Search This Site

Friday, April 27, 2012

Post# 254 - West Virginia Brand Ham and Kevin's Coming-Out-of-a-Coma Party

My Mom bought a ham.  It had an excessive amount of fat.  We each decided to write a letter complaining.  My mom told the story as it happened--she "bought the ham for Easter and it was a little more fatty than we prefer."  West Virginia Brand Ham gave her a $3 coupon.

In my letter, I decided to embellish.  I didn't embellish the facts: that the ham was too fatty.  I painted a more interesting picture.  Which approach worked better?  I sent this on 3/18/1996.
Dear West Virginia,

When I bought your ham for my brother’s coming-out-of-a-coma celebration, I sacrificed twice as much cash as I normally would.  I paid for quality--the West Virginia Ham and Hearth brand name!  Normally I walk past your hams because I cannot afford them. On this occasion, I really wanted to impress my future in-laws with a luscious dinner consisting of ham, candied yams (Little Kevin calls them “Yammies”), mashed potatoes, dressing, and tossed salad.  The bitter joke at the end of the evening was that Kevin spent eight months in a coma, and thanks to West Virginia Ham and Hearth, he would spend eight more.  The stinging sound of laughter still burns my ears, as would the abrasive salt on a sourdough pretzel sting an open flesh wound. 

Imagine my surprise when I found out I was serving celluloid!  My future in-laws each had puzzled looks on their faces.  I was embarrassed.  Kyle just had bypass surgery!  There must have been an inch of fat around the outside.

The pig from this ham was taken must not have been very healthy.  Maybe he was a “channel-surfin’ couch potato” like “Arnold” from Green Acres! I recommend some sort of exercise program for the pigs to keep them fit.  Who knows--it might even make their lives more complete as they lay on their little pig pillows at night.

I just want to reiterate my dissatisfaction with your product.  As a former farmer who raised prize winning sows in three consecutive fairs, I feel that some sort of written explanation would not be too much to ask!

Feeling Boned,


My response, sent 5/6/1996:

Dear West Virginia:

There are a few things in life that really bother me:

1) The fact that John Mellencamp keeps changing his name.

2) When I have that dream that I’m falling, and I wake up with my heart racing.

3) Crab spelled with a K.

4) That “helpful” person who, when am looking for something I lost, offers “Where did you put it?”

5) Companies who fail to respond to their customers’ concerns in a timely fashion.

What’s the deal?  I wrote you back in March about this celluloid-infested ham you fed my family with at my brother’s coming-out-of-a-coma celebration.  It was an embarrassment--especially considering the occasion.  To this day, my in-laws jokingly call me the “Grim Reaper.”  I’ve taken to sniffing mothballs and kerosene to deal with the discomfort I feel around them now.

When I bought your ham, you were there to collect my money.  I guess the story changes when you have my hard earned cash in your hand.  What are you doing differently now to assure me that my next West Virginia Ham won’t be “the before picture.”  Have you implemented an aerobics instructor?  Heres an idea:  Turn your facility into a “Spanish Mock-Up" and have “the running of the pigs."  Buy some hoola hoops and teach them.  Maybe just feed them grapefruit and celery.  My point is:  your customers want lean meat.  If you want them to be around for years and years, stop clogging their arteries with massive layers of pig celluloid!  You’ll kill them, I tell ya.  Enough said.

I still feel that some sort of written explanation would not be too much to ask...

All Clogged Up,

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for your very colorful letter informing us of your recent dissatisfaction with our WEST VIRGINIA BRAND HAM.  Please accept my apology for the delay in responding to you; however, your letter just reached our office.  It was forwarded to us by our promotional clearing house.

Your interest in bringing the problem to our attention is appreciated.  To prove to you that you can depend on the quality of our products, enclosed is a coupon to replace the product that you found unsatisfactory. 

It is consistent policy of Hygrade to provide the highest and purest product available to our customers.  However, when millions of pounds of products are processed and shipped from our manufacturing facilities across the country, it is not unlikely that a few will be misjudged.  Please accept our apology for any inconvenience that this inconvenience caused you.

Concerned consumers like you maje it possible for us to take the necessary steps to prevent mistakes such as the one you experienced from happening again.  We hope you will continue to be our valued customer and our products will meet your fullest expectations.


Consumer Affairs Manager

Reference P10-174-6

My response to Diana, Customer Affairs Manager, sent 6/1/1996
Dear Diana:

I am writing to thank you for the letter which detailed the trifles of the animal flesh industry.  In addition, I appreciate the wonderful coupon for a free ham.  I immediately picked one up and cooked it for my family--the same people who, for months, called me the grim reaper.   The response: OVERWHELMING SATISFACTION.

I now crave water in the worst way.  At night, I wake up and jump in the pool to drink as much and as quickly as I can.  You see, ever since your free ham coupon, I’ve had ham every meal (have you ever had a “hamshake?”).  In the wake of my animal flesh satisfaction, I am left absolutely parched.  It’s like a forest fire--I just keep on feeding it water, and it rages on!

I have prepared ham in every manner known to mankind, and, this fall, intend to publish a “ham-only” cookbook.  If you are interested in some of my recipes, let me know, I will forward them, no charge.  Some recipes include: Cajun Ham Salad, Marinated Ham Steaks, “Scam-a-Ham-Thank-You-Ma’am” Sandwiches, and Honey-Ham Gelatin with Fresh Pineapple Slices.

I’ll bet with millions of pounds of meat (as you stated in the letter), the sight of blood and the sounds of agonizing shrieks are commonplace--something to gage what time it is.   Luckily, as consumers, we are shielded from this unsightly and inhumane act of slaughter.  I’ll bet if the roles were reversed, and the pigs were killing us by the millions, President Clinton would do something about it (then again, probably not).

We just get to load our diet with the end result, and gradually replace all fruits, vegetables, grains and dairy with one product---ham.  I figure that if you fed the pigs all those foods, its safe for me to eat the pig and gain these nutrients, right?  Makes sense to me.

As I polish off this last ham-kabob, I must finish this letter so that I can check on my ham jerky.  In closing, I want to once again thank you, Diana, for your courtesy.



Follow me on Twitter: @hermanletters
Follow me on Facebook

No comments:

Post a Comment