more Arby’s. I can double down on Qdoba twice a day now. Next bite, to the left of the first bite: “NO!” All rice and sour cream. And so it went. “YES!” “NO!”

The final verdict was no. The stuff inside the burrito wasn’t mixed. Picture a high school dance. Girls (meat, beans and sauce) on one side, and boys (rice, cilantro, and sour cream) on the other side. The two never meet. An opportunity missed. Cold showers, the creepy room at the video store with the naughty tapes, and eventually, a truck stop arrest. If I’ve seen it once, I’ve seen it 100 times. Come to think of it, I’ve had this burrito phenomenon happen before, and at other Adobe locations.

A normal burrito is long and thin. Your (don’t get me wrong) delicious burritos are more “squarish”. The long thin design lends itself more to diversity in each bite. Your burritos, while absolutely delicious, sometimes feel like that awkward dance--rice on the left, flavor on the right. As I look at the long thin burrito on your website, I think to myself “Sweet Baby Jesse, I’ve never had a Qdoba burrito that was that long and thin.” Misleading, to say the least.

Anyway, Mullins told me I’m off Qdoba, and I have to eat Arby’s from now on, or else he stops doing roadie work. He’s kind a got me in a tight spot. Can you help me here? Are the workers “doing it wrong?” Is there a mix-it-up procedure? Does Sir Mix-a-Lot enjoy your products? Any assistance that you can provide is greatly appreciated.


Uninspired Bass Player and Backing Vocalist
Cold Gravy, the Ultimate Blues Experience
“Not a Dry Eye in the House”
Available for Weddings, Birthdays, and all Special Occasions
Subject: Qdoba / 100067222
Date: Mon, 9 Mar 2009 21:32:56 -0700

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for your e-mail regarding your visit to Qdoba #2562. I apologize for the problems you experienced with your recent order and have addressed your concerns with the appropriate restaurant management. I would be happy to send you a complimentary certificate, which you can use at any of our participating restaurants. If this is acceptable, please provide your mailing address. If you would like to discuss this matter further, please contact our Guest Relations department at 1-888-497-3622, and refer to report #100067222. Our representatives are available Monday through Friday, 7am to 4pm PT.


Brad L.

Qdoba Guest Relations
Subject: RE: Qdoba / 100067222
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 06:06:19 -0400


Thank you for your help on this. That would be acceptable. I just hope they can make them more consistent, like the picture, at all the locations. For Mullins' sake. By the way, your email address suggests that you also manage Jack-in-the-Box. You're a multitasker!


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Post #7 - Nestle Coffeemate Creamer Bottle Design Flaw - 8/26/2009

Yesterday, my cousin brought a design flaw on the Nestle Coffemate Creamer Bottle. He pointed out how the fancy, decorative spout doesn't work properly. He isn't really a Nanny.;

My letter, sent 8/26/2009:
Dear Nestle,

I love nannying. I nanny like no other. The other nanny bowed to my “nanniness” during Nanny Monthly Happy Hour Mixers. For 13 years, I nannied an upper class family--three kids between the ages of fourteen and three. The Hamptons worked long hours as restaurateurs, keen on getting the leading edge in the claw grabber market. I could anticipate and treat a child’s cold before the kid even knew about it. Bathroom schedules, bedtimes, allergies all became second nature. But that’s all in the past.

The Hamptons were eager to adopt a beautiful Malaysian infant. They were on a waiting “list” for four years. When they finally got a “nibble”, they asked me to prepare for an in-home visit from a third party. This was a standard, but critical step in the adoption process. Everything HAD to be perfect—first impressions were everything.

I prepared a lovely brunch—fresh pineapple, bananas, orange slices, tiny quiches, bagels with three cream cheeses and lox, yogurt, and a rainbow of muffins, including brannies, in case Ms. Zeebles had digestive issues. Mr. Hampton also requested gourmet coffee and real cream. As I passed through the grocers, I saw “real cream”. I also saw a product made by THE greatest Chocolate producers on the planet. That’s right—Nestle.

