When I was working for one of the many Overtime Biscuit Corporations, one of my jobs was to answer email from peeved customers.

We had an entire file of canned responses, which allowed me, the lowly customer service representative, a chance to respond to hundreds of peeved customers a day. I would look down my long long list and pick a response, then plug in the variables and try to make it sound like I had just thought it up. I could play with the tenses and perhaps delete a sentence or two, but it did not leave much room for growth in my writing career. Though I will admit sometimes it was fun.

Dear ------,

We thank you for your patience as we try to determine the reason that your payment of $------ was not received by the merchant -----.

We have contacted the merchant, --------, to request a reversal of late fees, but they have refused. It appears that your account has had such problems in the past and other charges have been reversed.

Our investigation shows that you have been using the incorrect due date for payment. We have been sending the payments as requested, but you have been sending them for the “late date”. This means that your mortgage payment has been late seven times in a row and your merchant has requested that we take you aside and explain how bills are paid. If you still don’t get it they suggest that we take you out back for a severe and prompt thrashing. In any case they are thrilled that you have opted to pay a higher mortgage than agreed upon, and would love to take all your extra money, if only you would stop complaining about it.


Ben Dover,
Highly Underpaid, Really Irritated by Having This Conversation with You More Than Once, Customer Service Underling

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