A Complimentary Pack of Prune Juice

By C. L. Beck
© 2008

Not long ago, 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 that’s liable to get the pants sued off me. And when it comes to that, my momma didn’t raise no dummy.

(After that last sentence, it’s obvious she didn’t raise me where they spoke decent English, either. *Big wave* to all my kin in the town of TwoSheepAndADeadRooster, Oklahoma!)

But I digress. Just so you’ll understand the situation, I’ve included the correspondence below.

Dear BigNastyBusinessWhoDoesn’tGiveADang,
On January fifth I ordered a book on writing. 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

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, suggest you to give book as Kwanzaa or Christmas gift.

D. L. Skwee
V.P., BigNastyBusinessWhoDoesn’tGiveADang

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

The incident stewed in my brain. Finally, when I couldn’t stand it any longer, I emailed another letter. I shouldn’t have done it, but I got a little sarcastic.

Dear Mr. Skwee
I’M disappointed. A Man en yore position should Shirley no how to spell and rite. From what skool did you graduatte from? As fur my order, I wood like my mony to be refunded immedjiately.

C. L. Beck
Irritated Customer

Two hours later, I received a reply. Excitement abounded—surely the sarcasm did the trick and now they were going to take my complaint seriously.

Dear Customer
This is an automated response. Due to extensive grammatical errors in your letter, our software program was unable to read it. We suggest you purchase our book, “English as a Second Language,” and email us again at a later date.

Automated response program for D.L. Skwee
Vice President of BigNastyBusinessWhoDoesn’tGiveADang

PS: Happy Hanukkah in advance.

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

I have to ask. With all this writing experience and my 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?

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 writing. Until the day comes that I’m rich and famous, 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 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.

(Disclaimer: Some of you are sure to ask, so I'll admit to using a bit of literary license. I wasn’t actually raised in TwoSheepAndADeadRooster, Oklahoma, but I think I might have passed through there once. At least it smelled like I did. And my mother-in-law isn’t Jewish, she’s Catholic—but I wouldn’t let a little thing like that stop me from sending her the prune juice.)

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What's playing in my head: Song Sung Blue by Neil Diamond

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