The Complainist
March 26, 2010 11:04 AM   Subscribe

The Complainist
My friend and I have been writing to companies for years now, pretending to be a middle aged woman who lives somewhere in the US with her husband and her two children. We started writing in 2002, but recently launched the site and started making more of an effort to write regularly. Linda Wilson often misunderstands a product's intended use, usually takes suggestions from advertisements literally, and always lacks the common sense most of us take for granted.

Sometimes the companies respond, and sometimes they don't.
posted by jeffxl (9 comments total)

This is a bit like Letters from a Nut and the like, but I always enjoy the concept.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:34 AM on March 26, 2010

Okay, I'll be the curmudgeon that says it was cute to do it once or twice, but this ends up being spamming someone's customer service. It would be like pretending to have problems with metafilter sites and sending mathowie, Jessamyn and Cortex email after email. One could be funny and cute. This Weight Watchers one is a bit much, for a variety of reasons.

The noncurmudgeon in me says it's funny, and I guess no worse than those tv shows that set up elaborate pranks on employees. Plus you've probably given some poor shmuck a good laugh at work.
posted by cashman at 11:40 AM on March 26, 2010

Some people like it, some people don't. My wife thinks it's crazy and weird, but my friend's 70-year-old Dad can't get enough Linda.

I don't know if I'd consider it spamming, though. If they don't reply, we stop writing them. The Weight Watchers one went on for much longer than usual, simply because they kept responding.
posted by jeffxl at 1:06 PM on March 26, 2010

My observations:
  1. You'd have to be an ass to do this.
  2. It's unclear if these are email or postal
  3. You need more letters.
  4. The site is a bit bland looking.

posted by cjorgensen at 2:38 PM on March 27, 2010

Seems a bit like the Lazlo Letters.
posted by Red Loop at 5:55 AM on March 28, 2010

Seems a bit like...

...or Alexander Pope, John Locke, Jonathan Swift, Ted L. Nancy, Kembrew McLeod, Henry Root, Paul Rosa, Hans Christian Andersen, The Yes Men, and Benjamin Franklin.

I love Lazlo, but Root was doing it before him (and in my mind better and for sure was dating a higher class of women). In fact of the ten cited only three came after Lazlo.

My digs above were mostly because I do this same thing. Site's in the profile. Only "2" was a real criticism.
posted by cjorgensen at 10:03 AM on March 28, 2010

I have seen a similar book, called Wilber Winkle Has A Complaint! but some of its content seems very 20th Century now.
posted by knile at 4:42 PM on March 28, 2010

I think you guys should pose as Teabaggers and write silly sounding stuff to newspapers that display total ignorance to the extent that it would make real Teabaggers blush. Also, a fan letter to Sarah Palin would be awesome!
posted by anniecat at 8:55 AM on March 30, 2010 [1 favorite]

I think I'm with Cashman. Doing this once or twice would be funny. But the truth is that the only people you end up annoying are front-line customer service people, and not the executives responsible for the policies that you are mocking.

This is hardly a high crime or anything, but it's like haranguing the cashier at McDonald's because their food sucks.
posted by DWRoelands at 5:25 AM on April 9, 2010 [1 favorite]

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