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Monday, May 28, 2012

Post# 260 - Hoyle Products and The Missing Ace of Spades - 2/23/1996

A coworker of mine complained about a deck of Hoyle playing cards that was missing the Ace of Spades.  I sent this on 2/23/1996.

Dear Jokers:

High stakes.   It was my fourteenth summer.  My buddies and I discovered poker--we played every Friday night.  We really thought we owned the world.  Remember that movie, Stand By Me?  That was us--Kevin was our leader, wise in the ways of the world, and my best friend. 

On our paper route, people would claim that they had no money to pay.  Ol’ Kevin decided to wait for the pizza delivery boy to pull up, and we’d get to the front porch first.  Like a lot of kids, Kevin came up with the idea of recycling our leftover newspapers by the pound for tickets to sporting events, but only Kevin thought of wetting the newspapers to make them heavier.  Afterwards, we’d take some of our earnings and split a grape soda. 

On my fourteenth birthday, Kevin gave me a brand new watch, engraved with “Jer & Kev, Buddies Forever.”  He announced that he had taken a job with the local auto dealership--Hal Burton’s Used Cars.  Later on that year, Kevin was smothered on Hal’s roof, under the weight of one of those huge inflatable gorilla things that they stick on top of auto dealerships to draw business.  Hal claimed no responsibility, and to this day, I despise that two-bit, penny pinching bastard.

We still play poker--at higher stakes.  We’ve opened our games up to whoever wants to play, and a few Fridays ago, Hal Burton stopped by with a pocketful of greenbacks.  A master card player, he managed to empty everyones’ pockets--except mine.  An irreverent man, he continuously made references to Kevin, and the manner by which he perished.  In any event, it came down to the final hand--a showdown between Hal and me. 

I had every penny on the table, and when Hal upped the ante, I had to put Kevin’s watch down.  I was safe--with the ten, jack, queen, and king of spades in my hand.  I took one card,  a four of hearts.  Dammit--where was that ace?  When he called, I unveiled my cards, disappointed as I was.  He had a royal flush--in hearts.  I became ill as I watched him put my watch on.  As I searched the deck--a brand new Hoyle, I found no ace of spades.  What’s the deal?  How can I be expected to play cards without the ace?  

With each new spring, I stand on the front porch, Java in hand, and welcome the April mornings, with the rising sun glistening through the dew drops, and the robins chirping in our birch.  I cannot help but think of Kevin.  His loud, almost forced giggle, his reassuring words after being cut from the wrestling squad, the way he could make me laugh in catechism without even saying a word.  I’ll never forget him.  He was irreplaceable.

These days, I work two evenings a week at Hal’s dealership, trying to pay back the debt I owe.  I can’t help but feel that this is partly your responsibility.  Please send a written explanation as to how the card could be missing.

Deal With Me,

No Reply.
Follow-up, sent 4/25/1996:

Dear 52 Pick-Em-Uppers:

There are only a few things in life that I can’t stand:

            1) That friend, who, when you’re moving a refrigerator, says “it’s not heavy, it’s just awkward.”
            2) When someone steps on the back of my shoe, rendering me immobile.

            3) When I want to sneeze, but can’t.

            4) Any urinal conversation.

            5) When a company fails to respond to a concern with one of their products in timely fashion.

Back in February, I wrote to you  about a brand new deck of your cards, which, during a high stakes poker game, was found to be missing the Ace of Spades!  The result: my arch-nemesis--my personal Darth Vader Figure-- owns two nights per week of my life at his auto dealership; and my engraved watch, which was given to me by my friend who died because of “Darth.”

All I asked for was a written response as to how you could sell a deck missing the Ace of Spades.  Is it a cost saving idea?  51 cards?  Why not start with the Jokers.  I don’t understand.  Maybe someone else got an extra ace.  This other guy probably just bought a house on the rich side of town, because he won his poker game.  Maybe someday I can work for him.  Maybe he can give me a little tiny raise, so I can put bread on my table instead of cat food, and buy schoolbooks for my children. 

In the meantime, I’m going to load up my van and drive to Washington, D.C. To lobby support for the illegalization of 

A) The inflatable animals which companies use to promote business (and smother my best friend, Kevin, to death).

B) The illegalization of spandex--if a few bad apples can’t realize that they should not wear it, then they’re going to spoil it for the rest of us.

I am asking again for your written response--a summary explaining the reason for 51 cards instead of 52.  Please note that I have moved since my last letter.

 No Trace of Ace,


P.S. If you find my ace laying around, enclose it with your written explanation

Hoyle Products' Response, sent May 14, 1996.

