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the art of the corporate complaint letter

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below is my vague formula for writing short and hopefully effective complaint letters. we’ll see if it works.

first start i start with the facts. when i bought it, and what was wrong:

Hi, I bought a red bell pepper this past Sunday 8/8/2010, and cut it open to find mold in the top and bottom on Tuesday 8/10/2010. I kept the vegetable refrigerated the entire time. Here are some pictures:


more mold

i like this approach because it is straightforward and it makes you seem like you won’t take sh*t from anyone. the dates make you seem professional (lawyerly maybe? don’t F w/ a lawyer), and i always try to include a picture because i think it signals that you mean business. when using one of the forms embedded on their site, i usually upload pics into flickr and add the URL so they can click to it. i also think this is probably effective b/c it signals that you know how to use the internet and can yelp the crap out of them if you wanted to.

anyway, next is the second and last part where you simultaneously praise the company, express your deep disappointment, and invoke the competition. and then you add the plea for help.

I was very disappointed by the quality of the pepper I bought the other day. The produce section is one of the main reasons I enjoy shopping at Whole Foods, but if problems like the one I’ve just encountered persist, I won’t hesitate to switch vendors. Please let me know how to proceed.

my end goal is to invoke fear on many levels. fear of my competence and persistence. a dangerous combination in an unhappy customer. i hope to get a response by the end of the week.

i am a grumpy old man (two rants to prove this)

rant 1
went to dodge city last night, and have decided i was either too sober or too old for that bar. when i go out drinking, i want two scenarios: 1) medium-decibel music where i can talk OR 2) loud music with explicit dance tunes that inspire lip syncing and fist pumping. i keep ending up at these places where the music is ear-busting loud but with music that you can only awkwardly sway to. what is the point of that? how am i supposed to meet people when the first interaction is basically mouth-to-ear resuscitation? besides, my hilariously understated wit just does not work well in loud settings. for instance:

rando: hey, so why you getting a drink alone up here?
me: obviously, to meet random guys who are getting drinks alone, too.
rando: what?
me: obviously, to meet random guys who are getting drinks alone, too.
rando: WHAT?
me: obviously, to meet random guys who are getting drinks alone, too.
rando: say that again?
me: son of a bitch.

anyway, that sucks.

rant/observation 2
WHY ARE THESE BARS AND ALMOST ALL CONCERTS SO F’ING LOUD? let’s say, hypothetically, you are a music fan/snob, and you LOOOOOOVE going to live concerts and listening to completely the newest pitchfork wet dream. you, music snob, absolutely live and die for music.

then why do you continuously abuse your auditory system with deafening noise designed to bend every inner ear hair cell in your cochlea? if you love music so much, don’t you want to preserve the ability to … listen to music? i realize most people don’t think about the three parts of their ears so much, or the future at all, but still.

mostly, i am very sensitive to sound, and loud events give me headaches (i’m a great date), but more importantly, i want to have awesome hearing when i’m old. just like i don’t want brain cancer when i’m old (just bought a headset for my phone), and i don’t want droopy sad skin when i’m old (avoid the sun at all costs).

i’m so cool.


just saw predators today, and long story short, if at any point the idea of a predators movie sounded interesting to you, you might as well see this. if you’re more of an english patient type, then maybe not. the experience is much heightened if you play the “what order will people die” game. for the record, i was pretty wrong, and oh yeah, adrien brody gets the gratuitously shirtless award of the year so far, even beating out bradley cooper in the A-team.

couldn’t find a screen shot of brody from predators, but i did find this:

a little grainy, but that makes it better, no?

more importantly, i was excited to see alice braga in this film. you might remember her from the brazilian film city of god, and she has the michelle rodriguez badass thing going for her. now she and michelle can split all the hispanic-looking, gun-wielding tough chicks in hollywood b/c god knows rodriguez was getting a little overexposed (girlfight, resident evil, the fast and the furious, blue crush, bloodrayne, SWAT, lost, etc.) i’m having a hard time imagining penelope cruz or salma hayek drawing green alien blood anytime soon.