I snatched up three elegant looking Nestle Coffeemate creamers—Fat Free Hazelnut, Belgian Chocolate Toffee, and Tiramisu. I rushed home like I had an A on my spelling test. I proudly placed your creamers out with the other items—sort of the crowning jewel in my Nanny Flurry of Brunch Excellence. Only, your crowning jewel has a terribly designed pouring mechanism that spewed creamer all over Ms. Zeebles’ hideous power suit.

Ms. Zeebles was embarrassed. This threw Mr. Hampton into a tizzy—the stress of four years took its toll. Hampton berated me. Ms. Zeebles took a break from blotting her creamer stains, to jot some negative notes. Zeebles rejected the Hamptons, and Ned Hampton fired me on the spot.

I want a written explanation. Who designed that crummy spout? What gives you the right to branch out from what you do best—chocolate, and make something outside of your field of expertise? Do you see the Oreo folk designing rockets? I don’t think so. I’m really miffed. And really hungry, since I don’t have any income. I should have grabbed a brannie on the way out!


(Former) Nanny to the Hamptons
8/27/09 Response from Beverly, Customer Response Representative at Nestle

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for contacting Nestlé® Coffee-mate® Non-Dairy Creamer regarding your leaking cap. We appreciate your feedback. Your feedback plays an integral role in our ongoing efforts to further improve our products and services.

We recently made improvements to our packaging including the addition of a pull tab. We have heard from some consumers that the new package is leaking between the cap and the bottle. We are currently working to improve this and appreciate your patience. A revised red cap will be out in the marketplace very soon and will reduce the leaking issue.

Regarding the leaking, it’s not necessary to shake the product each time you use it. Please shake it well before removing the safety seal, and then it doesn't need to be shaken again. You can "swirl" the product in the bottle, if necessary. If you shake it every time, the liquid will pool in the tear-drop in the lid and leak down the back of the cap near the bow-tie hinge. This may also cause the lid to "splash" or "spit" when it’s closing.

We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused and we would like to assure you that we have reported your comments to our Marketing department. We are committed to providing you with products that live up to your high standards for taste, quality, nutrition and enjoyment - in short, "the very best."

You are a valued customer and we feel confident that you will be completely satisfied with our product in the future. You can expect to receive a follow up letter from us via regular mail containing full value coupons towards a future purchase. Please allow seven to ten business days.

We appreciate your interest in our products. Nestlé is the world's foremost Nutrition, Health and Wellness company beginning in 1867 with infant formula and now manufactures many products including but not limited to chocolate. Please visit our website to learn more about our products at

Consumer Response Representative
Ref #:16948789
Dear Beverly,

Thank you for all of the tips. I don’t have a bottle of your creamer in front of me, but I’m betting the instructions are right there on the bottle, and Ms. Zeebles didn’t read them prior to “creamerizing” her beverage. In fact, I’m betting that with your bottle, I have the makings of a wrongful termination case on my hands!

And thanks as well for the offer of coupons. Coupons are always welcome when you’re unemployed!

Most of all, I like that you’re admitting there’s an issue, and that your research and development team is working overtime to fix it!

Again, I appreciate your response.


Note from Beverly, Nestle Consumer Response Representative, dated 8/27/2009

Dear Jerry,

Once again, thank you for contacting Nestle Coffee-mate Non-Dairy Creamer. This is a follow-up to our recent email correspondence.

As promised, enclosed is compensation for your unsatisfactory purchase. We regret the occurrence and are grateful for you bringing it to our attention. Please be assured that our quality assurance people have been notified of your report.

We value you as a customer and appreciated the opportunity to respond to your concern. We trust you will be completely satisfied with our product in the future.


Consumer Response Representative

Enclosed: three coupons for creamer, up to $2.99 per coupon
Dear Beverly,

I appreciate the coupons. I presented them to Ned Hampton, and he rehired me on the spot. I will be “creamer-izing” all future Hampton coffees, and wearing a bib.

In your note, you state that you’re contacting the quality department. I thought that we agreed that the spout is a design issue. Any discrepancy between your special directions, and what’s on the side of the bottle, that would be up for debate—quality or design.

Thanks again!

