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Friday, July 29, 2011

Post # 196 - Crest For Kids Choke-A-Kid Toothpaste Cap

My letter to Crest, sent 6/9/2011:

Dear Crest,
When a child is brought into the world, parents have responsibilities.  Childproof the cupboards.  Put those little plastic things in all of the unused outlets.  Remove any lead based paint.  If the dog is mean with kids, adios, Spot.  Cut things like grapes and hot dogs into tiny pieces.
Forward thinking companies like Fisher Price came to the party, making their Little People a little less little.  Other companies like General Mills developed cereals with a built in air hole.  Did you know that choking is the fourth leading cause of unintentional death in children under the age of 5, and that children under age 5 are at greatest risk for choking injury and death.  Children under the age of 5 have teeth that must be brushed.
You seem to put the flip caps on some of your toothpastes, but not others.  Travel Crest has a removable cap because there’s nothing like searching the hotel bathroom floor for a stray cap, wondering if, and praying that the hotel maids did a downtown job cleaning the floor. 
Why does Kid’s Crest have a twist off cap that could choke a kid?   Why?  Give me one good reason that isn’t “the flip thing gets clogged.”  That’s the least of a parent’s worries.  There isn’t a good reason, and you and I both know it.  Let’s face it—this all comes down to dollars and cents.

Why not redesign the tube to accommodate a big, big flip cap—a flip cap that couldn’t choke Andre the Giant in his heyday. 
I would appreciate a written explanation.   If you need, I’ll come down there and design it for you.
Crest response, sent 6/10/2011:
Hi Jerry,

Thanks for contacting Crest.

We appreciate your taking the time to share your suggestions for possible improvements to Crest. While I can’t promise anything, many of our decisions to change or improve products are based on feedback from concerned consumers like you. Please be assured I’m sharing your recommendations with the rest of the Crest Team.

Thanks again for getting in touch!

Crest Team
Subject: RE: Thank you for contacting P&G [ ref:00D7JViV.5007HQSH3:ref ]
Date: Tue, 28 Jun 2011

Hi Laure,

I'm just following up.  So what'd they say?  Clearly when it was brought up that a children's toothpaste cap could choke a child, someone in the board room took the assignment to fix it.

In a society that halves its grapes and puts holes in its cereal, how could this cap pass the laugh test?

The Jart people responded swiftly.  The Easy Bake Oven people turned that thing into something that isn't even fun anymore.  At least it's safe though.

What will Crest do?


No Reply
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Monday, July 25, 2011

Post # 195 - Another Run at DirecTV - Another Price Increase

In the past, I've vented to these folks.  They sent a nice note last month, warning me about a price increase.    I sent this on 3/3/2011.

Dear DirecTV,

I've been a loyal subscriber for 9 years.  I'm seriously considering canceling my DirecTV.

You recently sent a love note indicating that our bill is increasing.  I waited for that first bill.  The bill increased $5.  I remember it increased something similar a few years ago as well.

Recently, when there was a dispute between DirecTV and Versus over money, you removed it from the lineup "to keep prices down."  You made it sound like you were trying to protect me, the customer from paying outrageous prices.  Once you finished negotiating, you quietly reintroduced it.  Then one sunny January day, BOOM!  Pay us 5 percent more.

You took away ESPN Classic from our package and moved it from the 200's to the 600's so "we wouldn't miss it as much".  You made it so we have to have "Total Choice Plus" in order to have a DVR.   We don't watch most of the channels in the plus package, and could easily get by with a lesser package, but no...because we like taping shows and rewinding when we didn't hear something, we pay about $20 a month more than we should.

What exactly am I getting for my five percent more?  The Oprah channel?  Is that what this price bump is all about.  Is the nun channel raising their rates?

