Friday, February 15, 2008

Take a Letter

My dad was awesome at writing complaint letters. If he felt a company or organization had slighted him, he’d get out the paper and pen and fire off a letter. I don’t know exactly what he said, but it must have been pretty persuasive since a few weeks after mailing out the letter he’d get a ton of free samples or a credit voucher delivered in the mail, along with profuse apologies.

Dad wasn’t stingy with praise either. He tried some sort of foot powder and liked it so much he wrote the company. When I came home from college there were crates of the stuff in the garage. I couldn’t visit without my parents trying to sneak bottles of the stuff into my car to take home with me. Now I could see if this was from a big company like Arm and Hammer or Gold Bond, who could afford to mail out a boxes of foot powder to keep a customer happy, but this was some sort of Mom and Pop foot powder outfit, so I’d constantly have people finding a bottle of the stuff holding up the couch or something and asking me what the hell Dr. Funkenmeir’s Olde Tyme Foot Powder and Poultice was, and why did I have a million little plastic bottles of it anyway.

But if he was good with a letter, Dad was a maestro over the phone or face to face. We’d be buying a car stereo or something and he’d say to the guy at Circuit City, “So how much is this really.”

I’d be all embarrassed, because I knew that you just didn’t do that sort of stuff, but sure enough, the guy would knock like 50 bucks off the price. The few times I tried that on my own, the salespeople just sort of looked at me and I felt so awkward and embarrassed that I’d write out a little extra on the check just to make up for my faux pas.

So one day my sister and dad are watching the local news. There’s some story about this Minute Maid fruit juice that was being recalled.

“You know, I’ve been feeling sort of sick all week. I’m pretty sure I had some of that juice.”

“Dad, you’ve never had that stuff in your life.”

”No. I ..I’m pretty sure I had some earlier this week and that’s why I don’t feel good.”

“Dad, that stuff is called like ‘Extreme Razzleberry Kicks.’ You’d never drink that.”

“No, I think I had some at work. I’m gonna have to write a letter.”

Whatever he wrote it worked again, because we had bottles of the stuff when I got home.

1 comment:

Keith said...

My dad has this magic skill at negotiating prices where he just goes in and plays completely dumb, asking questions like, "Now this laptop here, does it run on unleaded gas? That oven don't look like its got much towing capacity." And somehow, by virtue of breaking down the sales clerk, he walks out having paid like hundreds of dollars less than the list price.

I always assumed you were instantly granted these powers when you turned 30, but I'm still paying full price.