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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Post #40 - Sears Wet/Dry Vac and the 5 Foot Power Cord

I sent this on 6/15/1997:
Dear Sears,

I bought your Craftsman 8 gallon/3 horsepower Wet/Dry vacuum for use in finishing our Rhompus Room add-on. I was stunned—no, floored to find that your product has a five foot cord. It turned my whole world upside-down. If I have an eight gallon puddle, and a five foot cord, you are suggesting that I stand in the water while I plug it in.

As a mechanic and carpenter with a repair show on cable television, I have based my life on the Craftsman name. People tune in every Thursday evening, at 7:00 PM, and see your masterpieces in action. The Craftsman name always meant something—“We have an obligation to our customers, not to take shortcuts.”

A few years back, I tattooed the Craftsman logo on my leg—back when Craftsman meant quality. Now it seems that Craftsman means “Let’s treat our customers like we’re a starving family, and they’re our little sister—a commodity on the seedy side of town.” I have spent more money at Sears than Castro in a tobacco hut, but no more—I won’t get fooled again. So why did you sell out? Profitability? Betrayal? How many silver pieces does it take before one starts slicing little pieces of his soul with a dull cheese knife, and selling them to just about anyone?

I need a written explanation as to the reasoning behind the feeble power cord, and the corresponding betrayal toward a loyal customer. In paragraph two, I need an explanation as to how you plan to bring the loyal customer back to the Sears flock. Maybe I should have my Craftsman logo tattoo replaced with a big ol’ “Montgomery Ward.”

Sweeping Instead of Sucking,

Note sent to me on 3/17/2009 by Patricia at Sears.

Dear Mr. Herman,

We received your letter regarding your disappointment regarding the cord length on the 8 gallon Vac. Your commentary made your feelings on this particular feature very clear to us. As we bring new innovation into the marketplace, we do take into consideration our customers’ input. At this time, I will not offer defense on having a five foot cord on the 8 gallon Vac, as our defense would be overshadowed by your well-stated arguments in favor of a longer cord.

Before you make your lifelong commitment to change your loyalty to one of our competitors, we would like to share with you what impartial consumer product testers think of the Craftsman Wet/Dry Vacs. In the enclosed article from Consumer Reports, the Craftsman Vacs were rated best in their category, both Large Tank and Small Tank Vacs. Relative to the length of the cord of the 9 small tank vacs tested, only one had a cord longer than the Craftsman unit. However, we do set our standards to be the best value to the customer and we try to consider all the features in establishing that value. As we develop new Vacs, based on your input we will prioritize length of cord as a consumer feature.

We would like to thank you for taking the time to share your wit and wisdom. To show our appreciation, we are sending you a Craftsman 16 gallon 6 hp Wet/Dry Vac with Detachable Blower. We hope you will enjoy the use of this fine Craftsman product.

We hope you have not already submitted yourself to the agony of removing your Craftsman logo tattoo. As you have the opportunity to use more Craftsman products. We are sure you will be even more proud to wear the name.

Very Truly Yours,

Patricia Mayer

Cc: Keith Gilomen, Emerson Electric
This letter was preceded a day or so by a delivery man with a large Craftsman box at my doorstep. I was shocked, and what a great word-of-mouth advertisement I have been for Craftsman over the years as a result.

When my basement was flooding in September, 1999, I had this vacuum positioned at the top of the stairs, and sucked much of the water up the stairs, out my side door.
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Monday, October 26, 2009

Post # 39 - Just Born Halloween Peeps - The Eye-Less Peep,

Dear Peeps,

I am writing to tell you about a problem that I encountered with your ghost peeps. My children, Rocco and Tina, were enjoying your marshmallowy treats, when they discovered that one ghost was missing eyes. Why him or her? Why my children’s Peeps, and not the Peep’s of another’s children? I guess fate brought the eye-less peep to our doorstep.

When the incident occurred, I asked my children what they thought I should do, and whether a letter to the Peep Factory was justified. Rocco said, “Write a letter, Daddy.” Tina said, “No Daddy. If you complain, you’ll get in trouble and they’ll send people after us.” She went so far as to ask me to send this anonymously.

I am writing this letter for Tina, so she understands that it’s okay to bring a problem to someone’s attention. Furthermore, I wrote this letter because the children need to understand that people can, and will hold them accountable.

Consider this a moral stand—one that I am taking for my children. If Rocco or Tina turned in an art project, and the face was missing eyes, they would receive an “Incomplete.” Why should you be held to a lower standard?

I need a written explanation. Why us? Why anybody? When will it end?



P.S. - These were from lot 904271916L38.
P.P.S. – If you need a photo, I can produce one.
Subject: Just Born: Response to Your Message Ref#000535432A
Date: Tue, 27 Oct 2009 16:30:17 -0400

Dear Jerry,

We appreciate that you took the time to contact us recently regarding our PEEPS® Brand Marshmallow Ghosts. We are committed to providing our valued consumers with the highest quality confections, and it concerns us to know that we have failed to meet your expectations.

In order to best address your concerns, we would like to follow up with you via the mail through the address you provided in your message. You can look forward to receiving something from us within the next 2-3 weeks. Should you need to speak with us in the meantime, please don't hesitate to call us toll free at 1-888-645-3453.


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Sunday, October 25, 2009

Post# 38 - Executive Underoos

I sent this on 9/9/2009:

Dear Fruit of the Loom,

I’m an exec at a Fortune 500 company. I own a jet. I fly to Key West on Fridays at 5:00 PM, and return to my home on Sundays at 9:00 PM. I have girlfriends in New York, Paris, Miami, and London. I’ve golfed with Tiger Woods and four Presidents. I’ve attended bullfights in Mexico City with Charro. I’ve raced riding lawnmowers with Jackie Cooper. I smoked a big fat stogie with Castro. You could say that I live high on the hog.