Once upon a time, I suggested cafeteria-style programming.  I'd pay fifty cents per channel and cut out all the fat.  I don't watch the Home Living Network.  I don't watch the Tennis Channel.  I don't watch the Liquidation Channel.   I don't watch HGTV.  I don't watch Syfy.  I don't watch TruTV.  I don't watch Oxygen.  I don't watch Lifetime.  I don't watch the Lifetime Movie Network.  I don't watch Chiller.  I don't watch WeTV.  I don't watch SoapNet.  I don't watch Logo.  I don't watch the TV Guide Network.  I don't watch Baby First TV.  I don't watch Sleuth.  I don't watch the Hallmark Channel.  I don't watch Jewelry TV. I don't watch Posh TV.  I don't watch Uplift TV.  I don't watch
America's Auction Network.  I don't watch the Sonlife Broadcasting Network.  I don't watch GAC.  I don't watch CMT.  I don't watch TV One.  I don't watch BET.  I don't watch Centric.  I don't watch Gospel Music.  I don't watch Free Speech TV.    I don't watch Resort and Residence TV. I don't watch Golden Eagle Broadcasting.  I don't watch the Inspiration Network.  I don't watch God TV.   I don't watch Jewish Life.  I don't watch World Harvest Television.  I don't watch the Hope Network.  I don't watch the Daystar Television Network.  I don't watch EWTN.  I don't watch the Church Channel.  I don't watch the Trinity Broadcasting Channel.  I don't watch the Word Network.  I don't watch BYU Television.  I don't watch Link TV.  I don't watch the Christian Television Network.  I don't watch the Tri-State Christian Network.  I don't watch the National Religious Broadcasters.  The 400's are all Hispanic and soccer channels. I'll pass.

From what I can see, I'm paying for a lot of fat.  And $5 a month to rent a second box that, if I had standard cable, wouldn't be necessary unless I wanted my young kids watching HBO.

Give me reasons.  Give me something to cling to.  Why am I staying with DirecTV?  Why aren’t I canceling my movie channels and going with Netflix?



No Reply

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Friday, July 22, 2011

Post # 194 - Why I've Switched From Delta to Southwest

I've been disapppointed with Delta of late, and thought I should let them know.  This was sent on 3/15/2011.

Dear Delta,

A few months back, my wife and I were planning a trip to visit my parents in Phoenix, AZ.  As a lifelong NWA and Delta loyalist, I fought hard to book NWA.  My wife cited my meager salary as a muffler sales associate, and that every dime counts.  When we checked your fares against your competition, they were competitive with the other airlines.  On the surface.

On the surface.

With your new baggage fees, we had to factor in at least $100 extra for four bags (one per family member).  With your cancellation and transfer fees, we needed to be very sure of our travel plans (no last minute trip changes allowable due to my job, else we pay $150 per ticket in change fees).

I knew all of this going in, and having recently exhausted my miles on a Disney trip for the family, my mother offered to transfer 30,000 miles to cover one of the $267 tickets.  As my caring mother, a mother of four, processed the paperwork on your website, she was prompted to pay a transfer fee of $306.  I’m not exactly sure, nor do I care how you arrived at this number, but it works out to roughly a penny a mile.

$306 to process a transfer of miles to cover a $267 ticket.  Very cute.  Miles are transferable, my ass.

We felt rejected, so we booked our flights on Southwest.  Baggage fees?  Nope.  Transfer fees?  Nope.  Cancellation fees?  Nope.

Maybe SWA went through all of the same downsizing, pay and benefit reductions that Delta and NWA have previously endured.  I don’t really know.  All I know is, the crew on both of our flights were chipper, cheerful, and a tad bit sassy.  We had a great time—probably the most relaxed flights I’ve ever been on.

The flight attendants came by with snacks.  “This is buffet style. Take as many as you want.”  I took two snacks and pulled out $10 like I’m accustomed to paying on Delta.  He told me to put it away.

Snack fees?  Nope.

Then, after taking my drink order, he came out with beverages on a tray.  No drink cart to whack my elbow or make bathroom access impossible.

Annoying beverage cart?  Nope.

I would like to thank you for trying to double charge my mother for her hard earned miles.  I would also like to thank you for nickel and diming me for these past several years, charging extra for window and isle seats (so I can get whacked by the beverage cart).

Maybe I ate $1.50 worth of snacks.  Southwest realizes that they’re creating loyalty.  Maybe I drank $1.00 worth of carbonated beverages (they came around at least twice on a four hour flight).  It felt like I was a guest, and not a just a napping wallet held captive.

