My email to Hoo haa Bar

Earlier this month, two young women tried to get into a venue on Melbourne’s Chapel Street by the name of Hoo haa Bar. They happened to be partners. They happened to be holding hands.

The women say that they were not permitted entry, and suspect their sexual orientation had more than a little something to do with it. Several witnesses support their claim.

Of course, it’s all “alleged” at this stage.

What’s not alleged is Hoo haa Bar’s Facebook-page response to the ensuing furore. It’s real and you can read it here.

I get confused, flustered, but ultimately excited when private enterprises show a willingness to respond to questions and criticism. And I feel like I have cola-activated Wizz Fizz in my underpantal region when they choose to play the woe-is-us victim.

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I’ve hit pay dirt… again

by Haught 5 Comments

Sometimes I receive messages in the spiced ham folder of my email that get me so excited I feel like I want to climb onto the tallest building in the suburb and shout my exhilaration to the world. I’m always reluctant to do that because I also feel like I could spontaneously combust at any moment and the tallest building in the suburb happens to be a school, and I wouldn’t want to scare the kiddies, or spatter them with charred human meat.

I think the closest I’ve ever come to climbing the bell tower at St Mary’s with post-email elation was after reading this little doozy. But today I received a piece of electronic correspondence that blew Jean Fafona’s effort out of the water. Some of that water happily sprayed onto me, putting out the fire that had started on both of my arms.

Here it is:

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My email to Weis’ ice creams

by Haught 19 Comments

ImageThe recent Commonwealth Bank ad featuring Toni Collette got me thinking about celebrity endorsement.

Before celebrities became “brands” and were capable of lending their “brand cache” to other “brands”, what happened?

Has the celebrity/company negotiation always gone like this:

Company: Want to promote our product?

Celebrity: I’m not sure. I don’t really wear hats.

Company: We’re a car manufacturer.

Celebrity: I see.

Company: So…

Celebrity: I’m not really interested.

Company: Here’s seven hundred and ninety-five thousand dollars. The ad will take half a day to film.

Celebrity: I love your hats.

Company: Cars.

Celebrity: Cars. Want me to get nude?

Or was there once a golden age where celebrities approached companies and said “Hey, I quite like your shoes. I’ll do an ad for two bob and a can of Tarax sarsaparilla“?

If I were to become a celebrity (and I don’t know why I just used the subjunctive mood, because I already am one) and went back in time to this yet-to-be-confirmed golden age, my first port of call would almost certainly be the Weis ice cream company. I would endorse them feverishly, sleeping only three hours a day (at the very most), and probably dying of exhaustion in my mid 40s (a happy man).… Read the rest

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THE RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

Image by: Zed Fitzhume

In May I sent an email to Metro Trains. It started out as an opportunity for the Big Blue M to test their complaint response writing skills against the new public transport (and possibly the world) standard. It ended as an angry diatribe, I’ll admit. For this reason, if Metro had erred slightly on the side of conservatism in their reply, I would have given them some latitude.

They didn’t, however, err on the side of conservatism so much as put every single egg they’ve ever owned into the conservative basket:

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A [FAUX] RESPONSE: My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 0 Comments

Last week I sent an email to Metro Trains.

I haven’t yet heard anything back from an official representative, but reader Veloaficionado has had an excellent stab at responding on their behalf:

Dear Mr Haught,

As a representative of Metro, I will take the opportunity to reply to your latest letter. At Metro, we pride ourselves on keeping abreast of all commentary on our performance, and although some may call this paranoid and in the vein of witch-huntery, Section G-37-B is very good at its job. The surveillance equipment they deploy is second to none, and the data encryption and database security employed is world class, deep within the reinforced concrete 3rd basement level where it is stored.

So rest assured that we are aware of your reputation and previous correspondence with other instrumentalities and businesses, and we wish to reassure you that we take your views of our performance very seriously.

However, we must take issue with absolutely everything that you say, even that we seem to employ public image management that is somewhat amateurish and implausible, or to you, it seems, laughable. We have spent a substantial amount of public money on such well-credentialed public relations advisors, who have offices in major European capitals and both the east and west coasts of the US.

