I sometimes wonder about myself. I’ve just been clearing out a folder on my PC, the one where I dump stuff to be entered into my journal (it’s password protected, so don’t even try to read it!). It appears that in December of last year I had a spell of writing emails to washing powder manufacturers offering them advice, and giving general feedback on their websites. Here’s what I wrote:
Surf washing powder
I discovered the following email that I sent to Surf, and their reply:
The Revd Gareth Saunders
Where you live
In a nice upper villa house in Edinburgh. The house is owned by the Scottish Episcopal Church, for whom I work. I wouldn’t have chosen this house, it has too many stairs but the last minister liked it, and it doesn’t get broken into as much as the old house did. That was terrible.
Let’s hear it
I simply wanted to tell you how much your website brightened up my day (and my computer screen). What a lovely shade of yellow — may I ask who chose that shade for your website? If you could let them know that I like it that would be lovely of you. I’ve had a sad day today, and was looking at the internet for some inspiration. I enjoy cleaning and so thought I’d take a look at your website — our Lord himself cleansed lepers, but I don’t think he used Surf! My little joke there, don’t worry. Anyway, that was all. Please let your chief colour selector know that he or she did a spendid job.
Fr. Gareth Saunders
And to my surprise, I received this lovely reply a couple of days later:
Dear Fr Saunders
Thank you for your e-mail.
I was really glad to learn how much you enjoyed looking at our website and that it brightened your day.
I have passed your comments onto the Surf Brand Team who will be delighted to get your feedback.
Thank you once again for your comments.
Consumer Care Advisor
I’m now quite upset to discover that they have changed their website colour from bright yellow to some kind of deep pink. Is this some of joke? Does my feedback mean absolutely nothing to them? And after that lovely reply … all lies! Lies, lies, lies! I think it about time I should write to them again!
Ariel washing powder
Then I wrote to Ariel about their fine product; I’ve been using Ariel washing powder since I moved away from home in 1989, to university. It is my washing powder of choice, so I guessed that I owed them some feedback by now.
Dear Sir / Madam,
I am a long-time user of Ariel washing powder.
I was wondering if you have ever considered putting free gifts or toys in your washing powder boxes in the same way that cereal manufacturers do in theirs?
You could have special tie-in promotions such as a free tennis ball, or a small effigy of Tom [sic] Henman, or how about a nice, clean pair of spare socks? It was just an idea, and I think a good one. It might attract other powder users away from their preferred cleaning products.
Also, did you know that your website does not work in Mozilla Firefox or Netscape?
Fr. Gareth Saunders
No reply. As yet. Can’t understand it, it was quite a neat idea, and some practical advice regarding their web-standards non-compliant website.
Downy fabric softener
To be fair, I’ve never even heard of Downy fabric softener, although I do like their name. They are owned by Procter & Gamble so I must have discovered a link on their website. But that didn’t stop me, here’s what I wrote to them:
I just noticed that your logo for Downy reminds me of the chocolate bars Bounty that you get in the UK. I wonder if you’ve ever noticed that too. I asked my wife and she agrees.
Have ever considered making a chocolate and coconut flavoured version of your product?
No answer. How rude!