Dear Jerry,

We are in receipt of both of your letters regarding your defective deck of playing cards.

We apologize for not being able to respond to your letters until now.  Usually we respond within a two week time frame, but we have been very very busy.  All our products do come fully guaranteed.

Under a separate cover, we are sending replacements for your defective deck.

Sorry to hear about your dear friend Kevin, good friends are hard to replace.  Hope your Washington trip was successful.  A nice tribute in Kevin’s honor.

Hope life is kinder in the future and you are able to win your treasured watch back.  We also hope your debt with the dealership is coming to an end too.  We appreciate your interest in Hoyle Products.

Customer Service

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Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Post# 259 - Does Fredericks of Hollywood Carry Pregnant Maternity Wear?

For this one, I stepped a little far out of the male hetero comfort zone, but I did it on behalf of all of the lovely ladies out there.
My note to Robert Genest, President of Frederick's of Hollywood, dated 3/20/1998:
Dear Mr. Genest,

It began as a college Halloween costume party gag.  I thought my costume might draw a hearty chuckle from my fraternity brothers.  However, when I arrived wearing a halter top, miniskirt, fishnet hose, and a pair of red pumps I was greeted with jeers and ridicule.  I was alienated and banished by my so-called friends.  The humility that I felt was overshadowed by stronger feelings of liberation.  I was finally in touch with my inner self.

No longer was I merely a cog in a society that "manufactures" workers.  I had exchanged my one-dimensional friends for individuality.  October 31, 1994 was my Independence day.  Thereafter, I dressed in drag everywhere I went, purchasing all of my clothes at Frederick's of Hollywood.  Once I had been ostracized by every last member of my family,  I migrated from the Bible Belt north to Michigan and maintained this liberating role as a woman.

Womanhood  had its advantages--lady's night meant free drinks.  Eager gentlemen held doors open.  Rednecks in big trucks honked.  But I felt awkward declining the endless propositions--I didn't dare set foot in a truck stop. 

Then, it happened.  I was invited to a candle party at the home of a coworker.  I met the most wonderful male friend of the host.  Intrigued by a man who defied of society's mores to attend a female function, I was encountering strange new feelings.  Patrick's defiance inspired me to corner him for a date.  I was dumfounded when he agreed.

Our date went well until the end.  We each had a confession.  My dark secret was greeted with a pleasant surprise-- that Patrick was actually a "Patricia," unbeknownst to every single person in her (his) life.  A few years back, Patricia was passed over for a promotion because of her gender.  Like me, she moved to Michigan seeking a new beginning with her new "gender."  Patricia is an orphan, so she has no ties back in Cuyahoga Falls.

To make a long story short, we are now married and Patricia is pregnant.  Because I have assumed the woman role in the public eye, I must act out the pregnancy.  When Patricia begins showing, we must keep her (him) out of sight. 

Do you carry maternity wear?  It only seems fair that you would--your apparel causes pregnancy.  You were there for the party--now you should pay the piper.  Please respond--and if you indeed offer a maternity catalog, send me a copy.  If not, I am open to suggestions.  If it helps, my size is 34-36-34 (I was a husky bride).  I plan to use the pillows from my couch (12" by 12" by 3" each), and begin a steady diet of fried chicken and apple fritters.

Please provide some information so that Patricia and I might remain discrete during in this very challenging time.  Eventually, we'll need all our energy for the dreaded "Birds and Bees" talk.  I think Patricia and I will employ the  rock/scissors/paper method to decide who delivers that speech.  In the mean time, I am reading up on pregnancy so I can know just which symptoms to fake.

Dodging Springer's Calls,

Mr. Genest's response, dated 3/27/1998:

Dear Jerry,

In response to your letter of 3/20/1998. Frederick's of Hollywood does not carry maternity wear or have a maternity catalog.

Thank you for your interest in Frederick's of Hollywood.


Robert Genest
President, Retail Stores
Response, sent 3/32/1998:

Dear Mr. Genest,

I appreciate your response and am disappointed by the content.  As a reluctant transvestite, I found solace in your attire.  It allowed me to know the freedom that people seldom feel.  Those lacy, strappy outfits gave me newfound confidence.  They put a spring in my step, and afforded me the courage to approach my wife, Patricia.

Now follow my logic.  If your clothes gave me, a reluctant transvestite, the courage to swim upstream, find a mate and reproduce, imagine how many actual women that belong in your clothes have become pregnant as a result.  It would seem to me that if my actions helped get someone in a position of impending motherhood, it is my duty, my role, and my obligation to offer every bit of support that I can.  Frederick's of Hollywood owes it to women everywhere to offer maternity wear. 

