The first letter I ever wrote as a consumer was to the Popsicle company. I was in college, and had purchased a box of Fudgsicles. The picture on the front of the box was beautiful, showing a nicely oblong fudgsicle with rounded edges and tempting grooves:
Don't you just want to lick it?
When I opened the box and pulled out a fudgsicle, however, it was more like a little brown brick:
And even that picture has more curves than did mine that day.
Sincerely disappointed, I wrote a letter to the Popsicle company and told them what happened. I also told them how much I loved Fudgsicles, and how much better it would have been had the thing in the box looked more like the one on the package. I sent the letter off and forgot about it.
Some weeks later, I received a reply in the mail, thanking me for my concern and saying some other such nice stuff. The real good news, however, was that they also sent me two coupons for a FREE box of fudgsicles each! Woohoo!
When I went to the store to redeem my first coupon, I noticed that the Fudgsicle packaging was slightly different than I remembered: the picture on the front was not quite as stylized or curvy, though it still looked delicious. When I got home and took out a fudgsicle, I was further pleased to see that it actually had some shape and form to it. In fact, it looked more or less like the one on the box.
I never thought that my letter would make a difference. I thought it would just go to an empty void and I would feel better having vented my frustration. But someone actually listened! Someone read my letter and, whether because of that or other factors, changed not only the packaging but the product inside as well. Who knew?
That was the start of my career as a consumer letter writer, and now I want a Fudgsicle.