I solemnly promise, whenever possible, I’m going to fly Southwest from now on.  And I’m telling everybody.  I’m sorry—I’m fed up.  Take a lesson from Southwest.

Your Former Loyal Customer,

Jerry Herman
cc: Southwest
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 -0500

Dear Jerry

RE: Case Number 2901670

Thank you for contacting Delta Air Lines. On behalf of Delta Air Lines,
I sincerely apologize for our fare rule policy and the lack of customer
service provided to you.

Our goal is to surpass your expectations in each and every way. We
expect our employees to provide helpful, courteous service at all times.
When we fail to do so, we will work even harder to make it right for
you. We also recognize that quality customer service is essential to
the continued success of our company. I recognize your frustration when
you wanted to visit your parents and your mother wanted to help you with
her miles but was unable to do so because of the fares prices. I regret
your disappointment with our on board services. Your feedback is
important to us, and I have shared your comments with the responsible
leadership team.

Mr. Herman, I want to thank you, again, for writing. As a valued
SkyMiles member, we appreciate your interest in our company.


Sylvia M. Thomas
Coordinator, Customer Care
Delta Air Lines/KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
Subject: FW: CC-Customer Care-Complaint-Other (KMM7089671V89244L0KM)
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 2011 23:18:55 -0400


Thanks for the response. 

Just to clarify, the issue wasn't fare prices. 

It was:
1) Charging my mom a penny per mile to transfer miles that she earned through her loyalty to Delta, and that cost exceeding the price of the ticket she was trying to purchase. 

2) All the naggy fees, which I guess translates into price, so maybe you're right.


Below is the response from Southwest when I cc'ed them:Date: Fri, 25 Mar 2011 20:44:39 -0500
Subject: Southwest Airlines Response to Your Inquiry (SR #2379344835)

Dear Jerry,

Thank you so much for your e-mail. We always enjoy hearing from our Friends, and your kind comments are truly appreciated.

We pride ourselves as being the "airline that LUV built," and we are continually trying to find new ways to express that LUV to our Customers. We simply try to offer our valued Customers what they want the most--safe, friendly, efficient service, on frequent,
ontime flights, at an affordable price to the best destinations! We take a great deal of pride in the service we offer, and we feel that there is no carrier better than Southwest in terms of service with a personal and caring touch.

You are very special to all of us here at Southwest, and we look forward to seeing you onboard real soon.

Susan, Southwest Airlines
The file reference number for your e-mail is 2379344835.

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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Post # 193 - War On Spam - Jonathan and His Random Gibberish

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2010 01:10:36 -0800
From: "Jonathon"
Subject: Make it Larger. Check it out. punishment

Make it Larger. Check it out. bread


Subject: RE: Make it Larger. Check it out. punishment
Date: Mon, 26 Apr 2010 23:32:53 -0400

Hey Jonathan,

Why are we putting random words at the end of sentences? nail polish.

What are we making larger? artichokes. What's with the bread? mops. Are you selling yeast? swiss cheese.

What's the punishment? oranges.

Pip Von Smipple creamed corn. anger management.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Post # 192 - Miller Lite and Their Vortex Marketing Gimmick

I sent this on 5/4/2010.
Dear Miller Brewing,

I realize that by mentioning your new Vortex bottle, you can proclaim partial success with the marketing. However, don’t get too excited. I take issue with your new Miller Lite Vortex bottle.

If we believe the publicity hype, the goal is to “create buzz and excitement and give consumers another reason to choose Miller.” What the hell does that actually mean?

I’m not going to dig into the sciences of fluid mechanics—I leave that to the team that created the wide mouth cans and bottles. Here’s what I know: the secret to winning a beer chugging contest is spinning the bottle. By spinning the beer for your consumer, you’re helping them chug faster.

I’m sure you’re going to vehemently deny that you intend to make people drink faster (and more) of your beverages. I’m sure you’re going to hide behind the “create buzz and excitement” line of thinking. If you’re basically saying that your consumer base needs a gimmick to buy more of your beer, aren’t you insulting their intelligence?