As a company based upon sex appeal, you can't be beat.  In my opinion, by not providing maternity clothes, you send a strong message.  You imply that "we don't think women who are pregnant can be sexy."  And that is not fair. 
You are taking women who, due to hormonal imbalance and drastic physical changes, already have a low self-esteem.  At least when the baby was in the womb, there was a sense of "purpose" for the odd dimensions.  After the birth, they are overweight and experiencing post-partum depression.  Perhaps this is partly your fault?

I strongly suggest that you consider providing your loyal customer base with the follow-through support of maternity wear.  I would be interested in hearing your reasons for not providing such garments.

Sharing Victoria's Secret,


Thursday, May 17, 2012

Post# 258 - Immodium AD: How About a More Proactive Approach

I sent this to Immodium AD on 8/14/2011:

Dear Immodium AD,

Historians claim that in 1962, a key meeting between Fidel Castro and Soviet military and missile specialists was cut short because Castro had a sudden "bad scallop crisis" of his own.  Castro's seafood guy, disgruntled for being fired and exiled, leaked key information about a missile base to the US Government.  This information altered the course of the Cuban Missile Crisis.  While we can call it a victory for the US, one can easily see how one lousy bout with diarrhea adversely affected Cuba and the Soviets.

Diarrhea can strike at anytime for no reason, leaving destruction and devastation in it's wake.  Some call it the silent killer, but I would argue that it can be FAR from silent.  Career advancements, important auditions, and marriage proposals have been destroyed by unplanned and unwarranted attacks.  Children on playgrounds and busses sing songs about it.  Jilted ex-lovers wish it upon one another.  Backpackers sit around wilderness campfires telling wild tales about it.
Some blame diet.  Some blame stress.  Some even blame Montezuma.  I blame you.

The Immodium AD approach to "the Brown Assassin" seems to be reactive.  "Let's wait for an attack and then stop it as quickly as possible."  What happens if that attack occurs while you're between the pipes in Game 5 versus the Anaheim Ducks?  Ask Roberto Luongo, because in 2007, his Vancouver Canucks team lost a Game 5, 2 to 1 in overtime as he straddled a commode.  Even Vegas couldn't plan for that.

I'm calling for a new, more proactive approach.   People don't wait for automobile accidents--they wear seatbelts.  Folks don't wait for burglars--they install surveillance and security systems on their homes and businesses.  Folks don't just wait for scurvy or rickets--they eat a diet rich in vitamins, or take daily supplements.  I think we can all agree that diarrhea is far more likely to find us than a prowler or an oncoming ice cream truck.  Why not protect for it?

Why are there no daily anti-diarrhea supplements?  Wouldn't this be a better approach?  Once it hits us, it's often too late.  By failing to plan, we're planning to fail, whether we're discussing retirement planning, family planning, or the Big Brown Monsoon. 

I understand that diarrhea is caused by the muscles that control the small intestine working too quickly to facilitate absorption of nutrients into the body.  I also realize that it due to the multitude of bacterial, viral and other causes, it would be impossible to treat every possible cause.  Your medicine slows these muscles, getting things "back on track."  What about a lesser daily version that slows Brown Beltway traffic down when necessary, but does not cause a logjam?  I guess what I'm suggesting is something to make liquid semi-solid, and to make solid just a tad more solid?

Are there any plans to resolve this in the near future?  . 



PS: I noticed that your website has a Bathroom Finder.  It claims that my state's capital only has 41 bathrooms.  I'm sure Applebee's appreciates your additional traffic.

Subject: McNeil-PPC, Inc. Reference - 011192455A
Date: Tuesday, August 16, 2011, 10:13 PM

Dear Jerry:

Thank you for contacting McNeil-PPC, Inc..  We appreciate your interest in our company.

While we do offer a product line designed to meet a wide range of needs, we do not manufacture a product specifically for the need you have described.  We recommend contacting your Health Care Provider or pharmacist for advice in this matter.  We will certainly share your comments with those responsible for bringing our products and services to you.

Again, thank you for your interest in our company.  Should you have any comments or questions in the future, please contact us via our website or by calling our toll-free number, 1800 962-5357.  Our specialists are available Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m. EST and will be happy to assist you.

Roberta M.
Consumer Care Center


Friday, May 11, 2012

Post# 257 - Arby's is NOT Good Mood Food

I sent this to Arby's on 8/27/2011:

Dear Arby's,

I don't normally frequent the fast food places.  Heck--last time I stepped foot in a Burger King, President Carter was giving a speech about hostages in Iran.