September 2, 2009

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for taking the time to contact Nestlé® Coffee-mate® again. We welcome questions and comments from loyal consumers and appreciate this opportunity to assist you.

We are pleased that you and Ned Hampton enjoyed the coupons we sent. We would like to assure you again that we have reported your comments to our Marketing department.

We are committed to providing you with products that live up to your high standards for taste, quality, nutrition and enjoyment - in short, "the very best."

We appreciate your interest in our products and hope you will visit our website often for the latest information on our products and promotions.

Consumer Response Representative
Ref #:16948789

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Post #6 - Target Winter Coat Fiasco

It was a snowy day in January.  My daughter's zipper on her winter coat broke.  We went to Target to get a jacket.  We found swimsuits where winter coats should be.

My letter, sent 1/29/09:

Dear Target,

Put-out, dejected, forgotten, alone. Betrayed. These are words that describe my most recent and possibly final visit to Target, last week.

I have always been a Target Loyalist. When people would enter my Tapestry Shoppe wearing a new pair of trousers, I'd say "Those look great. You must have purchased them at Target." If the answer came back "No", I would say something like "Well, I know they're having a sale, at Target." I figured, even if those particular trousers aren't on sale, they would be sure to find something else in your store, helping your bottom line, keeping my favorite store viable. When you gave us a Starbuck's, I'd say "Guess where I bought this?! Target! You should go." I have always been a walking, talking Target Billboad. People would say, "Do you work there?" I would reply, "No. I wish."

Every morning, my seven year old daughter, Trina-Mae, walks down the street to the bus stop. Last week, the wind chills in Michigan reached, get this, -30 degrees Fahrenheit. Obviously, I drove her to school those days, leaving the keys to my store in the trusty hands of my henchman Hans. (Hans doesn't speak a lick of English, but I have him hooked on your Archer Farms White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies). Regardless, Trina-Mae depends very much on her winter coat. Well, last week, Trina-Mae's trusty coat failed her--the zipper broke.

I deal in the tapestry industry, which can be a fickle mistress, if you know what I mean. My rolodex doesn't contain a "zipper" expert because zippers in the tapestry industry are heavily frowned upon. My only resort was to venture to my favorite store to buy a new jacket. The wax had been freshly applied to the floor. Melvin the security guard greeted me as he always does.

Imagine my dismay when, in mid-January, the racks were filled with shorts, swimsuits, summer wear! I asked the clerk, "Where are little girls' jackets?" She responded "those have been off the shelf since November." I said, "Pardon?" She went into a detailed explanation about how summer and winter stock work, when items go on clearance, and why, It all sounded like decisions made in some cigar smoke -filled boardroom, by big wigs who don't have seven-year-old daughters with broken zippers. I thanked her for her explanation, and bought a roll of duct tape. Along the way, I passed the Easter candy, which is a whole different topic (It's January, people!).

I am currently duct taping my daughter's zipper shut, on the coat that we purchased at Target last September. Do you think she complains about carrying a giant roll of duct tape to school, so she can retape it shut for the trip home? Is it embarrassing to her? I'm sure it is. Do the kids poke fun at her on the bus? I bet they do, but she is a trooper. I should think it would be embarrassing to Target as well. Maybe one of those cigar-toting big wigs should have to walk around the office all day with a big piece of duct tape over the pants zipper on his three piece suit. Then, and only then, might the rigid policies change.

I'm sure you have an explanation that makes sense, in terms of dollars, to Target. Put yourself in my shoes--how do I predict in November that I might need another coat in January because the zipper failed? When Trina-Mae's swimsuit rips in July, am I going to encounter the same dilemma? It might make sense to think of the customer and revise your policies and keep a few of everything on hand in case of such an emergency. How many silver pieces did the betrayal of a seven-year old girl net you?

In the mean time, I'm pondering changing my allegiances to Kmart, where I am told, coats are still available. I would appreciate a written explanation.