Back to the “drink faster” theory. If I drink faster because the bottle helps me, then I suppose you’ve done your job. You’ve created a buzz.

Nice job. Don’t forget to keep throwing the “chug responsibly” disclaimer in there at the end.



PS – I laughed at this statement on your website FAQ:


Take heart... Beer has no fat and no cholesterol. Most beers have about 13 calories per ounce, compared, for example, to champagne with 25 and chablis with 22. Take a look at the nutritional information for each of our brands.

Way to dodge that one.
No Reply

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Post # 191 - Netflix and Their Price Incease Way of Thanking Us

This note appeared in my inbox on 7/13/2011:

Dear Jerry,

We are separating unlimited DVDs by mail and unlimited streaming into two separate plans to better reflect the costs of each. Now our members have a choice: a streaming only plan, a DVD only plan, or both.

Your current $9.99 a month membership for unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs will be split into 2 distinct plans:

   Plan 1: Unlimited Streaming (no DVDs) for $7.99 a month
   Plan 2: Unlimited DVDs, 1 out at-a-time (no streaming) for $7.99 a month

Your price for getting both of these plans will be $15.98 a month ($7.99 + $7.99). You don't need to do anything to continue your memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVDs.

These prices will start for charges on or after September 1, 2011.

You can easily change or cancel your unlimited streaming plan, unlimited DVD plan, or both, by going to the
Plan Change page in Your Account.

We realize you have many choices for home entertainment, and we thank you for your business. As always, if you have questions, please feel free to call us at 1-888-357-1516.

–The Netflix Team

Dear Netflix,

In April, it was announced that your earnings were up 88% from a year ago.  I'm sure you were grateful to your loyal and growing consumer base.  So grateful, in fact, you decided to make some changes to your plans.  You decided to split the plans to "better reflect your costs."

Thank you for better reflecting your costs.  They are definitely more reflective now.  And it's great that people have a choice between one, the other or both.  For me to keep both one disc at a time and streaming, it's a 60 percent increase.  Thank you!

I appreciate my choice.  And hey, don't worry about the 60 percent increase--I just received a 60 percent raise.  I was actually wondering, as many people do, how I would spend my extra cash.  The odd thing here is the timing.  Blockbuster is more or less done, and they were your main competition.

Most companies sort of gradually increase their prices, in concert with inflation.  Not you though.  But at least you reassured me by pointing out that "I don't need to do anything to continue my memberships for both unlimited streaming and unlimited DVD's."  I was worried that I'd have to do something to accept the price increase.

What does "Better Reflect Our Costs" even mean?  That's a big pile of smelly poo hidden in a delightful, warm, moist, freshly baked whole wheat submarine roll.

You'd better wake up.  This decision has a LOT of people talking--people who turned to you when movie theatre ticket prices became too expensive.  People are still down and struggling.  Underemployment, mounting debt, and now a 60 percent increase on their Netflix bill.

Stay Classy.

My email was bounced back.  As it turns out, there is no way of actually emailing on the Netflix site, which I find to be odd.  That probably means that all they have are phone people.
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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Post #190 - Is McDonald's Selling "P?"

I sent this on 3/10/2011:

Dear McDonald's,

As the foreman of a seven man road crew in sunny Arizona, we rely heavily on your products.  Each day, we stop at one of your several institutions in the greater Phoenix area for breakfast and also lunch.  By lunchtime, the temperatures can climb into the high 90's, so a large beverage to go isn't a luxury--it's a requirement.

The other day, I took my son, Jimmy to McDonald's for his weeky McNugget and Playland outing with his broithers, Kimmy, Timmy, Tommy, and Bob.  My son, wise beyond his years, pointed out the "P" designation on his beverage lid. 

He asked me:

1) Does McDonald's serve "P?"
2) If so, what kind of crazy person would order that?
If you could provide some feedback, that would be great.  From my perspective, I think the P designation is great.  Let me explain why.

