by: The Big Snake
I sat down about a month ago and thought to myself…. when was the last time I heard “Hey bud, this one’s on the house!” And I’ll be damned, I couldn’t recall! I also couldn’t recall if I have ever actually heard that before, or if it was just said on a re-run of Cheers playing in the background of a bar where I was already very drunk.
Semantics aside, there isn’t a soul on this earth that doesn’t long to hear those words at least once in awhile. Whether it be at your favorite bar, coffee shop, or used tire shop, those few simple words make you feel like dropping your hard earned coin there is noted and appreciated. In these “hard” economic times however, fewer and fewer establishments are willing to hand out a freebie. It’s like everyone has gone stingy on us hard working folks who are just trying to live ever-so-slightly above our means. What are we to do? Ol’ Snake has a solution…. Email corporate.
Now before you say anything, I understand this tactic will not work at one of your local mom and pop stores. That’s fine. My goal is to help you supplement your daily intake of whatever this consumable item is by cutting it with the corporate version. This way you can maximize your supply with minimal funding, like a drug dealer does. It’s gonna take work though.
First let’s talk about the history of “emailing corporate”. Long a tactic employed by perpetually unsatisfied white-couples and people who are angry about something else, emailing corporate will usually get you something you want. Whether that be an apology you DO NOT deserve or a coupon for your next drink half-off, they will respond with something for you. This “I’m angry at your staff” technique, however, gets you something at the expense of the poor people who have to work in a corporate hell-hole for a pittance. It also makes you look like a total asshole (but you wouldn’t care, because you are). While being really angry is an easy way to get what you want, my new and improved technique will get you what you want through other means: Being complimentary.
As a result of the behavior discussed in the previous paragraphs, corporations now almost always have a dedicated staff of human punching bags just to handle the deluge of angry complaints from retirees across the country. In a sea of unreasonable complaints riddled with grammatical errors and pending lawsuits your nice email is going to stick out like that balding, chubby Bee-Gee next to his handsome brothers with the beautifully feathered hair (see bottom for illustrated example). I like to call this the ‘Ugly Gibbs Brother” effect.
Don’t be afraid to really heap it on too, check out my example in an email sent to convenience store chain, Cumberland Farms:
Wow, now that is some high praise. Notice how I added in a few factors here to make this email really shine. One, I made it abundantly clear that it was my birthday. Two, I asked for way more than they could have possibly given me.
If you think requesting an entire film crew was a bit too much…. you would be right, because they responded with this:
Alright, fair enough Cumberland Farms. In retrospect this was my fault for painting myself as a lonely sad-sack who wrote a convenience store chain just to let them know his birthday plan was to go to a bunch of their locations by himself. While demanding a film crew.
This initial response did not phase me however, I wanted those free hot-dogs and/or coffees. Bad. So I decided to play into the pitiful role I had already laid out with this:
**ADDRESS CHANGED TO PROTECT MY PRIVACY, ALTHOUGH I DO FREQUENT THIS DENNY’S**
This follow up email did two things for me. Firstly, it affirmed to the customer service center that my first email was not just a silly prank. I was serious about this birthday gas station tour, the film crew, the whole lot of it. Second, it heaped even more pity on top of an already unbearably pitiful story. The body of that text might as well read “Please respond to my email Cumberland farms, you are literally all I have…”
Then the magic happens:
Thank you, Maureen, for saving my birthday!
Finally, I have my prize. Two coupons for a free beverage worth 99 cents or less (retail value) and it only took seven days, four emails, and hours of planning my next move. Next time someone asks me how much my time is worth, I’m going to say “One dollar and ninety-eight cents, plus tax.” without hesitation. And so should you.
This is not an exact science, but more of an art, as you can see. So if you have any trouble with getting your free drink coupons feel free to contact me directly for guidance. Or if you represent a company that would like to send me free drink coupons, you can contact me as well. Just remember to never give up, not until you have claimed what is rightfully yours. As promised earlier, I will leave you with a little picture to help you remember my “Ugly Gibbs Brother Effect” Thank you.