January 24th Reply from Target:

Dear Jerry, I'm sorry your recent trip to our Woodhaven Target store didn't meet your expectations. One reason we change our merchandise from season-to-season is to always offer you the latest styles. We also know it's important to have what you want and need - when you want and need it. To help us serve you better, I've shared your experience with our Buying team for further review. If you ever have concerns during your visit, please visit Guest Service and ask to speak with the Guest Service Team Leader. They'll make every attempt to resolve the issue during your visit. We appreciate your feedback because it helps make Target even better.
Target Guest Relations
My January 28th reply to Samantha at Target:

Dear Samantha,

I appreciate your prompt response. I understand you're doing your job, and I appreciate your effort. I deal with unhappy people all the time with textiles—people complaining about fiber count and stain protection. It drives me bonkers. So I can relate.

Yes, I understand changing your merchandise season to season, but the current season is still winter, the wind chill factor was subzero, and bathing suits are only the latest styles in tropical places. Here in Michigan, where your customers are, emergencies happen, and people need replacement coats, same day.

The guest service team member didn't really do anything to help us. She didn't send us to the Guest Service area. Maybe that should be covered in Guest Service Training. Maybe you should have a pop quiz--sort of a role playing exercise where team members encounter planted "guests" asking for reasonable things that are not in stock. And if they don't refer the "guest" to the Guest Service desk, they get a little shock.

I'm just curious--do they have a rack of coats back there behind the desk? That's really the only thing that would have solved this issue cleanly. Maybe they could have called their warehouse, or referred me to and maybe I could have doubled my expense, by having the coat expedited. Or maybe, as we go back to my original suggestion, you should keep a few extra seasonal items for people who need them.

Until I walk in and see seasonal things that correspond to the weather outside, I'm afraid I'm heading to Kmart, where, by the way, we found a winter coat.


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Post #5 - My Letter to Roger Goodell To Fire Millen

My note, sent to Roger Goodell, sent 6/17/09:

Dear Commissioner Goodell,

What were you thinking?

When you had your interviews with Matt Millen, did the past several years ever come up? Did you ever itch your asses and ask yourselves “does the public really want to hear the insights of the man who sculpted the worst professional team in the history of professional teams?” For crying out loud, his frigging family hung a Fire Millen ornament on their Christmas tree!

Let’s all give him $40 million dollars to talk some more.

Today, the $40 million voice of your league opened his 0-16 yapper again. He stated “I understand. In Detroit, they need a bad guy. I was a bad guy. I was to blame for the fall of the auto industry and the housing market. Somehow, I had something to do with Kwame Kilpatrick, although I’m not sure what.”

He was wrong. We don’t need another bad guy. We don’t need some pumpkin-headed, overweight, overpaid jackass making sarcastic comments about deeply personal things that greatly affect all of us on a daily basis. We have an unemployment rate well over 12 percent, and this clown, whose salary came from our ticket sales, jokes about it. That’s your guy. You handpicked him.

The city is reeling from the Kwame mess, doesn’t need jokes from some idiot who spent 4 days a week here, who threw his staff and players under the bus at every turn, who single-handedly broke the franchise with his piss-poor talent assessment and draft selections. They stunk so bad, they wanted to change the uniforms after he left. Joey even complained that he left the seat up!

Matt Millen is the worst GM in the history of GM’s. He’s the Benjamin Franklin of sucking. You were looking for a Noah, and you got yourself a Gilligan. If he can ruin your sport from the broadcasting booth, it will happen. Frankly, I’m looking forward to that. I have a game I play in my head—it’s fun, play along next fall. Whenever Millen makes a statement, say to yourself, “and I should know—I built the 0-16 Lions”.

Lion fans aren’t mad at Millen for Kwame, the declining housing market, or the struggling auto industry. He wasn’t here often enough to screw those things up. Lion fans are mad because he took a mediocre franchise, and made it the worst franchise ever. When he was leaving, he let Mrs. M. do the talking, and she likened this area to a prison. That’s a prison sentence that Matt created, and we all served.

You might want to reign in Gilligan. Let me be the first to say to you “Fire Millen!”