In my job, I am responsible for the livelihoods of tens of thousands. When I open my mouth, people feverishly write down, record, transcribe, and publish my every word. Reporters from New York Times call me for my opinions. And when I speak, I fear that they will all realize that I’m a big dope.

I suffer from an inferiority complex. I feel very tiny. When I’m alone in the crapper, I cry. I have a really hard time dealing with my successes in life. I need a boost of confidence. I need your help.

When I was eight, I had trouble getting up in front of my class for show and tell. But Captain America had no problem—if he had trouble, he could throw his mighty shield. That’s right—your Underroos gave me the confidence I needed. When I heard Fruit of the Loom was pulling the plug on them, I drained my paper route money from my bank account, and bought up all that I could find, in the largest sizes I could find.

About four weeks ago, my final pair, ragged from 25 years of wear and tear, fell apart irreparably. I carry a swatch in my pocket, but it doesn’t work.

I would like you to resume production of this fine product. I would like you to expand your target audience to include an “executive” line. Maybe a Don Trump. Or a Tom Brady. Or a Hugh Heff. For the ladies, how about a Martha Stewart? Mother Theresa?

I’ll tell you what—if Fruit of the Loom isn’t interested, or can’t make it happen, I can. Sell me the licensing rights for this fine product, and I’ll make it happen. Let me know how I can make my own imprint on the underwear industry!


Date: Wed, 9 Sep 2009 18:46:00 -0500
Subject: RE: Inquiry from

Fruit of the Loom would like to thank you for your correspondence and confirm your message has been received. Your request is important to Fruit of the Loom and is currently being reviewed. You will receive an email from our representative upon completion of review.

Dear Fruit of the Loom,

You never responded. I am sad. I see on your site, you’ve cranked up the Underoo factory. But sadly, I only see small people modeling your wares. I also see something odd called Fungals on there. Weird.

What are the rest of us supposed to do for underwear?

Please advise! I’ll gladly try out any prototypes.

Date: Mon, 21 Sep 2009 22:44:21 -0500
Subject: RE: Inquiry from

Fruit of the Loom would like to thank you for your correspondence and confirm your message has been received. Your request is important to Fruit of the Loom and is currently being reviewed. You will receive an email from our representative upon completion of review.

My response, sent 9/28/2009

Dear Fruit of the Loom,

I’ve sent two notes to you with only automated responses. It’s been 19 days. My goodness—that’s nearly one complete cycle of my 21 pairs of Fruit of the Looms.

Where do you get off? Not even a response? Not even a “we’ll look into it”? I spend valuable time suggesting a product that would help the Captains of Industry. You sit there in your little board room drinking coffee (that’s too much cream by the way), doodling pictures of underpants in your Trapper Keepers.

Maybe I make this underwear cycle my last, and start a movement among the 31 to 53 year age bracket. A term that makes you underpants people cringe: KAMIKAZE! I don’t want to. Mom told me to never ever do this (in case I got in an accident). Well, I’ll do it. And I’ll get my softball team, my fantasy baseball team, my son’s cub scout troop, the male population at my church, everyone at Lil’s Diner and Doug’s Rusty Ale. I’ll enlist crossing guards, cashiers, doormen, valet attendants—anyone in contact with a lot of different people. We’ll have an underwear burning party (a few towns over). We’ll stand in front of all of the major stores with signs that read “DOWN WITH UNDERWEAR!” Then, maybe you’ll get off your duffs and answer some email.


Fruit of the Loom's response, 9/30/2009


Thank you for your email. We do not currently manufacture adult Underoos or FunPals, nor do we have any plans in the immediate future to do so.

We do appreciate your interest in our Fruit of the Loom brand.

Consumer Services
Fruit of the Loom, Inc
Bowling Green, Kentucky 42102-90015

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Thursday, October 22, 2009

Essay # 5 – The Science Is Undeniable - 10/13/2009

Sometimes, when I’m writing a letter, posing as an inventor of some preposterous gadget, I’ll utter the phrase “the Science Is Undeniable.” I like to think of this as a Jedi Mind trick. They’ll read my idea and go “that’s preposterous”. Then they’ll read those four magic words “The…Science…Is…Undeniable…” and suddenly think to themselves “Gee—maybe it isn’t so far fetched after all. The science is undeniable.”

I’m banking on the idea that people who read and respond to angry customers, don’t also have technical degrees. Furthermore, rather than go through all of the trouble of listing reasons why a “sheep on an iron-rich diet that grows steel wool” is preposterous, they’ll blindly accept my “research”.

Or they’ll call me an idiot behind my back and send me some note about how they can’t accept outside inventions, along with several free product coupons. I don’t really have a problem with that.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Post # 37- K.C. Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce and the Crematorium

This was sent 6/15/1997:

Dear Sauce Bosses,

As one who works in a crematory, barbecues have always made me squeamish—as though I’m taking my work home with me. My work/home-life conflict parallels childless obstetricians, police officers with hellions, and accountants who, after April 15, can’t bring themselves to help little Sally Jo with long division.

A career in cremation is just so dismal, and the smell and sound of meat on a grill serves only as a poignant reminder. For years, I dodged family barbecues, faking flu by licking my palms. We always ate stew because that was far enough removed from my job. The strange part is that my job, burning dead guys, did not make me squeamish in the least bit…until the following events unfolded.

One day during lunch, I decided to buy some Lay’s Potato Chips and accidentally grabbed the wrong bag—K.C. Masterpiece Barbecue Flavored. At first, I was skeptical—would my weak stomach reject the chips like microwave popcorn to a Mennonite? Loyal to the Lay’s label, I decided to give them a try.

I loved them! In fact, they made me curious to try barbecuing meat—to refute the signs that my stomach had sent me in the form of jumping jacks each time I smelled mesquite.