Back on the 4th of July, I was feeling downright patriotic.  What better way to celebrate my independence than to order a Jamoca Shake and some Curly Fries, and light a special patriotic floating lantern.

My son is off in Afghanistan.  My daughter was away for her summer semester in Kentucky.  My wife decided to go to her Zumba class.  Happy 4th for me.  So it's me, my lawn chair, my floating lantern, my Arby's, and a lighter.

I light the floating lantern, and it takes flight.  It's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen, flying so effortlessly.  For a moment, I was floating above all of my problems, right along with that lantern.  That is, until it descended onto a gas pump at the station behind my house.  LOUD EXPLOSION.  A Volkswagen Bug, next to the pump, is thrust airborne and lands on (through?) my roof.   The car, engulfed in flames, proceeded to cause my home to go up in flames.  I called the fire department and ran around to the gas station to see if anyone needed help.   Luckily, the car owner had gone inside for a pack of smokes and some cashews.  Nobody was hurt.

As the fire fighters extinguished my home and water-damaged my baseball card collection, art, and safe full of savings bonds, there was nothing I could do.  The police came and issued a ticket because I violtated some airborn pyrotechnic safety regulation.  The Volkswagen owner found me and started talking lawyers and lawsuits.  To top it all off, she's a PETA rep and planning to report me because of the nest of baby sparrows in the gutter on my house, now encased in flames.

With nothing else I could do, I sat down and ate my fries and drank my milk shake.  As I sat there eating Arby's and computing in my head the hundreds of thousands of dollars that my precious floating lantern had cost me, I decided that Arby's is definitely NOT good mood food.

I guess my point is, not everyone can just jump into a good mood because of some horsey sauce or an apple turnover.  Your commercial suggests otherwise.  So there's that.


Subject: Arby's Feedback #444443
Date: Saturday, August 27, 2011, 12:40 PM

Dear Arby's Guest,

We have received your Guest Feedback message and are directing it to the appropriate department. For follow-up purposes, your feedback tracking number is 444443.

Your feedback helps us improve the overall guest experience at our restaurants. Thank you for taking the time to contact us.

Arby's Guest Feedback Team
My follow-up, sent 9/13/2011:

Dear Arby's,

It's been over two weeks now.  No response.  Good Mood Food, Huh? 

Maybe I'm the 444443rd person in line.  I'll wait, I guess.

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Sunday, May 6, 2012

Post# 256 - Nice and Easy Hair Color: The Applicator Bottle Broke Mid-Job!

My friend Shondira recently had a bad experience.  The actual failure occurred exactly as described below.  There may have been some embellishment, but only to underscore the embarrassment and possible consequences.  Check out Shondira's blog, Intense Auburn.  It's awesome.
Dear Nice and Easy,

As my client enters a court room, jurors assume guilt. As his lawyer, I must convey professionalism as I
convince them otherwise.

I have been coloring my hair for 20 years with no problems—often with Nice and Easy. Last night, as I applied your product, the plastic bottle cracked badly.  As I squeezed, color oozed out the crack and not the nozzle.  I had to stop, with 1/3 of the color everywhere but my hair. My hair, partly colored, looks awful.  I look like a freaking Fraggle!!!

Being a holiday, stores were closed. I had no choice but to go to the trial looking ridiculous. As I presented my case, jurors laughed and pointed. The prosecutor, sensing blood, kept using terms like "shady" to win the jurors over. I caught the judge snapping a photo with his cell phone. We lost. My client blamed me. I blame you.

I am embarrassed and angry. I feel violated.  My husband won't touch me. I need an explanation. Why should I ever try Nice and Easy again?  Unacceptable!!!

Nice and Easy my ass!!!
Date: Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Subject: Clairol Contact Us Page. Your Contact Number 015225861A

Dear Shondira,

Thank you for contacting Clairol regarding your experience with Nice 'n Easy #118 Natural Medium Brown.  I am so sorry to hear about the problems you encountered and am sorry this product did not meet our high quality standards. I understand how upsetting this can be and apologize for any inconvenience this experience may have caused.  I truly appreciate the extra time you took to let us know.
Consumer feedback is extremely important to us, and I would like to assure you that I have reported the incident you described to our Quality Assurance Department which makes every effort to prevent such occurrences.
So that I may gather more information about the problem you experienced, I kindly ask that you reply to this email (by clicking on the link below) with the product batch code.  The batch code is a series of 10 numbers and letters, usually found stamped or embossed on either the shoulder of the bottle or bottom of the product/box.
We strive to provide the highest quality products and services for our customers.  I am sending you a replacement coupon via postal mail, which you will receive in 2-3 weeks.  I hope you accept this offer along with my sincere apologies.
We hope we have been helpful.