No Reply

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Post #4 - Leaky Jokari Fizz-Keeper

This is one from the archive. Two notes:

1) There was a time when my letter-writing alias was "Larry Barnowski."
2) This letter resulted in one of my favorite, well-thought-out responses. Once in a while, a company "gets it". They placed the blame on me in such a careful way, lavishing me with gifts both at the beginning and end of the letter. I still have, and use, the Fizz-Keepers.

My note, sent 12/1/1997:

Dear Keepers of the Fizz,

I recently purchased the Fizz Keeper Pump Cap with the pump action. In the past, I have experienced “Two-Liter Despair” as my beverage contentment suffered due to “second liter flatness”. With one hand emptying flat Coke down the drain, and the other had clenched in a fist raised toward the skies, I questioned the existence of God.

Then, one day, as I browsed the isles in search of a large baking pan, I saw your Fizz Keeper Pump Cap. By pumping air pressure into the two liter bottle, the carbonation would remain intact. As one who bakes cakes for special occasions, a hot kitchen is cause for plenty of beverage sustenance. Your product reassured my Roman Catholic upbringing, and I no longer questioned the existence of a compassionate Deity.

A little problem occurred, however, with your brand new Fizz Keeper Pump Cap. I laid my Coca Cola bottle on its side, on the top shelf of my refrigerator—an ordinary occurrence in my crowded icebox. But this time, we had a problem, Houston! The next morning, as I retrieved my special batter from the bottom shelf, it seemed runny. I checked the rest of the refrigerator and found my lettuce crisper filled with Coke. My sandwich meet marinated in beverage. Oh heavens! Your seal is faulty.

I am enclosing the faulty Fizz Keeper Pump Cap. I expect the following:

1)A written explanation regarding how this could happen, as well as assurance that it won’t happen again.

2)Reimbursement or replacement of the Fizz Keeper Pump Cap.

3)Reimbursement for my postage.

4)Someone to come and clean the sticky mess out of my fridge.

I absorbed the abuse from my clients, the Rosenburgs, for their Coca Cola cake. However, this can go no further—I won’t be made a fool twice. I am sure you can understand my position. You’re just lucky I’m not NASA!

Minding My Bizz and Losing My Fizz,

Larry Barnowski
January 9, 1998 reply from “Gerald”, Product Development Manager at Jokari:

Dear Mr. Barnowski,

Congratulations, Mr. Barnowski! Your letter was selected the 1st Place Winner of “The 1997 Jokari Entertaining Customer Letter Contest”. For the 1st Prize, Jokari is sending you a compete set of all of our models of the Fizz-Keepers, including the popular Looney Tunes series. Now, about that unusual Coca-Cola cake served at the Rozenburg’s Barmitzvah…
We tested the seal on the Fizz-Keeper unit you returned. It was OK. So we speculate that the following unfortunate series of events might explain the problem you experienced:

1)The Fizz-Keeper was screwed onto a bottle, using X force.

2)The Fizz-Keeper was pumped Y times, creating Z pressure in the bottle that was further increased by the carbonation in the Coke itself.

3)The bottle was laid on its side in your refrigerator. Alas Z was too high for X, so the Coke was slowly pressure-pumped out of the bottle around the threads of the cap, dripping ever so slowly into the container holding the Barmitzvah cake batter.
Ultimately, it overflowed into your lettuce bin.

4)After some of the Coke leaked out of the bottle, the bottle pressure was reduced enough to be contained by the X force originally exerted on the bottle. Then the leaking stopped.

5)We can offer only wild speculation about what happened to the liquid Coke in the Barmitzvah batter. Was this some bizarre Bar mitzvah batter, having the quality of absorbing liquid? Was it by chance a bizarre brown Bar mitzvah batter, so the Coke was just not visible? Or did the batter first dehydrate and pull away from the pan, thus allowing the liquid coke to be hidden? We just have to accept the fact that we may never know the answer to this mystery.

So the central problem…we think…is that the X force was simply inadequate. An alternative explanation is that Y was excessive relative to X, but this is not likely because you would have heard the bottle leaking before you put it in the fridge. In any event, Z went off the chart, relative to X and Y. This is our fault. We did not adequately explain this potential problem on the instructions. There is probably no way we can make amends for your culinary embarrassment in this matter. However, we humbly offer additional tokens in the form of a Jokari Wine-Air-Vac and a Jokari 24 pocket shoe organizer. We respectfully ask you to convey our apologies to the Rosenburgs and their son.