Read the rest
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My email to Metro Trains

by Haught 20 Comments

I wrote a letter to Metro Trains.

Exciting times.


Dear Metro Trains,

My name is Jonathan Rivett. You might know me – I’m kind of a big deal.  (I have many leather-bound books, and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.)

If you’e not familiar with my work, here’s a quick summary. A couple of weeks ago I became very, very famous when I posted on my blog an email exchange between me and Yarra Trams.

I sent them my account of a tram trip my wife and I had endured during which a drunk man abused passengers in a theatrical baritone. I felt that Yarra Trams had been less than truthful with their insistence that the police had been called once this man’s antics had gone from entertaining to distressing and wanted to know the real story. It was an immensely humorous and exquisitely worded piece of correspondence.

Instead of coming back with a hollow, supermarket-bought reply email, Yarra Trams responded in kind. I posted their brilliant email on my blog. The radio station 3AW found it, then The Age got wind of it and the rest is history.

Anyway, long story short: I thought I’d give you a chance to better your bitter public transport rivals.… Read the rest

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My email to Kyle Sandilands [VINTAGE HAUGHT]

by Haught 8 Comments
"Cane-toad". Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Cane-toad“. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Today the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) said Kyle Sandilands’ November on-air ejaculation of bile was a little bit bad but mostly fine.

No idea which of the many many on-air Sandilands rants I’m talking about? Here’s a recap:

Last year about 1.7 million people said Kyle Sandilands’ new TV project was shit. A few of them said it publicly. One of these people was a journalist by the name of Alison Stephenson. Being a female weighing more than 50kg, Alison deeply offended Kyle. So Kyle decided to hit back.

I think ACMA took the soft option, because they knew I’d taken the hard option and Kyle had thus already served his penance. Here’s the email I sent to Kyle (via Austereo) at the end of last year:

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VINTAGE HAUGHT: My email to Gasp Jeans

In September last year Gasp Jeans received an email from a customer disgusted with the service she’d received at their Chapel Street store. It was the perfect opportunity for Gasp to punch out some Marshallian brilliance and then tan themselves in the intense light of the public goodwill that would inevitably have followed.

That, of course, is difficult without some pretty special response-email talent in your customer service area, so an alternative might have been a sincere apology, an “any inconvenience caused” template reply, or to follow medium/large-business best practice and just ignore the email completely.

Instead, they flew to Fuckwitery, Texas, went into a gun shop called The Customer is Always Wrong, purchased a semi-automatic email response weapon and fifty kilos of ungrammatical ammo, returned to Australia and proceeded to do the online equivalent of “going postal“.

The exchange got the social media virus and soon just about everyone had it.

You can – in fact, you must – read (or relive) the full story here.

Here’s what I wrote to them a few days later:

Dear Gasp,

I’m just going to cut to the chase: can you please abuse me by reply email?

I’ll be brutally honest (I know you goddamn respect that): your clothing doesn’t really do it for me – diamante encrusted denim isn’t my thing.… Read the rest

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THE RESPONSE: My email to Yarra Trams

You may have noticed by now that I believe sarcasm is the second highest form of wit (lavatory humour being the first). Today, however, I write without even the slightest hint of it.

You may remember a few weeks ago I posted an email I had sent to this mob:

If you didn’t catch it, you can read it here.

I write the emails I send to well-known people and organisations, imagining very different reception scenarios. In the case of the Jim Beam email, for instance, I imagined a chimpanzee being slightly surprised by the noise of the email chime, making a little noise of distress, then (inexpertly) pressing the delete button with his long index finger, just like he’d been taught to.

In the case of the email I once sent to Kyle Sandilands, I imagined Jackie O phonetically reading the email on a tablet computer out loud from the side of a pool in which Kyle was lolling, and giving up after the second paragraph (and the fifteenth time Kyle called her a “dumb, illiterate moll”).

In the case of the email I once sent to Margaret Court, I imagined Margaret herself hissing at the screen and then escaping into the night through the window in the form of a bat.… Read the rest

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