The Clairol Consumer Relations Team.
Subject: RE: Clairol Contact Us Page. Your Contact Number 015225861A
Date: Thu, 8 Sep 2011 22:14:25 -0400

Dear Clairol,

Thanks for responding.  The replacement coupon will allow me to finish the job that the first batch was meant to perform (if the bottle doesn't crack).  The batch code is:_________. 

Do we know why the bottle would have cracked?  It's not like I took anabolic steroids.  Did you change the material or brittleness specifications?

Also, for the spatter marks on my persian throwrug, are there methods for removing such stains?  Am I heading to a dry cleaner?

Still a little annoyed at the whole situation, but at least you're trying to help.
Date: Wed, Sep 21, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Subject: P&G Beauty Contact Us Page. Your Contact Number 015225861C

Dear Shondira,
Thank you for contacting Clairol. I am so sorry to hear about the problems you encountered and understand how upsetting this can be.  I truly appreciate the extra time you took to let us know. We feel it is important to speak to you directly, please email me your  telephone number and the best time to contact you and I will return your call.
Thank you,

The P&G Beauty Consumer Relations Team.
Mail sent to this address cannot be answered.
If you have additional comments about this issue, please click here:
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Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Post# 255 - EnviroKidz Panda Puffs: Let's Save the Pandas, Not Eat Them!

This is my note, sent to EnviroKidz on 9/5/2011:

Dear EnviroKidz,

I was walking through the store last week, buying groceries for my family, and my four-year-old son, Titan, started screaming and crying.  He pointed to a cereal box--EnviroKidz Peanut Butter Panda Puffs.

As a family of animal lovers, we take great offense to your breakfast cereal, Panda Puffs.  Pandas are an endangered species, beloved by folks everywhere.  When people consider which zoos to tour, inervitably someone will ask, "does that zoo have any Pandas?"  We based our four zoo summer tour based on the inclusion of Pandas--Atlanta, Memphis, Washington D.C., and San Diego.

How dare you bring to the marketplace, a cereal geared toward children, that contains Panda.  I didn't even know people would eat Panda meat.  I find it disgusting and simply wrong.  There must be a better way.  As a company that contributes so much to the Environmental Trust Fund, I can't believe you do this.  It seems so counterproductive!

Furthermore, with Pandas suffering the effects of deforestation, how ironic that the very container in which you package your Panda cereal, is made from tree matter.  I'm sure it's recycled, but still, it's ironic.

Why don't we go back to the drawing board on this one, and come up with a different ingredient.  Maybe kids can find an alternate source of protein, instead of endangered Panda meat.  This might also make it possible to lower the price.

On behalf of Panda lovers everywhere, would you please consider retooling this product?


Subject: Nature's Path Response Ref # 20866
Date: Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 12:06 PM

Dear Jerry,
Thank you for your comments on Nature's Path Organic Envirokidz Panda Puffs. We take each comment seriously and we endeavor to always provide a good quality product. Nature’s Path is committed to producing quality organic foods, using the best ingredients available, while adhering to strict quality control procedures.

Nature's Path products are all vegetarian, and many are also vegan.

Organic Envirokidz Panda Puffs contains organic corn meal, organic evaporated cane juice, organic peanut butter, organic soy oil, sea salt, tocopherols (natural vitamin E) and organic tapioca starch. There is no panda ingredient in this product.

Please visit to view our sustainability report. See page 37 on how we are saving pandas, through the Defenders of Wildlife program.

See Nature's Path for more information on our company and our products.

Thank you for being a valued Nature's Path customer.
Kind regards,

Consumer Services
Nature's Path Foods
Subject: Re: Nature's Path Response Ref # 20866
te: Tuesday, September 13, 2011, 8:48 PM
Dear Nicolette,

Thank you for the information.  I've now sampled your cereal and it is wonderful.  It is gluten-free, which makes it great for my mother.
I find the name confusing.  Panda Puffs implies Panda as an ingredient, much as with Turtle Soup, Chixken Marsala, or Turkey Tetrazine.  Other cereals have animal mascots, but only as an association.  Froot Loops have Toucan Sam, but he's pushing the fruit element, and they aren't called "Toucan Loops."  Lucky the Leprachaun represents Lucky Charms, but this is a somewhat racist leprachaun representation tying in with the so-called lucky marshmallows.
If it were me, I'd probably remove the panda tie-in, or put a big disclaimer that reads "Does Not Cointain Panda Ingredient."
On the other hand, maybe you're trying to market this as a "Panda-Flavored" cereal (artificially, of course).  If this is the case, please disregard.

Thanks for the info!

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