Product Development Manager
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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Post #3 - Baco's Saved My Life!!!

My Note to General Mills, sent 6/20/2009:

Dear General Mills: Baco-Bits Division,

I just love your imitation bacon-flavored food particles! I dress up all of my salads, soups and party dips with your product. The kids take them to school and make artwork with them. My vanity plate reads “BACOS 1”. Recently, your product kept the Angel of Death from knocking on my door.

My youngest son, Elmer, is the Skip of an 11-and-under curling travel club. Last December, Elmer had a tournament in Nova Scotia. Sixteen teams of highly trained kids, all focused on one coveted prize—the Stones of Gold trophy.

The tournament went so-so. Elmer stunk up the joint with mis-calculated pebble assessment and errant sweeps--bad curling. Afterward, the Vice-Skip, Rusty, berated my son. On the long drive home, the other two, Randy and Marcus, fought over the last Rice Krispy treat. Morale was low—and the impending blizzard did not help us.

My van ended up in a ditch in the middle of nowhere. As the drifting snow enveloped my van, Elmer, Rusty, Randy and Marcus put aside their differences and huddled together for warmth. As hours turned into days, our battery died. We couldn’t open the doors. I found and rationed several ketchup packets to the kids (Elmer received one less because he screwed up the tournament). Then I realized, that buried beneath curling equipment in the back, I had a jumbo container of…Baco’s, intended for zesty holiday recipes, and all occasions.

Your Baco’s REALLY helped us out. They provided delicious bacon-like nourishment to four famished lads, and their coach. More importantly, in a bold move, I busted my windows, and placed Baco’s in the surrounding wall of snow. The high sodium content, plus our body heat, enabled me to melt the snow surrounding the van.

Your delicious imitation bacon-flavored food particles enabled me to melt the snow in front of the van, and blaze a trail onto the road. With me pushing from the back, and my four curlers vigorously sweeping the surface in front of the van, we “slid” the van onto the road.

Rusty is a really big nerd. He took all of the batteries from camcorder, video games, and my emergency flashlight, and rigged them into a battery pack, capable of one good charge. With a little luck, we jump-started the van, and drove to the next town. Tim Horton’s never tasted so sweet. On the way home, we sang (in unison) “Let It Snow”.

Baco’s saved our lives. Thanks to your delicious imitation bacon-flavored food particles, I was able to live to see another day. You should consider marketing your product as a means for survival. That movie “Alive!” could have been named “Baco’s!” if only someone had thought ahead. I believe Ned Beatty’s trip down the Chattahoochee would have gone much better if he had a thing of Baco’s. Please let me know what you think.



PS—how about some freebies to share with the other families to commemorate our adventure?
Sent: 6/23/09 11:09 AM
Dear Mr. Herman:

Thank you for contacting General Mills regarding Betty Crocker Bac*O Bits. We appreciate the time you have taken to share your positive feedback with us. We will be very happy to pass on your comments to the product team.

We are committed to creating the highest quality products for our consumers. Feedback such as yours helps us achieve this goal for the future.

We appreciate your loyalty and hope you continue to enjoy our products.


Consumer Services
RE: General Mills Web 2009/06/23-0822 ZRS
Sent: Tue 6/23/09 10:55 PM

Dear Rhonda,

Really? I proclaim my loyalty and share a great story about how your product saved the lives of five people in a blizzard. You respond with a phoned-in, generic form letter? Thanks for plugging in the correct product. Is Rhonda even a real person, or is that your pseudo name?

What if all of us phoned it in? What if firefighters just generically sprayed some water at burning buildings, without really thinking about things like backdraft, people inside, etc? What if doctors phoned in exams, overlooking details, rubberstamping medical records “He’s okay.” What if teachers just doled out lectures and assignments with no regard to the students’ needs? Our society would be generic. Remember the neighborhood in Edward Scissorhands, where each house looked identical to each other house? The developers in that neighborhood phoned it in.

