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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The #FreeAnnie campaign

As The Age reported this week Metro Trains has, over the last year, gone into a fine dispensing frenzy.

One of the people they’ve nabbed during this period of sustained blame-shifting and misdirection is a Haught reader by the name of Annie.

Last week she wrote to me about her recent experience on a Metro train and her subsequent correspondence with the Department of Transport.

Her emails were charming, vivid and compelling. (They also included brazen raunch; during one paragraph I fainted.)

It seems that some overzealous Metro Trains Authorised Officers, followed by the Department of Transport, have got the delightful Annie mixed up with a  fare-evading black squiggle non-entity, as represented in this advertising campaign.

From her emails alone I can tell that Annie is not a scribble-based
organism. And if she is, she’s probably a vibrantly coloured one. Annie, told me in her emails to me that “I never forget to buy a ticket because it matters to me to have a healthy transport system – and the only way Melbourne’s shitty system will improve is through use and investment by the people (fares).”

With this in mind, have a read of Annie’s case:

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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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My email to Jim Beam

Recently, you might have seen an ad for an alcoholic beverage company where young men and women shout noises at the top of their voices…

…and that’s it. That’s the ad in its entirety.

You know the one…

Recently, I’ve heard some disappointing discussions revolving around the ad and have often found myself the lone voice of reason, defending their subversiveness, wit and poignant underlying message, among a group of up to a dozen irrational halfwits.

This being the case, I decided to write a letter of support to Jim Beam. It went a little something like this:

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“I’ve hit pay dirt, baby”

by Haught 1 Comment

Late last year a man sent me an email that I thought had changed by life.

It went like this:

Good morning,

I hope you are fine today?

I don’t know if you might be interested in a business proposal which am about to reveal to you considering that we haven’t met in person.

It’s all about US$ 10,000,000 dormant fund in our bank coded account here(SGBCI).

I am the only person with the knowledge of the funds and its deposit, and will solicit for your partnership for us to have it. My position in the bank will guarantee easy and risk-free handling of the transaction as i have every details of it.

I will give your more details as soon as I hear from you, including the sharing ratio.

Please ignore the proposition, if you don’t seem to be interested. contact me at mrjeanfafona@yahoo.co.uk

Please keep confidential!!

Thanks,

Mr Jean Fafona

Once the pressure build-up in my underpantal region had subsided, I responded, thus:

Good morning, Jean,

This sounds like a wonderful offer and I feel so privileged that, of the world’s seven million people, you chose me to share in the US$10 million.

First, I should apologise for being so late with my response.

Read the rest
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My email to Ben Polis

by Haught 9 Comments

Yesterday, the Melbourne Football Club, as well as the Melbourne Victory Football Club and the Melbourne Rebels Rugby Union Club dumped Energy Watch as their sponsors after the co-founder and CEO of the company, Ben Polis, was found to have made a series of offensive comments on his Facebook page.

I like writing emails to people like Ben, as they are often misunderstood and I am very good at looking at things from a different perspective. Here’s one I wrote a little while ago:

Dear Ben,

I am writing this email to you tod

I am white and male.

I am writing this email to you today both to lend my support at this difficult time and (I hope this doesn’t sound opportunistic) to propose a business deal.

I feel that the way you have been treated has been nothing short of disgraceful! (Is it OK if I put exclamation marks at the end of my sentences? I know you have ADHD and I know rambunctious punctuation can set a person with ADHD off, so I thought I’d check.)

We seem to live in a nanny state where freedom of speech is frowned upon in the same way that soap might be at a brown person’s home/adobe hut/teepee.… Read the rest

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