Q. Are these real letters? I mean, do you actually send them?
Q. Exactly as they appear here?
A. Yes. I’ll embed things that are linked in the letters and sometimes I have to redact private information. I’ve fixed a couple of typos after the fact, too. But otherwise they’re identical.
Q. I work for in the customer service department at company X. I was about to reply to your letter with a million-pound voucher but I Googled first and found this site! You’re just kidding around! You’re not getting the voucher now you scoundrel.
[This hasn’t happened yet. But I can see how it might.]
A. First off, hi! How are you? I hope you are well.
Second: I can see your train of thought but it has arrived at the wrong destination. It begins at the same place as most of your correspondents, the city of Disappointment. Disappointment is full of angry commuters and they have all missed their last train and they are FURIOUS. They all want to talk to you and they have no interest in forming a queue. You are dealing with them and pushing them onto the next train to Resolution Town where they will hopefully arrive in a much better mood.
I would like to get to the same place. But I am in no rush. I would rather we both have better days. I would rather there was no shouting, no pushing, no undignified fury. I will take a slower train to Resolution which takes me through the beautiful English countryside. I will describe that countryside and the things I see and the sunrise and sunset (for this could be a long journey indeed and I have brought a pillow). I will arrive at Resolution rested and happier and others, reading my telegrammed updates, will be happier too — perhaps because of the destination, perhaps because of my journey, perhaps because they’re just glad they don’t have to take a train today.
Or, to put it another way, if I have to waste some of my time trying to fix a mistake you made I might as well do it with some humour. Consider the publication of correspondence here as gentle name-and-shame and a chance to make yourself look amazing in the eyes of my several readers.
Q. Why are you doing this?
A. I like writing. I used to write a lot, then I stopped and now I’m trying to start again.
But also because I was fed up of just shrugging my shoulders at disappointing service, cursing into the wind and getting on with my life. It’s better to do something than to talk about doing something, assuming that thing is not something bad e.g. watching Juno or killing a man. I used to whine. Now I whine, write and try to produce something good from something bad.
Q. How can I get in touch?
A. The easiest way is to nudge me using my Twitter name linked on the sidebar. If you’d prefer a higher character limit there’s a contact form over at the site for my radio show. Or email to “ste” at that domain will work too.