Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Corduroy Writes a Letter

Several years ago, I bought a book at a garage sale titled Corduroy Writes a Letter.  We've read it many times over the past few years.  The plot of the book centers on Corduroy who writes several letters to people.  They listen and fix the broken sign, add more sprinkles back to the cupcakes, etc.  

I'm one of those people that's a little like Corduroy.  If there's something I'm concerned about, then I write a letter to the editor about it.  If I buy something at the store that is bad, then I call the customer service line and let them know--I don't want anyone to get sick from something.  If something doesn't work, I call the customer service for the company and let them know.  I will say that I also call if something works really well!  I compliment employees and am glad to give praise.  

So, when Autumn discovered that Dove chocolates didn't put sayings in their Valentine's candies, she was quite disappointed.  I encouraged her to write a letter.  She did.

She also got one in return.  I was quite surprised by it, though.  I think you'll understand why from this excerpt:

"Unfortunately mars Chocolate North America doesn't accept any ideas from outside of our company.  We have a very creative Research and Development department that works on developing new and exciting products for consumers to enjoy.  A lot of time goes into manufacturing and marketing a new product idea, sometimes even years before a finished product is introduced.  It is important ot everyone at Mars Chocolate North America that our finished products are perfect!"

I had two reactions to this letter.

1) As I read the letter, I pictured the world of Huxley's Brave New World.  I know that sounds horrible, but this paragraph made me feel like a little marionette.   The marketers market, and I'm expected to act like a puppy dog and lap it up.  Blech!  I suppose I'm a bit extreme in my reaction, but the words were so cloyingly sweet and fake that I reacted strongly.

2)  All they really needed to say was thanks for the suggestion.  My 8 year old daughter didn't really need to read a politically correct letter of rejection.  This letter is the stuff that feeds cynicism about our world and the corporate climate we live in.  My husband saw it as a good thing, though.  He felt it conveys to Autumn something about the real world.

So, if you're thinking about a similar assignment, I'd caution you to 1) not write to Mars Chocolate or 2) not to mail the letter.  There's my cynicism already creeping in.  I'm sorry.


Kim said...

If my daughter had gotten that letter I would have been mad! Seriously?! But, as an outsider looking in on your daughter, I think your husband has a good point. (Don't you love Mommy logic?!) :) I'm sorry that the Mars company was so crummy to Autumn, but I do hope that doesn't stop her form making her voice heard in the future. (I do think she is so much like you that I have a hard time imagining her being quiet!)

Anne said...

Thanks for understanding my side! I wondered if I was crazy for reacting the way I did. I see my husband's side too, but I hope she won't stop expressing herself :) or believing that saying what you think matters.