Rhonda, I’ve been to the edge. I vow to never ever do to anyone what you just did to me, except for telemarketers. But at the same time, maybe I think I should start buying generic cake mixes, dehydrated potato products, and generic imitation bacon matter to sprinkle artfully and whimsically on my salads, soups and party dips. And what a shame—I have a killer party dip for which I was going to give Betty a lot of credit!

When Betty Crocker got up that day and said “I think I’ll shut this shady massage parlor down and become a legitimate cook”, the very idea of phoning it in probably seemed like a sin. Betty never phoned it in, and neither should you!

What now, Rhonda?


No Response

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Post #2 - Black and Decker: There's a Squirrel Trapped in My Leaf Vac

My note to Black and Decker, sent 8/2/2009:

Dear Black and Decker,

On Father’s Day 2008, my eight children, Tommy, Timmy, Tammy, Tad, Todd, Ted, Thad, and Leo, all chipped in and bought me the Black & Decker Blower/Vacuum Leaf Collection System (#BV-006).

This little gem made leaf and grass clipping clean-up a real treat! My heavens! The fabric collection bag makes emptying a real breeze. Big pile, little pile? No worries. Neighbor’s cigarette butts? Not a problem. In no time, my neighbors were calling me “Leaf Buster” as I would effortlessly rid their yards of pesky debris. I was the toast of the neighborhood.

I ran into a little snag, though. One beautiful Saturday morning, I was sucking up a large pile of leaves between my tall arborvitae and the porch. I didn’t feel it, but apparently, I sucked up a squirrel. He was squirming around, right inside the fabric collection bag.

I tried to free him, but when I did, he poked his head out and bit my hand. Then he ran back in. The little guy, who I’ve nicknamed “Arnold”, won’t come out. I tried smoking him out. He seemed to enjoy my neighbor’s second hand smoke. I tried disorienting him and then opening the fabric collection bag. He keeps biting my hand. He was foaming at the mouth.

Now part of this is the fault of Timmy and Tad. They insist on feeding Arnold. I think Arnold, after a steady diet of sunflower seeds and bleu cheese crumbles, has become domesticated. He lacks the survival instincts of an animal in the wild. In fact—I believe Arnold was sleeping in that day that I caught him—it was well after 10:00 AM.

Now I have two problems. First, I’ve had a live animal in my garage, who won’t leave my Black & Decker Blower/Vacuum Leaf Collection System for the past 9 months. Second, my Blower/Vacuum Leaf Collection System is out of commission indefinitely, with leaf season on its way again.

I tried taking it back to Home Depot. He bit the Customer Service Associate, Angela. She refused me. I’ve kept trying to take it back when someone else is working, but she’s always there.

I’m a little upset that this is able to happen. When engineers design products, they generally list out the things they want something to do, and the things they don’t want it to do, and come up with a solution for each. The sucker part is too large, obviously.

Can I return this faulty product directly to Black and Decker by mail? I would promise to include some bleu cheese crumbles, and holes in the packaging, for air. I’m quite certain that I’m not the first to come to you with this design flaw. How did you handle the others? Please advise.


Outcome: No response
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Post #1 - Why Letters? 8/25/2009

Why Letters?

When I was in high school, I worked as a lifeguard at an outdoor pool. I heard other lifeguards around me complaining about minimum wage. I crafted a letter, to a city official, citing our responsibilities and training. This letter served two purposes. First, it worked—we all received raises. Second, I learned that by making a convincing argument, I could influence a result.

Over the years, I’ve written to companies, politicians, famous people, and district courts. I’ve written to receive freebies, ticket reductions, late fees waived, product replacements, and autographs. I’ve written, at times, about real issues to stir change. I’ve written silly, off-the-wall letters, just to get an equally off-the-wall response. I find the process to be a stress release.

At times, my brother Jim, and I have teamed up, and that’s a powerful synergy.

My Mission Statement: My primary goal is to entertain. My secondary goal, if you need it, is to help you. If you have a situation where you need help with a letter, let me know. The only thing I ask is that you allow me to share the letter (anonymous) and response. This feeds right back into the first goal.

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