Monday, March 01, 2004

(Inspired by a real e-mail received by a real life employee of a real life company, really. Only slightly exaggerated. Names and facts changed to protect the innocent.)

I received your letter in regards to our January 27th offer of a three year extended service contract for the Minolta XC680 copier purchased by your office last year. I understand that you have declined our offer.

All right, fine. Just let me warn you that the future of your career, not to mention your entire organization, rests upon this decision. Allied Office Equipment has been in business since 1965, providing our customers with high quality solutions to their printing and imaging needs. That's why we're the industry leader - we have the expertise to handle any possible copying need or emergency situation. You think Office Depot's going to care when your copier breaks down in the middle of a 275 page print job, 35 minutes before the presentation that will make or break your future? No. You'll call them up and talk to some spotty-faced kid making $6.75 an hour who couldn't tell you the difference between xerography and xenophobia. We could have your copier serviced and ready to run in two hours or less, but instead you're willing to throw away your professional reputation to save a measly 600 bucks a year. Just the thought of it makes me want to vomit in disgust.

I am the best, Roger. I am to copier sales what Stradivarius was to the violin, what Einstein was to physics, what Ted Williams was to hitting a baseball. No one's going to care for your needs like I will, Roger. I stay awake very night in a state of constant despair, panicking over the myriad possibilities of flaws and defects in our products. You think Jesus suffered on the cross? That was only six hours. My entire life is subsumed with the search for copying perfection. And you, the customer, will benefit from my unquenchable desire for immaculate service.

I'm just a little disappointed in you. I thought you and I were different than all those little nobodies, those insignificant mediocrities who settle for the path of least resistance. I thought we both had a shared commitment to excellence in a world that cheapens and devalues the meaning of quality and hard work. And, I'll admit it, I'm a little hurt. I thought we had something special, Roger, that went beyond the salesman-client relationship - a mutual brotherhood, if you will. Just watch - your products will break down, you personally will be blamed, you'll be fired, you'll descend into a hellish torment of substance abuse and poverty as everyone who you thought loved you abandons you. And, although I am a kind and gentle soul by nature, I won't be able to stifle a muted chuckle at your expense.

It's not too late, however. Our offer remains valid for another week. Think it over. Prove me wrong.

Sincerely yours,
James Pruitt
Account Executive

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