Sunday, May 8, 2011

Letters to Customer Service......

Does anyone else out there feel compelled to write to Customer Service departments of companies? I have done it a few times, with mixed results. I don't mean I make a CAREER out of it, although I have been tempted to do a cultural experiment to see just how much free stuff I could get just by writing emails and letters. Just an experiment, you understand, not just to get free stuff. Hmmmmm.....

What started this train of thought (and really, you can get off the train any time you want. I wouldn't blame you.) was hamburger buns. Hubby and I had sloppy joes for dinner tonight. He had two; I had one. That leaves five buns leftover. Why do they only sell those in packages of eight? Do they think every family in the world has 4.2 members or whatever the figure is these days? I was considering (still am) writing a letter to the bread company suggesting that they sell buns in smaller packages. I usually put the leftover ones in the freezer, forget they're there next time we have hamburgers/sloppy joes/barbecue sandwiches, buy a new pack, throw the old ones out, repeat as necessary. It is so wasteful to have hamburger and hot dog buns only in packages of eight. Or twelve, if you're feeling really wasteful.

One time I wrote about my dissatisfaction with some saltine crackers. We bought two boxes of them, used them well before the expiration date stamped on the box (although WHO can figure THOSE out sometimes?), and they were both stale. The company responded by sending me two vouchers for their products, and I felt equal parts sneaky and smug that I chose the most expensive products I could find in their brand. When the cashier was ringing up my groceries and got to the vouchers, she looked up in triumph and said, "You wrote a letter, didn't you!" She said her mom wrote letters like those ALL THE TIME. Maybe her mom DID make a career out of it.

Once I wrote to an airline, not because I wanted something free, but what I REALLY wanted was an explanation. On a flight back from the Dominican Republic, we tried to land in Miami in a thunderstorm. It was better than any roller coaster I've ever been on. We tried a few times, then the pilot decided it was too dangerous, and oh by the way we appear to be out of fuel, so we'll just hop over to the Bahamas and top off the tank. When we finally got to Miami, every connecting flight in the free world was gone. We landed about 10:30, and our baggage finally came off the conveyor belt at 2:00 AM. We were trapped in the basement of the Miami airport, and because we hadn't been through customs, we couldn't leave without our luggage. It was a nightmare. All I really wanted was an explanation of WHY that happened. Diabetic Hubby had no food, and it was hours and hours and hours before he got any. The airline sent me a $200 voucher (that you almost had to be a contortionist to use, by the way), and nothing by means of explanation. I had almost rather they kept their lousy $200 and tell me what happened. Fat chance.

I had a rather strange experience just a couple of weeks ago. For my birthday, Hubby bought me a bag to go on the sissybar of my motorcycle. NOT the one I asked for, but a different one. Oh, and it didn't have any straps to affix it to the sissybar, rendering it a useless gift. Oh, but he got a discount on it because it didn't have the required straps. Terrific. So I looked up the company name on the Internet, found the product number, and sent an email asking if it would be possible to buy just the strap. No response. No response. No response. Bastards. Fine example of customer service YOU are. Then about a week and a half later, I get a padded envelope in the mail, and in it are the straps for my bag. No explanation, no reply to my email, just the necessary straps. Uh.....thanks? (Oh, and the bag doesn't fit my bike. Hubby's bag does, which is the one I asked for in the first place, so we traded.)

I missed a perfect opportunity to write a letter years ago, and I have regretted it ever since. I had the perfect letter, the perfect medium, the perfect idea. That almost never happens, and I let it slip by. In a previous wifetime, I bought a box of Raisin Bran that DID. NOT. HAVE. THE. FIRST. RAISIN. IN. IT. I kid you not. No raisins. Not two scoops, not two teaspoonfuls, not two raisins to rub together. Nothing. I kept the boxtop for the longest time, and I composed the letter in my head. I decided that when I got around to it, I was going to type the letter, only I was going to leave out every single "e". What a great idea! I let too much time go by, though, and eventually the boxtop disappeared, and a wonderful opportunity passed me by. If only I had followed through, it might be called "Bragger's Raisin Bran" to this very day.

Any other tales of customer service - good or bad - out there?


Anonymous said...

I have to laugh because Jake just complained about Raisin Bran this morning. "Mama, I don't like this cereal. These raisins are everywhere!!"

Perhaps your raisins are in our box!

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