To: The Manager
34 High Street
I tried to call on you this evening, only to find your premises closed at five minutes before the usual time, so I returned home to write this letter, which I shall deliver to you personally in a few minutes.
Last Saturday, I bought one of your Flatline 40 machines and I must say it is giving me a lot of trouble. As far as I can make out, the main difficulty is with the base unit, housing the thingummy at the left-hand side. This connects, or is supposed to connect, with the whatsit, immediately to its right. I don’t know whether both parts are faulty, or whether the first is failing to activate the second. Anyway, this is most unsatisfactory. That fact that I bought the item with a 25% price reduction does nothing to comfort me.
I have tried repeatedly to contact what you call, somewhat amusingly in my view, your 24-hour hotline, but it appears to be as cold as a creditor’s heart. On three occasions I was asked to wait for attention, which I did for fifteen minutes each time. When I made a final attempt to get through, there was no reply at all.
As this contraption fails to perform in the way it should, I insist on a refund of the £150 I paid. I suspect you might try to fob me off with a verbal message, so to forestall this I would like you to call at my home – 12, The Avenue – today, bring the money (cash, please) and take the machine away.
Arthur Sprocket (Mr)
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To: Arthur Sprocket
12 The Avenue
Dear Arthur Sprocket (Mr) – nice to see that you’re abreast of things, genderwise
I would like to say thank you for your letter, but am reluctant do so because I can hardly be expected to express pleasure when receiving a complaint – they’re quite tiresome, you know. When I finish writing this, I’ll bring it to your home and put it in the letterbox. I shan’t be able to stop for a chat, as I shall be on my way to a posh dinner. Honestly, the things I do for this business.
Your whining does not surprise me, as the Flatline 40 was never one of the best products of its kind. The earlier models in the same range, F-10, F-20 and F-30 were all verging on passable quality, as is the F-50, which replaced the 40.
It was perceptive of you to note that the problem lies with the two parts you correctly identified as the thingummy and the whatsit. The latter is dependent on the former, but as it happens, both are defective. The first three Flatlines were not fitted with these two parts, so they did not give us any trouble of the kind you mention, though Heaven knows we had numerous other headaches with them.
The F-10, F-20 and F-30 had the thingummy’s precursor, a German part, known in its country of origin as the Dingsbums, while in the F-50, the functions of both thingummy and whatsit are performed by a single device, the doodah, usually referred to in the US as the doodad or doohickey, among other names. Even this will soon be superseded when the F-50 is improved by the incorporation of two new gadgets, the gizmo and the whatyamacallit.
Let me take a moment to respond to your comment about our hotline. To be honest, that facility is a bit of a joke. The phone is manned day and night on an unpaid basis by an octogenarian insomniac who thinks he’s doing his bit for society – we’re not nasty enough to disabuse him of the idea. He tends to get close to dozing at times, but when he feels himself drifting off, he usually manages to activate the soothing ‘wait’ music – nice tune, don’t you think? He doesn’t know a thing about any of our merchandise, but he’s quite good at coming up with temporising remarks which put people off until the shop opens. We call him the procrastinator-general. That’s a real thigh-slapper, isn’t it?
As to your current situation, I must say I am rather surprised that you, a local man, did not spot something amiss when you bought your Flatline 40. I can hardly believe you were unaware of the fact that we are not known for making special offers. When you saw that ‘25% off’ ticket, you should have smelt a rat. Caveat emptor is the expression, old boy. Our policy here is to get products onto the market and allow customers to discover and report faults. One might say that our motto is ‘let the mugs find the bugs’. Hey, I just thought that up. Good, eh?
Arthur, get real. There is no chance that we’ll give you a refund, and we are not prepared to take back your machine. You purchased it as seen, so this is a case of ‘buyers, keepers’. You will have to either retain your F-40 or scrap it. I mean, you’ll hardly find anyone who will take it off your hands. However, we at Supreme Appliances are not heartless. Fairness is my middle name, so I’m prepared to do a deal. If you act quickly, you can have an F-50 for the full current price – it’s going up quite bit at close of business tomorrow and is already eye-wateringly more expensive than the F-40. This arrangement would require you to cough up – wait for it – a further £430, in addition to the £150 you paid for that piece of . . . machinery you have now. Yes, I know, life stinks.
I realise that we live in an increasingly litigious society and it occurs to me that you might wish to take us to court, but we would then be involved in a small claims matter and you know how those things drag on. You could be embattled for years and most likely wouldn’t get anywhere in the end, as we at Supreme Appliances are pretty slippery types and know most of the dodges. I’d say your best course is the one I suggest. If you reject it, you’ll be stuck with that wretched F-40, which will annoy you no end until you ditch it. I’ll keep my proposal on the table until six o’clock tomorrow evening. If you haven’t accepted it by then, you’ll be out of luck.
Have a nice day,
Mike Fiddler, Manager
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