this also got me thinking, are hispanic women (i.e. 2 if you include braga, although i supposed it’s not really a trend yet) overrepresented in the female badass category? when i think “hollywood actress in action film” i come up w/ michelle rodriguez, angelina jolie, maybe milla jovovich, and maybe michelle yeoh or zhang ziyi, although do they really count? sigourney weaver and linda hamilton might also count, but they’re old, and hence don’t matter. here is a shitty list i googled, which really says less about perceptions of hispanic women in movies and more about the lack of badass female action heroes in general.

things i was into when i was a kid

i’ve found myself needing to justifying knowing obscure bits of trivia recently, and i usually explain my vast expanse of useless knowledge by saying something along the lines of “well, i only know that b/c i was obsessed with it when i was like, 8.”

what i’m starting to realize is that qualification is almost meaningless b/c i was “obsessed” with a TON of things when i was young. below i list a number of topics i spent at least 1 week in deep immersion (where i read and thought of nothing else), all mostly before middle school.

rocks (3 types)
plate tectonics/ring of fire/earthquakes/volcanoes
henry VIII (and wives)
elizabeth I
space (particularly, deep space, phasars, quasars, saturn/jupiter’s moons, comets)
clouds (3 types, again!)
ancient rome
greek mythology
serial killers
particularly, jack the ripper

tavi vs. terry

facebook has been taunting me with terry gross (of NPR fresh air fame) on my homepage, and every time i glance at that right-hand rail, i repeatedly think of tavi gevinson. anyone see the resemblance?

since i assume everyone who reads this is a nerd, you all know who terry gross is. but who is tavi? tavi is a 13yo fashion blogging wunderkind whose “style” has inexplicably served as muse for designers, and for a while there, she was kinda a big deal in the fashion world. she was like the justin bieber of fashion writing

the tavi phenomenon was particularly ridiculous because 1) her blogging was mediocre at best, and 2) her outfits sorta sucked. at age 11 when she started, she was definitely 5 years ahead of her time in writing ability. i’d even say she writes better than most adults. HOWEVER, no matter how impressive the feat for a newly minted tween, i still don’t want to read a spastic 16yo write about the stupid oversized sweater she wore over a clashing blazer with some ridiculous leggings and neon shoes.

secondly, her outfits are garbage. 11yo’s tend to be tiny, and tiny people have the luxury of wearing a ton of shit layered upon each other, and calling it an outfit. you know what happens when girls with big boobs try to do that? we look fat. when tiny people do it, they are muses. F THAT.

i’m a bit late on the tavi rant (she peaked a while ago), but this whole terry gross thing had me thinking about how stupid people can be. add another item onto that list.

those poor gingers

MIA’s new video is out (shout out to maura’s status), and everyone is going crazy over it.

the song is not really the point, and wow the video is disturbing. i can say i was not expecting the part in the beginning with the very naked fat man fornicating. this would probably be fine if it weren’t for the fact i’m sitting in a school study room where two HUGE computer screens face the hallway. like this:

hey esteemed peers! i watch fat people porn.

anyway, don’t watch the video unless you want to feel like throwing up.

caprica finale

holy crap. they def have not lost it. also, caprica seems to have brought all my favorite shows together:

1. scott porter aka jason streets from friday night lights
2. james marsters aka spike from buffy
3. polly walkeer aka atia from rome

i just need someone from the wire, and this show would be all set.

kelis, beyonce, gaga are wearing crazy shit

watching music videos instead of studying, i stumbled upon these two vids. why does every video feature women wearing bondage-y clothing with crazy hair? over it.

kelis – acapella: nothing like milkshake. probably a good thing.

beyonce – video phone ft. lady gaga: not a big fan of this song but entertainment weekly said i should watch this video, and i basically do whatever they tell me to. beyonce looks incredible in this, and gaga looks like a little girl playing dress-up.