To condense a Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon into a 30 second movie trailer, I now love barbecuing. Your sauce has turned me into a barbecue freak. I put K.C. Masterpiece on everything. But the problem is that while I enjoy barbecuing, my job at the crematory has become absolute torture. You see, cremation now nauseates me the way barbecuing once did. My yin and yang have shifted a full 180.

Because a) my family needs food and heat and b) cremation is my only trade skill, I am trapped in this scenario. Therefore, I have formulated what I feel to be the only approach to handle my problem (brace yourself):

In order to stomach the odors and sounds of a cremation, I have been putting a little of your sauce on the dead guys. It may sound disgusting, but believe it or not, it helps, and the association of something so dismal to something that I love makes my job more bearable. Please don’t think me strange—my job is not a glorious one, but someone has to do it.

Do you have any coupons to help out a man who uses three gallons of your sauce per week? It might help because I can’t ask my boss to foot the bill. You see, my little solution must be kept secret or people might think I’m “creepy”.

Anyway, I want to thank you for the wonderful sauces that you produce. My family thanks you for the sanity that your sauce has caused by making my job bearable.

Keeping Lunch Down While I’m Cooking ‘Em Up,

Larry Barnowski

KC Masterpiece letter after second note. They sent this on 3/18/1998

Dear Mr. Barnowski,

Thank you for taking the time to let us know how pleased you are with our K.C. Masterpiece Barbecue Sauce. Your letter to our CEO, Mr. G. Craig Sullivan, has been referred to me. We regret that you did not receive a reply to your letter of June 15, 1997; unfortunately, we do not have a record of the original letter being received.

Knowing that you like our product is important, and we value the generous comments you have shared with us. Because the marketing specialists working on the development of this product will enjoy hearing your opinion, I am forwarding your comments to them.

KC Masterpiece barbecue sauce was veloped by Mr. Rich Davis in the 1970’s, and was acquired by the Chlorox Company in September, 1986. Since that time, our staff has continued to develop new flavors and uses for K.C. Masterpiece. We appreciate hearing about your many uses and I have enclosed some literature, which will answer dome of the questions you have regarding grilling techniques and recipe ideas. I have also enclosed a few complimentary coupons to thank you for your continued loyalty.

We’re confident that our product will continue to serve you well in the future. Again, thank you for letting us know that our efforts have been successful.


Executive Officer Administrator

Enclosed: K.C. Masterpiece Brochure and coupons for three (3) 18 ounce bottles of K.C. Masterpiece

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Sunday, October 18, 2009

Post #36 - Mojo Outdoors - Hawk Happy Hour in My Yard - 8/2/2009

To: Mojo at Mojo Outdoors
Sent: 08/02/2009 9:45 PM
Subject: Defective Hawk Decoy

Dear Mojo Outdoors,

I am the owner of a small Chihuahua named Mitzy. We live in hawk territory, and potty time outside looks a lot like happy hour. Hawks gather and salivate, if indeed they have salivary glands. They want to snap up my little Mitzy and take her away.

My logic told me to “get a hawk decoy”. This would tell the hawk that this property is “taken”, and to move on to the next plot. At first, it worked great. No hawks. My Mitzy could do her business and prance in the grass at her leisure.

However, every day, around 5:00, he comes around. With buddies. It started as 3 or 4. Now, there are roughly 16 to 20 hawks, every day. They hover around the decoy. They show off. They do fancy dances. They fight. They sneak up behind and make lewd gestures and simulate offensive things. It’s like happy hour. We are God-fearing people. This is offensive!

Now, Mitzy has to do her business inside the house. The hawks crap all over my aluminum siding and petunias. Neighbors and birdwatchers come from near and far. They trample my lawn. They leave their litter. They make faces at Marge.

I think all the lewd hawk activity is wearing the batteries down faster too.

It’s almost like the hawk decoy that I bought is defective. Maybe it’s a girl one. Have you heard of anything like this before? Can I get a replacement?


Jerry(And Mitzy)

To: Mojo at Mojo Outdoors
Subject: Re: Defective Hawk Decoy
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2009 10:08:41 -0500

Jerry- The Mojo Hawk was not designed to be a HAWK deterrent,but rather a deterrent of birds that hawks prey on. It has been our experience that it attracts hawks.I have not explored your theory of Hawk having a claimed territory and this well may be true.I would take it down for a while and see what happens. The local Hawks may be getting too used to it. Keep me informed. This is very interesting. Give Mitzy my best. MC


Subject: RE: Defective Hawk Decoy
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 13:12:17 -0500
From: Terry at Mojo Outdoors
To: Shiela, MC, Josh and Chuck at Mojo Outdoors


Weather or not your email was submitted in earnest, something, to say the least, subject to suspect, we are somewhat at a lost to know what to say. However, we can arrive at two conclusions which might offer you some insight (with the weak assumption that you desire any) :

First, spinning wing hawk decoys do in fact attract hawks. We use them in predator hunting and they will often attract other hawks. To deter hawks, one would probably need a predatory bird to the hawk. I do not know what that is, maybe a eagle or California Condor ? ? ? They are designed to scare smaller birds to which the hawk would be a predator, and as a "finishing device" for calling of coyotes.

Second, if we sent you another hawk, it would be just like the first, as that is the only one we make. They are unisex. You could investigate a sex change operation for the one you have.

Nevertheless, we surely would like a video of all that you describe. If you could, and would, get us some footage, we would be very appreciative.

Thank you for your input ( I think ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ).

President & CEO
MOJO Outdoors
Dear Terry,

Congrats on your ascent to the top of the Mojo Hierarchy. Boy—your first sentence was a real mouthful. I had to re-read it a few times.

Attached is a photo of my rooftop from today’s “happy hour”. Lewd!

One thing I thought of—Marge gave our hawk some pink beak blush. That might be part of the problem. So maybe the sex change operation would work. But wouldn’t that then attract females? And nests and eggs and all the responsibilities that go with raising a hawk family?

