Squirm You Corporate Worms

One of my hobbies is pestering big companies. I will hunt a company relentlessly for months to get what they owe me, or what they promised to give me. When I look at the amount of money earned for hour of labour expended, it’s actually kind of crappy work. But – oh boy – the job satisfaction is worth the trouble.


A few years ago I sent some empty paste packets to Barilla, the pasta company, along with a letter where I claimed to have weighed the pasta and found it was 20% lighter than claimed. Imagine my surprise when they sent me, with DHL, a big box all the way from Italy, containing a dozen bags of pasta. For what they paid to mail it, I could have instead eaten a three-course meal in a nice Italian restaurant. But I was hooked – it worked! Companies would swallow your lies and happily send you stuff!

Then last year I was short-changed about 150 Skr (20 dollars) from my mobile phone company. I hounded them for weeks, sending letters to customer support and talking to various anonymous minions, all to no avail. Often the minions would promise to be on the case, but then nothing would happen and back I would go in the phone queue again.

So I tracked down the manager of customer relations and mailed her office directly. And then, a week later, her secretary called me up and groveled. Oh, how she groveled. If I was standing in the same room, I’m sure she would have been licking my boots. You see, I know how to shape a complaint that can drive fear into the heart of a customer relations department.

phone.jpgThis week’s mission concerns my mobile, The rubber casing, as you can see, has started to peel. So I began stage one of the process – send a long letter to the customer complaints department. This is where I always start. It is, of course, largely useless, as they always ignore me. But it is useful in that when I start to mail the people in the company who really matter (usually the bosses at marketing and customer relations), I can add to my complaint the fact that the minions at customer service ignored me, making my ire all the sharper.

So in a few days, when customer service has ignored me properly, I will mail the head of marketing at Sony Ericsson (it only took 15 minutes of googling to find the person) and I guarantee I will get a very sweet and helpful reply. And, of course, something for free.

But preferably cash.

/ paddy


11 thoughts on “Squirm You Corporate Worms

  1. It’s true – if you bug people enough you can get all kinds of freebies. I just can’t be arsed to put all the effort in, though.

  2. Complaining is essentially my hobby already, so maybe I should take it to the next level and get some freebies out of it. Then again, it usually takes me long enough just to get the bare minimum (in other words, what I paid for) that I’d probably go insane before I managed to get anything above and beyond.

  3. kodgetts: I don’t want the freebies, just the grovelling.

    Candice: See above. Although I would not say NO to freebies exactly, but it’s more of a perk. I just like it when they squirm.

  4. I know someone like you, he ended up having a stroke. It’s a very negative way to spend your energie. My advice is to get another hobby.

  5. kodgetts : You got it.

    Lillan: Don’t worry, I don’t take it at all seriously. And I never allow it to stress me out. If it does, I drop it. I just like it when the companies are forced to give me service. They hate that.

  6. paddyK: I meant that if you put on record your delight in extracting squirm and goodies from companies who may well be innocent-ish (and that’s certainly how I read your piece) they may not be so happy to play along. I have what you might call an extreme consumerist friend who is banned from every branch of Boots in Britain as a result of his enthusiasms.

  7. acb: There are no innocent companies, in my book.They are all out to convince me to buy stuff I don’t need and then avoid their responsibility to me and everything else. If I’m fair game to them, then they are certainly fair game to me.

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