Thursday, May 04, 2006

A Complimentary Pack of Prune Juice

By C. L. Beck

The other day I sent an email to a large corporation regarding a problem I’d encountered with them. I’d love to tell you the company’s name, but if I do I’m liable to get the pants sued off me . . . and when it comes to that, my momma didn’t raise no dummy.

(It’s obvious after that last sentence that she didn’t raise me where they spoke decent English, either. *Big wave* to all my kin in the town of TwoSheep-And-A-DeadRooster, Oklahoma!)

But I digress. Just so that you’ll understand how it went, I’ve included the correspondence below.

Dear BigNastyBusinessWhoDoesn’tGiveADang,

I recently purchased a book on writing. I ordered it on the fifth of January, and you responded speedily with a note that you would ship within two days. Two weeks later, I checked the site and it said you would ship by the end of February. Now here it is May, and your site says you will ship by December. This is not acceptable. What do you suggest I do?

C. L. Beck
Lowly Customer, Aspiring Author

To their credit, the company sent a prompt reply:

Dear Customer!
Thanking y0u for your suggestions of some. Sorry to here of your problems WE send you a complimentary pack of prune juice. Also, we noticed you can cancel order but allow 18 years for money back guarantee-- If that not pleasing you, we suggest you to give book as Kwanzaa or Christmas gift.

D. L. Skwee
Vice President in Charge of Communications

Wow, the guy that wrote that email was a vice president? My razor-sharp brain told me that if I was just an unpublished writer and he was a corporate executive, the cosmic balance was out of whack.

I work hard at writing. Scrutinizing each sentence, I nitpick for grammar, formatting and content in hopes of correcting all mistakes and thereby convincing an editor to read past my first sentence.

I have to ask. With all this writing experience and attention to the finer details—niceties like spelling and punctuation that seem unimportant to Mr. Skwee—how come he’s a V.P. and I’m not? Where did I go wrong? How come no one ever told me I’d earn a lot more money doing something else? Think of the big bucks I could make selling used toothbrushes door to door, walking the ants in someone’s ant farm, or even painting parakeet toenails.

Face it; there are two truisms to mortal existence. Life ain’t fair and Writers gotta write.

That being said, I suppose I’ll forgo being a V.P. and keep on writing. Until the day comes that I’m on the best seller list, I’ll just have to be more innovative with the little bit of money that comes my way.

Oh, and speaking of money—that brings me back to the book that I ordered. I’m not going to wait eighteen years to get my money back. I’ve decided to give the book as a gift. After all, I’m sure my Jewish mother-in-law would love to get The Rules of Writing Mormon Fiction as a Christmas present.

Either that or I could send her the pack of prune juice.


KB said...

That was hilarious! Did they really send you that e-mail? Or are you just incredibly clever? If it's for real, you should send it to Fred L. Nancy who wrote Letters from a Nut. He writes crazy letters to big companies and then publishes both his letters and their replies.

C. L. Beck said...

Hi KB,
Thanks for the compliment. I'd love to say I'm incredibly clever, but then my relatives would write opposing comments.

To answer your question—the letter isn’t real. It's loosely based on the inane responses I’ve received from companies over the years, sprinkled with a dash of imagination.

Though many of the replies have had the atrocious grammar and punctuation, I’m still waiting for some innovative, cutting-edge company to offer me the pack of prune juice.

Anonymous said...

Very funny. I enjoyed reading it. We can't all be CEO's -- someone has to keep working to pay for those 400 million dollar retirement packages!

C. L. Beck said...

Hi Anonymous,
Thanks for reading and commenting.

I enjoyed your reference to the 'generous' retirement package that a certain CEO recently received.

Ooo, if only writers were so lucky.