In any case, if I climb up there, they aren’t going to be too happy. Do you have a giant condor decoy?


Jerry and Mitzy
Dear Shiela,

I need to ask you something. Are you related to Whitney Houston? She wrote the most amazing song about how the children are the future. It would make my day.

Thanks for admiring my picture. I used my f-stop on that one.

Things have gotten weird. Last week, I was pulling weeds. I had placed a half-full beer on the driveway, as I was pulling weeds. When I turned around, it was tipped over. It was empty. There was no beer puddle, which made me suspicious. I later caught one drinking my beer, through a straw.

Do Hawks drink? I've noticed, he's all over our decoy. She needs a breather now and again.

As an experiment, I filled our birdbath with Molson. They LOVE it. But they really take it out on our decoy. Unbelievable.

Any tips?

Jerry (and Mitzy)

From: Shiela at Mojo Outdoors
Subject: Re: Defective Hawk Decoy
Date: Wed, 5 Aug 2009 07:53:56 -0500

Jerry, what state do you live in?


To: Shiela at Mojo Outdoors
Sent: Wednesday, August 05, 2009 9:14 PM
Subject: RE: Defective Hawk Decoy


I live in Southeastern Michigan. Right near Lake Erie.

From: Shieela at Mojo Outdoors
Subject: Re: Defective Hawk Decoy
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 11:48:56 -0500

Oh, ok.... that was an amazing pic!....Did you have your hawk hanging from a tree?

To: Shiela at Mojo Outdoors
RE: Defective Hawk Decoy
Date: Thu, 6 Aug 2009 23:51:10 -0400

Dear Shiela,

I need to ask you something. Are you related to Whitney Houston? She wrote the most amazing song about how the children are the future. It would make my day.

Thanks for admiring my picture. I used my f-stop on that one.

Things have gotten weird. Last week, I was pulling weeds. I had placed a half-full beer on the driveway, as I was pulling weeds. When I turned around, it was tipped over. It was empty. There was no beer puddle, which made me suspicious. I later caught one drinking my beer, through a straw.

Do Hawks drink? I've noticed, he's all over our decoy. She needs a breather now and again.

As an experiment, I filled our birdbath with Molson. They LOVE it. But they really take it out on our decoy. Unbelievable.

Any tips?

Shiela sent a blank email in response--sort of an "I'm acknowledging your note, but I get it now".
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Friday, October 16, 2009

Post # 35 - Starbucks Weather Reporter - 9/9/2009

I wrote this letter to a friend who is a loyal customer to Starbucks, but had encountered three bad visits very recently in Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, and West Bloomfield. Names were changed to protect the innocent. This was sent 9/9/2009.

Dear Starbucks,

As the lead reporter on the second-most-popular national weather television network, I am on the road constantly. As we attempt to pry viewers from the Weather Channel, there are two crucial times of year—1) torrential storm season (right now!), and 2) (to a lesser extent) blizzard season. Every little thing, good or bad, affects our ratings. The weather patterns that dictate my schedule care little about things like “sleep” and “downtime”. Consequently, I am dependent on my daily coffee. When it comes to coffee, there has always been only one alternative—Starbucks.

As your brand becomes increasingly popular, it becomes easier to get my fix. And now, your stores are popping up everywhere—grocery stores, Target, and on the cozy corners of Anytown, USA. Now, however, I am wondering if you’re becoming too big for your britches, and losing touch with your most important asset—your customers. In the past few weeks, I have had three unfortunate experiences.

First, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, I brought a “thank you” iced coffee, “light on the ice” for my coworker Marvin. His great lighting really saved our coverage of the Ferrysburg Funnel Cloud. When I presented his iced coffee, a livid Marvin accused me of sabotaging his coffee—he showed me a cup FULL of ice, and low on coffee. Ever since, my lighting has been “ever-so-slightly” off. Viewership is down a quarter point. Letters began filing in from angry weatherphiles: “Replace her! She looks so sinister!”

My second incident occurred the next morning in Kalamazoo, MI, where I ordered my make-up artist’s standard “wake-me-up” Venti Soy Latte. We had been up late the night before, celebrating successful coverage of the Muskegon Mudslide. We were in a hurry, chasing the next storm as usual. When I checked, Lisa’s beverage was Grande, and not Venti. Her make-up application that day was sub-par—Lisa made me look hideous! Viewership dropped another quarter point. Letters began filing in from angry weatherphiles: “Replace the monster! She’s frightening our children!”

My third incident occurred in West Bloomfield, MI, on August 20, 2009. I was in my hometown covering the West Bloomfield Windstorm. As a treat, I bought my crew a free round, as we were heading out. I placed a bigger order than usual-- a Strawberry Banana Smoothie (for Marvin), a Vanilla Crème Frappacino (for me), and a Venti Coffee Frappaccino (for David, the sound guy). The order took a VERY long time, plus, the barista mistakenly made a Caramel Frappaccino with whipped cream instead of the simple Coffee Frappaccino with no whipped cream. She apologized, but because we were in a rush, I had to leave, so I paid for my order and left. My sound guy was upset with his Caramel Frappaccino, and did a poor job of mixing. That evening, my voice sounded very “bassy”. Local radio personalities accused me of being a man. Viewership dropped another quarter point. Letters began filing in from angry weatherphiles: “Replace the man! She sounds like Barry White.” Now no one is talking to me. I see execs in the big boardroom, and anxious 22 year-old blondes nervously walking in with leather-bound binders and resumes.

As you can see, our business is very fickle and catty. People depend on their coffee, and they want it to be made to order. Can you provide a written explanation? How do these things happen? Why do they keep happening to me? Does Starbucks own The Weather Channel or something? In the meantime, I wait to hear my fate--I may be the next infomercial assistant.


