Dear Windows Vista,

You suck.



Dear Mattel,I rue the day I succumbed to your feminine wiles and purchased a Barbie Girl device for my daughter.  What a big, fat, freaking joke of a mistake that was.  My own weakness is to blame, but damn, did you have to play me so hard?

Yours truly,


Dear Cleaning Service,I have conflicting feelings about you.  On the one hand, you’ve always done a superior job of cleaning my house, filth machine that it is, for less money than the other cleaning services charge.  On the other hand, you really made me mad the other day, and I’m not quite over it yet.

You were supposed to clean my rental house Monday afternoon.  I went over there Monday morning to leave a check and clean out the refrigerator.  I made one trip back to my house to put away the frozen food, then returned for everything else.  When I came back to my (real) house, I found a note on the door from your cleaning team indicating that they had missed me and I needed to reschedule my move-out clean and by the way, the house should be emptied of furniture and boxes, etc.  When I got inside my (real, not-rental) house, there was a message on the machine from one of your supervisors, indicating that the cleaning team had come by my house but found it unprepared for cleaning, i.e. there were boxes and furniture and all manner of non-emptiness abounding. 

When I called you and told your representative that there had been a misunderstanding and you had sent the team to the wrong house, she didn’t quite understand.  I talked to her for several minutes.  She put me on hold, spoke with the supervisor who had left me the phone message, got back on the phone and told me that yes, indeed, they certainly had gone to my house that day but found that it was not empty.  I spoke to her for several more minutes, repeatedly insisting that the house they were supposed to clean that day certainly was empty, and if they had found it not so, they were at the wrong house. 

I tried using logic–as in, why would a cleaning team visit my rental house three or more hours ahead of schedule (before I arrived to leave the check), find it not empty, then wait several hours before leaving a note at my other house (the one that wasn’t empty and that they weren’t supposed to clean)?  I think my argument was too subtle, because she didn’t seem to follow it, so I just came right out and said, as explicitly as I could without using swear words, that I didn’t believe for one moment that they’d ever gone to the rental house, that they’d gone to my real (not-empty, noy-supposed-to-be-cleaned-that-day) house by mistake, and that I expected and felt entitled to an immediate correction of that mistake.  She seemed sympathetic and told me that the supervisor would call me back and resolve this matter with me.

An hour later I realized that it was getting to be 3:00 on an afternoon before a holiday, and if I wanted to be certain I was getting a resolution of this matter before the new year and before the scheduled walk-through with the landlord, I was going to have to call again and insist on speaking with the supervisor then.  A different representative answered the phone and informed me that the supervisor, whom I shall refer to here as Ms. Snotty Know It It All, was about to leave for a meeting but she would try to catch her before she left.  Ms. SKIA came to phone and told me that the cleaning team had gone to the house that morning and there was no key under the mat as per agreement, but they could see through the windows that the house was unprepared, i.e., there were furniture, boxes, a vacuum cleaner, etc.  I was surprised that no one mentioned the freaking Christmas tree.  I told Ms. SKIA that if the team saw furniture, they were peering in the wrong window because the furniture was moved from the rental house last Thursday, and the reason there was no key under the mat was because they were at the wrong stinking house.  The key was under the mat on the front porch of the rental house, the empty one that was supposed to be cleaned that day.  Ms. SKIA sighed deeply and looked some more (I presume) at her computer records and eventually concluded that the person who’d done the maps that day, who just happened to be the gal who’d answered the phone, who was still standing right there, had keyed in the wrong code on the computer, thus sending the team to the wrong house.  Imagine.

I’m not upset that someone made a mistake.  It was a simple, human mistake by someone who was obviously new.  Big deal.  And fortunately there were still teams out cleaning and you sent one right away, fulfilling your obligation to me.  So whatever, no harm done.  I don’t care about the initial mistake.  What is niggling at me is that Ms. SKIA obviously had no intention of calling me back that day, as she did not believe that any mistake had been made–unless it was the mistake of agreeing to clean the home of some crazy person who didn’t know the meaning of the word “empty.”  I’m sure you run into your fair share of such people.  However, remember me, the customer?  The one who’s always right?  If I had waited patiently for Ms. SKIA’s phone call, it never would have come, you never would have cleaned my house, and I would have had to postpone the checkout with our landlord another day or more, depending on whether or not I could secure child care so that I could clean my own stupid house (the empty one, I mean).  That would have been inconvenient.  A rather high price to pay, in my opinion, for being on the receiving end of your mistake. 

And it’s not like I require groveling, but an apology would have been nice, too.  The first representative I spoke to seemed sorry enough, but what else was she going to say when she didn’t have a clue what was going on?  Ms. SKIA was the person who should have been apologizing, for disbelieving and/or ignoring my claims–based entirely on reality, as it happened–but she didn’t.  She seemed quite put out, actually.  I noticed, too, that she didn’t make any attempt to cut me out of the conversation she had with the underling who’d made the initial error, just so I’d know whose fault it all was.  I thought that was tacky.  The whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and I don’t think that’s entirely due to the fact that I’m coming down with a wicked head cold.

Still, I’m conflicted.  Today you sent another cleaning team to my real house–the non-empty one, the one with the furniture and the Christmas tree–and already I feel all of my anger and annoyance dissipating.  I can’t stay angry at people who clean my house, regardless of what I’m paying them.  I am at your mercy.  I hope you’re satisfied.

Your loyal patron,