Tweeter buttonFacebook buttonTechnorati buttonReddit buttonMyspace buttonDelicious buttonWebonews buttonLinkedin button
The Art of the Customer Complaint
Shell’s $12 Tire in 1970
Categories: Automotive, Letter
Rating 4.00 out of 5

This proves that the art of writing clever complaint letters is not a recent phenomenon.  Some especially colorful language and timeless, world-class insults at the end ensure this letter’s place in the complaint letter hall of fame!

Atlanta, Georgia
September 13, 1970

Billing Department
Shell Oil Company
Tulsa, Oklahoma 74102

Dear Sir:

I have been a regular customer of the Shell Oil Company for several years now, and spend approximately $40.00 per month on Shell products. Until recently, I have been completely satisfied with the quality of Shell products and with the service of Shell employees.

Included in my most recent statement from your department was a bill for $12.00 for a tire which I purchased at the Lowell I. Reels Shell station in McAdenville, N.C. I stopped at this station for gasoline and to have a timing malfunction corrected. The gasoline cost $5.15; eight new plugs cost $9.36; labor on the points $2.50. All well and good.

Earlier in the day I had a flat tire, which the attendant at the Lowell I. Reels station informed me that he was unable to fix. He suggested that I purchase a tire from him in order that I have a spare for the remainder of my journey to Atlanta. I told him that I preferred to buy tires from home station in Atlanta, but he continued to stress the risk of driving without a spare. My reluctance to trade with an unknown dealer, even a Shell dealer, did not discourage him and finally, as I was leaving, he said that out of concern for my safety (my spare was not new) and because I had made a substantial expenditure at his station, he would make me a special deal. He produced a tire (“Hits a good one. Still has the tits on it. See them tits. Hits a twenty dollar tar.”) which I purchased for twelve dollars and which he installed on the front left side for sixty-five cents. Fifty miles further down the highway, I had a blowout.

Not a puncture which brought a slow, flapping flat, nor a polite ladyfinger firecracker rubberburpple rupture (pop); but a howitzer blowout, which reared the the hood of my car up into my face, a blowout, sir, which tore a flap of rubber from this “tire” large enough to make soles for both sandals of a medium sized hippie. In a twinkling, then, I was driving down Interstate 85 at sixty miles per hour on three tires and one rim with rubber clinging to it in desperate shreds and patches, an instrument with a bent, revolving, steel-then-rubber-then-steel rim, whose sound can be approximated by the simultaneous placing of a handful of gravel and a young duck into a Waring Blender.

The word “careen” does no justice whatever to the movement that the car then performed. According to the highway patrolman’s report, the driver in the adjoining lane, the left hand– who, incidentally, was attempting to pass me at the time– ejaculated adrenelin all over the ceiling of his car. My own passengers were fused into a featureless quiver in the key of “G” in the back seat of my car. The rim was bent; the tits were gone; and you can f–k yourself with a cream cheese dildo if you entertain for one moment the delusion that I intend to pay the twelve dollars.

Sincerely yours,

/s/ T.B.T.