Starbucks didn't answer right away. We sent a follow-up note on 9/21/09.

Dear Starbucks,

Livid. That’s the word that I use to describe my recent experiences with Starbuck’s. A week ago, I took the time to communicate to you, three bad experiences. One in Grand Rapids (too icy even though I asked for light ice), one in Kalamazoo (wrong size), and one in West Bloomfield (plain Frappuccino instead of vanilla. Did anyone from corporate bother to respond? No. But then, I guess I’m not thirsty and coffee-deprived, waiting in line with a $5 bill.

The sad thing is, three “mess-ups” would really hurt a mom and pop place. The very type of place that you’ve been putting out of business all across the country. In a way, I’m thinking I need to start supporting those smaller businesses.

I would be embarrassed if I was Starbucks. You have a license to print money, and you know it. You don’t really care if people are unhappy.

I guess I’m wondering how you justify not responding to complaints. Not even any inquiries for more information about each incident. In the meantime, I would recommend stopping the two hour lunches and perhaps running a lap of shame around the Starbuck’s compound.



From: Customer Relations
Subject: Response from Starbucks Coffee Company - Case # 7420059
Date: Wednesday, September 23, 2009, 6:17 PM

Hello Julie,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write to us. I am very sorry that your beverages were not enjoyable and made incorrectly during your trip.

It is our passion to provide the finest coffee beverages to our customers, and it's disappointing to me to hear that you were unhappy with yours. I know that a primary reason that you come to Starbucks is for the highest quality and consistent drinks. I want to assure you that I will be following up with the stores and its management teams in order to ensure that we are making these beverages correctly.

Unfortunately, I am unclear at which specific stores these incidents happened. If you could please respond to this email with further information about the store location (such as cross streets), this would help us greatly. Please also feel free to take a look at our store locator at for store information.

What I would like to do, is to invite you back to our stores to have a drink done right. I would be happy to mail you some beverage coupons so that your next drink will be on us.

Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to fix this situation. I assure you that we take feedback from our customers seriously and will use this as an opportunity to improve the experience for you.

If there are any questions or concerns that I have not been able to address, please don't hesitate to call us at 800 23-LATTE (235-2883), we are here Monday through Friday from 5:00 AM to 6:00 PM (PST).

Thank you,
Customer Relations
Starbucks Coffee Company
Note from my friend, to Starbucks, sent 9/28/2009

Dear Amy:

Thank you, I would appreciate coupons. My address is below. The stores at which I had problems were Spartan - Breton Village #1572, 1814 Breton Road SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49506; Stadium & Drake, 4700 Stadium Drive, Kalamazoo, MI 49008; Orchard Lake, 6765 Orchard Lake Rd, West Bloomfield, MI 48322.

This note was sent, along with two free product coupons:
October 5, 2009

Dear Julie:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Starbucks Coffee Company. Please accept the enclosed beverage coupons with my apologies for your experience, as discussed in our email correspondence. Thank you for giving us the opportunity to address your concerns and improve our operations. If you have any further concerns, please feel free to contact us at or 1-800-23-latte.

Sincerely, Amy
Customer Relations Starbucks Coffee Company
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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Essay #4 - Why Children's Hospital- 10/15/2009

As you know, I have elected to submit an essay to the Faygo contest to win a Wii. As I've stated, I intend to donate this to-either Children's Hospital of Detroit, or Ronald McDonald House. I'm currently in sixth place, and the essays that finish with the top five vote totals win. Many of you have voted, and I greatly appreciate your support. You can continue to vote, once per email address per day. I'm currently voting on five different email addresses per day. The link is below.

I have two experiences to shed light on how arrived at these two potential recipients.

The first takes place at a hotel called Weber's in Ann Arbor, in October of 2003. My wife was 8 months pregnant with my son. We met another couple, Bill and Sue, in the hot tub--they were from San Antonio. Their friends and family chipped in to give them a night away from the Ronald McDonald house, where they had been staying for months. Their son, Logan, was born prematurely, with complications. He was on life support at University of Michigan Hospital. Bill described how well the Ronald McDonald house treated them--the cost per day was that they had to "do a chore"--vacuum, wash dishes, etc. We exchanged information. The husband, "Bill", said he would keep Colleen in his prayers. We promised to keep Logan in our prayers.

A few weeks later, our son was born, very healthy. I thought about Bill and Sue and Logan. I checked the "Logan Update" website that they had provided, and found a Logan Memorial with a list of sympathies from those same family members and friends. That put everything in perspective.

The second experience takes place in December of 2001, a week or so after my daughter was born. We were informed that she had a cavity one of the chambers in her heart, which was causing a slight murmur. As a new parent, you don't really know how to process this type of information.

The pediatrician scheduled testing at Children's Hospital in Detroit. Having gone to school for four years in Detroit, my expectations were LOW. However, we were overwhelmed with how accommodating they were in the Cardio center. The doctors and nurses at Children's Hospital really went out of their way to answer our dumb, over-protective parent questions as though they weren't dumb. We made a few follow-up visits over the next year, and eventually, the hole closed up and everything was fine.

The real thing that I remember about Children's Hospital is the faces of the other parents coming and going. They all looked like concerned parents like me, trying to do what was best for their son or daughter. I know that not all of them received the same "good news" that I did. I frequently place myself in the shoes of one of the "bad news" parents. I think about how difficult that would be, and how nice it might be to share a smile with their child amidst all of the doom and gloom.

That's why I have chosen Children's Hospital.

I contacted Ellen Burton, one of the people who manage donations at Children's Hospital. She told me "Yes, our Child Life Division uses the Nintendo Wii….Thank you for thinking of us and please let me know, when you win”. And so, I am asking you. Please vote for my essay, once per day—it takes literally 30 seconds. Please ask your friends to do the same. Help me to give something back.

