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,
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.
“Gerald”Product Development Manager
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