Once in a while, one of the crew runs into, (I'm going to put this delicately) a bathroom problem.  A bladderful of McDonald's Latte and Dr. Pepper can really create an emergency, especially when the nearest gas station is 5 miles away.  Sometimes, the guys need a "container" to use.  With no means of disposal, unfortunately, the cup must be placed in your glorious (invention of the century?) beverage carriers.  The problem comes when one of the thirsty fellows hasn't gotten the memo about the cup of waste.

I can't tell you how grateful I am that you've added the "P" category to your drink lids.  This makes it so much easier to warn the others of a "Code Yella."

Did you add the "P" to help people like me in the labor industry, as a beacon, sort of a beverage amber alert? 

Another good one would be a "T" category.  Sometimes, Sid likes to chew tobacco and spit in his empty beverage cup.  If you aren't paying attention and grab the wrong cup... you know what happens.

Please advise on the "P" designation for Jimmy.


Date: Sat, 12 Mar 2011 04:02:28 -0600
Subject: Message from McDonald's USA

Hello Jerry:

Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald's.

We truly appreciate when customers take the time to share their comments or questions with us. However, at this time, I do not have the answer to your question and must conduct some research to provide you with an accurate response. I will reply as soon as I have this information.

Again, thanks for e-mailing McDonald's. We appreciate your patience and understanding.
McDonald's Customer Response Center


Date: Sun, 20 Mar 2011 04:00:51 -0500
Subject: Message from McDonald's USA

Hello Jerry:

Thank you for taking the time to contact McDonald's.

I appreciate your interest in our packaging.  The "P" on the soft drink lid stands for Dr Pepper or in some locations Pibb Xtra. I hope this information has been helpful.

Again, thank you for contacting McDonald's. We hope to have the opportunity of serving you again soon under the Golden Arches.

McDonald's Customer Response Center

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Sunday, July 10, 2011

Post # 189 - War on Spam - Pregnant Gemma and Her Gogles

Subject: easier living
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2010 23:23:24 +0800

hey i missed you! i've gone through alot recently then i seen a guide to make money online with gogles links I know its seems odd but i make more than ever now from my house lol take a look at the introduction @ fox news
Subject: RE: easier living

Date: Sat, 6 Mar 2010 17:25:01 -0500
Hey Gemma,

Great to hear from you again! I seen the links too when I was gogling.

I missed you too. I hope you're doing well. I have a feeling you're pregnant because you missed a couple periods.

While you're working from your house there, you should probably figure out who the father is this time.

Have a great day. Tell me some more about those gogle links.

Monty Christosamitch

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Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Post# 188 - Whirlpool Craptastic Valve and Customer Service

I sent this to Whirlpool on 3/20/2011. 

Dear Whirlpool,

Three years ago, my father, who lives outside Phoenix, was in the market for a new hot water heater.  He wavered between brands.  I convinced him to buy a Whirlpool.  As a Michigan resident, I know that Whirlpool is based in Michigan, and I wanted to support Michigan businesses.

My father spent more for a Whirlpool.  He spent $909 for his hot water heater, and felt that he made a good purchase.

Here is the problem.  Hot water heaters need to be drained periodically.  My dad’s water is high in lime, so three times a year, he must open the valve, remove the gunk, and close the valve.  The problem is, you equipped his $909 hot water heater with a craptastic fifty-nine cent plastic valve that doesn’t even have a handle.

Three times a year, my dad has to dig out a screw driver and insert into a tiny slot, and crank it.  After three years (twelve service operations), the valve started leaking.  The valve was a piece of crap.

My dad probably spent $10 on a nice brass design with a ball valve and a handle.  The valve is much, much more durable, and much, much easier to handle.  In doing so, he won’t have to call another service rep out to fix his hot water heater.

I guess my point in writing is, my Dad did it right.  Why didn’t you?  If lime build-up is the Achilles heal of a hot water heater, and you designed the Achilles heal out of crapper-ware plastic, didn’t you cut corners and sell my dad short?

I’m embarrassed for recommending Whirlpool, a company with Michigan ties, to my father in Arizona.  You should be ashamed.  I know I am.


Sidenote: their website required me to "choose a product" and enter model # and serial #.  The site doesn't, however, provide "Gas Hot Water Heater" as an option.  So I selected "washer."

Regardless, No Reply.
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