Here is the link:


Monday, October 12, 2009

Post # 33 - Asking Dr. Phil for Help - 9/11/2009

Dear Doctor Phil

I need your help. Every night, as I fall asleep, I have a recurring nightmare. In this dream, I'm a very, very tiny man. I wonder if my "tiny-ness" relates back to an inferiority complex that I have. This may stem from failed relationships in my past. It may also have to do with my being "pee shy"--something that was magnified in the highly trafficked "trough" style urinals at the old Tiger Stadium. I confronted those fears by purchasing one of those troughs, which now graces my basement lavatory.

In my dream, I seem to run back and fourth (never really moving forward), at a hectic pace. My fast paced lifestyle as an interior and exterior decorator may be the culprit here. The Mrs. keeps telling me to just pick one or the other. I like coordinating wall colors and trims, carpets, and window dressings. I also like designing landscaping and gardens.

In my dream, I live in field, surrounded by mushrooms. The mushrooms seem enormous--they're as big as me. That actually makes them normal size--if you recall, I'm tiny in this recurring dream. Why mushrooms? Perhaps because they're my favorite pizza topping. Perhaps this part is due to my lawn which, at times, is covered with them. Or it may be all of the hallucinogenic mushrooms that I enjoyed back in the 1970's. I'm clean now. Don't do drugs.

Also, in my dream, giant, lengthy bugs keep chasing me. I "deal" with these bugs by shooting them. Often, in my life, I confront challenges very abruptly, and brazen, rather than taking time to work through a reasonable solution.

As I shoot these lengthy bugs, they inevitably break into many smaller, equally dangerous bugs that continue chasing me. Each time I shoot them, they seem to multiply and get smaller. Sometimes, the bullets hit mushrooms, which seem to be very resilient, much like my previous addictions. As these bugs (perhaps my problems?) approach, they move faster and faster. My only defense is my gun, which only shoots straight ahead, leaving me vulnerable if they come at me from either side.

Each time, I wake up in a cold sweat. This happens every single night. The only thing that seems to calm me down is my gin, which I realize isn't a real friend. What the heck could be causing this? Why do dreams recur? I need some help, big guy!


No Reply


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Post #32 - War on Spam - mr. Frank Volume 5, 6/30/2009

Mr. Lance,

Thanks for your email but i got to understand your unseriousness in regards to my proposals, if you are really interesting in working with me, kidnly provide me with the required information i requested and if not then no need for us dealing as this is not a childs play.

Best Regards, and please be more specific.
Mr. Frank
My response to mr. Frank, 6/30/2009

Dear mr. Frank,

This is not a childs play? Unseriousness? Is that even a word? In any business relationship, there is give and take. Me giving you information like addresses, occupation (By the way, I need to update that--remind me), marital status, and a little thing called "Tell me about yourself."

And TELL, I did. I shared things with you that my own family doesn't yet know. Changes in family, employer, social standing, residence. I've shared with you my highest of highs, and lowest of lows. I explained to you that I need to be confident before I can share something like my bank account number. I asked you for a story about your most embarrassing moment. I even gave you a free character. I’ve done the heavy lifting in this partnership, so I don’t accept labels like “unseriousness” and “this is not a childs play”.

Does this make sense to you? I've been down this road before and been both rewarded and burnt. It's a 50/50 proposition--about half the time, it's not a real prize, but a scamola.

Now, it sounds as though you are getting cold feet. I was going to buy you a nice bracelet. The truth is, you've been through a lot with me. In some ways. you've become my songwriting muse. Last time I checked, #1 songs don't just fall out of the sky, but Peanut Butter Stomp is #1 on the charts right now. I'm on a jet out to California to do a guest thing for American Idol. Not to shabby.

The record weasels are really hounding me for a follow-up song. You're my inspiration. Here is what I have so far:

mr. Frank mr. Frank mr. Frank-Frank-Frank
mr. Frank mr. Frank. mr. Frank-Frank-Frank.
I like mr. Frank, do you like mr. Frank?

He makes me the best person that I can be.
Who is he? (He’s mr. Frank)

He builds me a tree house in a tall tree.
Who is he? (He’s mr. Frank)

He sends me notes when I am sad.
Who is he? (He’s mr. Frank)

He tells me tales like he’s my dad.
Who is he? (He’s mr. Frank)

mr. Frank mr. Frank mr. Frank-Frank-Frank
mr. Frank mr. Frank. mr. Frank-Frank-Frank.
I like mr. Frank, have you seen mr. Frank?

He’s happy. He’s rad. He’s really great.
He wants more info, and don’t be late.
He’s mr. Frank! mr. Frank. mr. Frank-Frank-Frank!

mr. Frank mr. Frank mr. Frank-Frank-Frank
mr. Frank mr. Frank. mr. Frank-Frank-Frank.
I like mr. Frank, oh where….is… mr. Frank?

Let me know what you think.

By the way, please update my Occupation to "#1 Song Writer, Composer, and Performer".


Lance E. Antsyinmypantsy
"#1 Song Writer, Composer, and Performer"

From http//

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Post #31 - Response to the Bubba Slappee Who Took Offense to Post #18 - 10/8/2009

This note came from an anonymous person. It speaks all about status quo, and accepting bad service. The personal stuff didn't bother me. The "buy another one" part did, in light of how the first one was handled.

I can just see you now, sitting there all alone in your 1 bedroom apartment. The room void of light except for that streaming from your 1989 Dell Tinitron monitor that takes up your entire work space. I'm going to let the world know how crass and frugal I am through a pathetic attempt at humor.

You sit there typing away with a clever smirk on your face. You feel bold behind a computer screen. You've never actually spoken to a woman in real life, and this is your chance to feel liberated and give Melissa a piece of your mind.

You think you letter is so witty that maybe they will actually take you seriously, or better yet, put your letter up on their website for the world to see.

