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Handsome Recommends: Sternly Worded Letters

This is how Corporate America made us feel tonight

Corporate America: this is how you made us feel tonight.

Be honest with yourself – Corporate America is running your life. You buy necessary items from them; you buy what they sell you; you buy with money they pay you; you rebel against the things you don’t like because it lulls you into a sense of deep complacency about your unholy, abusive, kind of kinky relationship with Corporate America.

How can you Handsomely strike back? Easy – molotov cocktails sternly worded letters. Old fashioned? Absolutely – these gems give you an opportunity to show off your immense vocabulary and unparalleled verbosity. Cathardic? Definitely – it’s like email you write at work but don’t send because you’re afraid of getting fired, or even worse, NOT getting fired but having to live with the email hanging over your head for the next hellish few months because your employer doens’t have the balls to fire you. Write whatever you want, and be sure to let them have it. Worth it? Absolutely – and this is the point to remember most. Corporate America is built around brand, which is a combination of reputation, style, and obsene amounts of money convinging you they have one, the other, or both. Customer service costs a lot of money, so anytime you send a letter you are, in some bizarre roundabout but-hey-get-them-while-you-can sort of way, sticking it to “The Man.” Lastly, sometimes you get free stuff out of this, like gift cards to a company you just decided you hated or a cautiously composed letter on compay letterhead that you can make fun of next time you’re drunk (sooner rather than later?).

My most recent example to Delta Airlines is below. Note the subtle craftsmanship – polite intro, insulting jokes, pretending like I have more brand loyalty to the, noting said loyalty has been squashed and transferred to a competitor, clear grammatical and spelling errors belying the fact that I’m in a mild rage, etc. Enjoy!

This evening I was booking a flight on and after a brief search I found a good fare that worked with my flexible dates and moved to purchase. 10 minutes later, after entering and verifying all of my information INCLUDING billing, I clicked the ‘please purchase’ button. The site wouldn’t let me purchase the tickets and offered me the same ticket for $370, almost 40% more expensive than 10 minutes prior when I had started.

I called customer service; however, the person manning the online phone bank said that I should clear my cookies while browsing. I explained that I work for technical support and understand deleting my cookies, clearing my cache, and that I was following ‘best practices’ of surfing. She said there was nothing I could do… and that I should clear my cookies.

Who am I to trust? I can understand the occasional error from 3rd party sites, but from a business own website? The answer: not Delta. I went to Virgin America’s website, found a flight that was the same price as the (now more expensive for no reason) Delta flight. Were the times as good as the Delta flights? No. Do I have a long-standing brand association and relationship flying on Virgin? No. Did they show me a price, book my ticket, and take my money? Absolutely, no questions asked. I tried being as loyal as I could, but no one at Delta had anything to offer in the way of help or suggestions – I couldn’t buy a hard time if I’d wanted.

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  1. jkwh posted on August 7, 2008:

    Great Stuff.

    Two questions, though: Was this an emailed letter? And, if so, did you include emoticons?

  2. trembles posted on August 7, 2008:

    Of course and absolutely not, respectively. I try my best to maintain at least a shred of dignity in my day to day affairs.

  3. jkwh posted on August 20, 2008:

    unlike the Pomona College Admissions Office.

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