You don't see the flaw in taking 4 hours of your time to write Bubba Keg a letter. It would make too much sense for you could take 5 minutes and drive to the store, drop the amount of money it would cost for a Happy Meal, and be the proud owner of a brand spankin new Bubba Keg. Oh wait, that would entail speaking to Wendy the check out girl.

Bubba Luva
Here is my response, also sent 10/9/2009

Dear Anonymous Person,

You paint quite a picture with all of your clever imagery--somebody was clearly on the receiving end of an A in Sophomore Composition. You brush with a mighty broad stroke, but surprisingly accurate. You missed on a couple of things though. It's a 1992 Super VGA monitor, a 2 room apartment (there's a small kitchenette and dining nook), and I have a mom and a sister and a niece so that's three women with whom I have talked. I can't afford a chair so I stand and type. And I can use the express lane to avoid Wendy, even though her perfume smells real nice. I just clam up when I'm around her.

In your anonymous note, you call my letter both crass and frugal, which I find to be a killer one-two punch. I respect your opinion that my attempt at humor is pathetic, and I'm sure you're not alone on this. Nonetheless, you seem to be equal parts bitter toward me, and impassioned about Bubba Keg. I wish I had your passion about something--anything. Are you president of the Bubba Keg Facebook Superfan Page?

You also mention how "you think you letter is so witty...yada yada...put it on their site for all to see." That would be a real treat. Can you make that happen, since you clearly work at the Bubba Keg Factory, on the new and improved design that doesn't pee on its consumers?

Let's talk about pathetic. I'm fine with everything you say, even the personal stuff, in your "I'm-bitter-toward-you-for-pointing-out-something-bad-about-Bubba-Keg" note. Everything except this: "It would make too much sense for you to drive to the store, drop the amount of money it would cost for a Happy Meal, and be the proud owner of a brand spanking new Bubba Keg." As someone with fifteen years of experience in the consumer field, both in design and quality, I take great offense to that. When you design a product, like, say, a coffee mug, you are supposed to take every function and potential failure into account. You are supposed to verify that design with testing. You have checks in place on your assembly line to prevent defects. You take the all-too-important customer feedback (positive and negative) and share it with the entire team, so they can keep doing the good things and fix the flaws. You "make it right" with the customer, because their word-of-mouth voice is your best or worst advertisement. Protect the customer, Bubba Luva, PROTECT THE CUSTOMER!

My mug was poorly designed. I took the time (4 hours, according to you) to share my feedback with In-Zone. In Melissa's reply, did you see any apology? All I saw was "you can go without your mug for 6 weeks while we send you a replacement lid, that we should have given you in the first place if we designed it right". Does it really take six weeks to take care of a dissatisfied customer? I offered to provide any info they needed about my mug, so they could just ship me the correct lid, to avoid interrupted service. I never heard back. Did Melissa and the fine team at In-Zone really protect the customer? I think not.

So your solution is to reward In-Zone and pad their bottom line by purchasing a second crappy mug. The same people designed this one--what if the handle falls off? I can hear the people now--"Serves you right--you bought a second one". No thanks. Your solution leaks worse than my turd-with-a-handle mug.

Do you work at the Bubba Keg Factory? I hope not--you're too big of a Bubba Keg Slappee. If you did, you'd know that my leaky gasket mug cost me at least $10, and a Happy Meal costs roughly half of that, depending on whether you order milk or a soft drink. But then, I’d only know what a Happy Meal costs if I had kids, which would require talking to a girl.

My letter communicated a real problem to Bubba Keg. I stand behind what I wrote.

Stay Classy!


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Post #30 - Purell Sanitizer: .01% Deadly? - 5/4/2009

This letter was sent 5/4/2009:

Dear Purell,

I am a germ freak. I’ve been using your products for years and years--after using restrooms, public ketchup, playground equipment, bowling balls, gas pumps, money, my own credit card, taking out the garbage, in church after shaking hands with the fellow next to me.
Do your products work? Who’s to say? I still get sick here and there.

I have always seen your ads, read the side of the dispenser, and noticed that your products kill 99.99 percent of the bacteria. That’s a lot of bacteria, but…not all of the bacteria. There is room for improvement.

Is Purell satisfied with the 99.99 percent? Are you working on that last .01%? Are we declaring things “close enough”? Is there a race with Germ-X to get to 100%?

Is this just the legal department covering all the bases in case Tommy’s trichinosis problem gets pinned on Purell? Because in court, how do we prove Tommy did not follow the directions, or even whether he used Purell at all?

What if the .01% is the bacteria that gets me? What then? How do you sleep at night? I am contemplating carrying a portable hand washing station in a backpack, wherever I go--Anti-bacterial soap, a bottle of water, a nice fluffy towel, and a stainless steel basin. That’s how I get to 100%

What are YOUR plans to get there? When you reach 100% I’ll come back, but not before then.


No Response--0.01% Customer Service

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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Post #29 - "Why I Love Faygo" Contest - 10/6/2009

I heard a commercial for this contest on the radio. I submitted this essay. The prize is a Wii, which we already own. I thought it would be cool, if I won, to donate it to Children's Hospital or something.

It's on

Dear Faygo,

Why do I love Faygo?

I can remember on Halloween, my kindergarten teacher asked us to put sticks and leaves in a pot. While my classmates and I played outside in the cool October air, a “Magical Witch” turned our sticks and leaves into delicious pot full of Faygo Orange. My childhood school and playground has since become another subdivision where the houses all look the same.

I can remember sharing a Faygo Red Pop with my Grandfather on the back porch, on a warm summer evening. We sat on the swing, and listened to Tiger baseball on the radio, as the sun slowly faded. I miss my Grandfather, and cherish those carefree summer nights.

I can remember spending a summer afternoon with my elderly neighbor, making Faygo Rootbeer floats and watching Bugs Bunny. My parents were both working, and in a pinch, and she happily agreed to "watch" me. In hindsight, Mrs. S. was much more like a member of our family. I miss being surrounded by so many great, loving neighbors.

I can remember Boy Scout Camp--my first real time away from home. Faygo Rock 'n' Rye made me feel less homesick. I have a lot of great memories of childhood friends up in Metamora, swimming and playing in the hot sun, and camping out beneath the stars.

I can remember coming home after a hot summer day at Boblo, and how an icy cold Faygo Lemon Lime tasted like the best thing in the world, on my parched throat. The cold can soothed my sun burnt forehead. I’d give anything for one more day at Boblo.

I can remember after that last game at Tiger Stadium, sitting in my car with my friends, in “our spot” by the old Train Station. We enjoyed one more Faygo Rootbeer before heading into the stadium for the last time. The new ballpark isgreat, but it's just not the same, calling a parking garage "our spot".

I can remember fighting back tears as I walked through my childhood home for the very last time. A two-liter bottle of Faygo Grape--my favorite of all of the Faygos--helped me through that sad day. I still remember the sad, sad look on Mrs. S's face as she stood in our driveway and watched as we pulled away for the last time. It really is true what they say, that "you can never go home”.

I can remember a lot of great people and places and times. Luckily, Faygo has always been interwoven in with my favorite memories. When I sip my Faygo, I can revisit those special people, places, and snapshots in time, if only for a moment.

Thank you Faygo, for being part of so many of my memories!


Sunday, October 4, 2009

Essay #3 – Trying to Do Something Positive

Throughout the course of my letter writing campaign, I’ve been on the receiving end of numerous freebies—shop vacs, sunglasses, watches, car alarms, fizz keepers, and lots and lots of coupons for free stuff. Lots of times, food manufacturers will “smooth it over” and avoid saying they’re wrong, or avoid telling me that I’m an idiot, by sending me coupons. For example, my letter about “tainted Jell-O” resulted in coupons for ten free boxes.

On one hand, I’m like “SCORE!” On the other hand, I feel like I should be giving something back. I have decided that for nonperishable coupons that I receive from companies, I’m going to cash them in and donate the items to the local food bank. In addition, I will “match” the donation with the cash-equivalent of canned goods. So, in the Jell-O example, the ten coupons are worth $1.25 each. I’ll donate the ten Jell-O’s, plus $12.50 worth of canned goods to the food pantry. I normally wait until Kroger has 10 for 10 on nonperishable items. It’s the least I can do.

Here’s a link if you’re interested.


Post #28 - Little Jerry versus President Clinton Vol 1. - 1/21/1996

This is the first of many letters to President Clinton. I had heard that it is difficult to get the Presidential Autograph. I thought I'd give it a try. This is as close to acting as I come. I sort of “became” a rambling third grader.

Dear President Clinton,

My name is Jerry. I’m a third grader. I voted for you in my class role model election. When I grow up, I will be President just like you. Did any Japanese people thank you when we gave them money after that earthquake? My mom always said you should write a nice note when someone gives you something nice or fancy.

In Social Studies Class I am doing my report on fixing the defisit. Its big. Heres my idea. I think we should tax the homeless people. Whenever daddy drives through the big city, they ask him for his money. He wont do it because he says they probably make more than he does. Besides once he bought a rolex watch from this guy and it turned his skin green in the shower.

I did a math problem to figure out a way to be fair. If there are 7 million homeless, we could tax them by the size of there box. At one dollar per square foot, and the average box is 8 square feet, that is (7,000,000 people x 1 dollar x 8 square feet) = 56 million dollars a year. That’s a lot of money. What do you think? I need information from you for my report. What would be neat is a nice fancy autograph picture to show my class and also Joey when I see him. So please tell me what you think. Please send an autograph.

Your Fan,


P.S. What do you think of dogs?

Mother’s Note: Jerry’s Step-Father and I question his idea. He wrote George Bush when he was in kindergarten, and got an autographed picture. Is there any way you could do this for him? Thank you.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Post #27 - My Angry Note to NBC about JoeVision - 6/9/2009

In the past, during Stanley Cup Playoffs, the games have been televised at Joe Louis Arena. Fans could come enjoy the fan experience, eating the concessions and buying Red Wing wearables. NBC said "No" this year.

By the way, it didn't end the way it was supposed to.....

Dear NBC,

Let’s cut through all of the crap. Your decision to disallow “JoeVision” at Joe Louis Arena for tonight’s Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena is based solely on Nielson Ratings. You clearly don’t care about the fan experience, the additional revenue that this would create for Mr. Illitch, and for the City. For you, it’s the bottom line—10,000 fans watching one television doesn’t translate to rating points, even though it’s a captive audience to your coverage and sponsors.

I find this ridiculous.

First, almost anyone willing to pack into an arena is now going to go to a bar showing the game. The remaining Would-Be-Joe-Vision crowd is either a) partial to the less Pittsburgh-biased CBC coverage, or b) boycotting NBC for disallowing JoeVision. In the end, you’ve done nothing to help your own cause, and you’ve turned a captive audience of 10,000 away from your sponsors. Nice job!

And while we’re talking about your sponsors, are the Penguins one of them? I’ve never seen more unabashed love given to a team or the supposed poster child, as I’ve seen toward the Penguins or Pierre McGuire. It’s a little disgusting. I understand trying to build up the series and to “push” the stars, but even your own commentators were ribbing Pierre over his Crosby fetish. Cut it out! Give Sid some personal space!

I for one, will be happy to watch the NBC coverage. Because at some point, between the time the puck drops tonight, and the time Lidstrom hoists that Cup, someone from NBC is going to have to give Detroit some credit. It may be hidden between the “This Pittsburgh team is young—they’ll be up and coming” comments. It’ll be fun watching Pierre choke back that lump in his throat.



cc: Mr. Illitch