Got angry? Get funny. Humor seems to be one very effective form of therapy for frustrated consumers who find themselves dancing the Tortured Tango with a large, unresponsive Contemptuous Company who can’t distinguish its customers from an algebraic formula. At one time or another, we all find ourselves banging our heads up against such companies (and, occasionally government oversight agencies) whose incompetence or indifference drive us a little bonkers. So take the lead from some other bonkered consumers and have a laugh……at the expense of that special Contemptuous Company that has pissed you off and needs a little lesson in humility:
Write a Funny On-line Review or Complaint
Cursing is easy…..parody is hard. But it’s worth it because it gets read and makes an impact. Writing a scathingly funny review about a Contemptuous Company. It isn’t as hard as you think. The University of Colorado conducted a review of humorous complaints and found that they get a lot more attention from other consumers. Bottom line: the researchers found it was significantly more likely for a 1- or 2-star Yelp review to be labeled “funny” by users than for 4- and 5-star reviews. Some of the funnier reviews were compiled by Buzzfeed. They include this recipe book review: “It used to be that I got home from work and the only thing I’d want to put in my mouth was the cold barrel of my grandfather’s shotgun. Then I discovered Sonia Allison’s Chicken Tetrazzini, and now there are two things.” Complainants about the Haribo Sugar-free Gummy Bear candy fared similarly: “Like nothing I’ve ever imagined,” warned the highest-rated review on the site. “What came out of me felt like someone tried to funnel Niagara Falls through a coffee straw.” Another consumer warned of “gastrointestinal Armageddon.”
Complaints posted on the Net can be just as effective. One compilation by Dearcustomerrelations not only will bring tears to your eyes, but will causes grimaces on the faces of some Contemptuous Company executives. Anthony Matthews has developed a reputation as an effective complaint letter writer….so much so that his letters were featured by NPR. One of the most memorable complaint letters was sent to Virgin Airline’s head Richard Branson….and then posted on the Internet. Declared by some as the funniest passenger complaint letter “ever”, it details a “culinary journey of hell” perpetrated by Virgin Airlines. Lorikeet’s diatribe about AT&T may sound familiar….if you’ve been an AT&T customer. But we think the letter that Scott Furrow wrote to Chrysler might even be funnier.
Create a Music Video
One of the classic consumer comebacks ever was the video created by Dave Carroll after United damaged his guitar but took no responsibility. His United Breaks Guitars is an inspired act of righteous revenge:
Publish a Website
Nowadays, it doesn’t take that much effort to create a website. The granddaddy of consumer parody websites is Reemco, whose inspired lunacy has inspired many successors. (it also became a fairly popular site for humorous t-shirts). Another goody: SkyHigh Airlines, whose send up of travel abuses guarantees some chuckles. But the most common consumer complaint website is the “sucks” sites. Amazingly, a “.sucks” domain suffix has been created for just such sites. There’s an entire website dedicated to sucks sites, including the legendary “NoDaddy” that reportedly was bought out by GoDaddy because it was just that effective and Untied.com, the United parody site that the airline is now suing to shut down. If you are looking for a good template for a sucks site, check out PayPalsucks.com or Farmersinsurancegroupsucks.com
Record Your Experience
Ryan Block created a viral audio clip when he recorded his effort to cancel his Comcast Internet service. The audio clip was so compelling that Comcast was forced to issue a public apology: “”We are very embarrassed by the way our employee spoke with Mr. Block and are contacting him to personally apologize.” The band “Shopping” went even further and recorded (and posted) an album called “Consumer Complaints” that consists entirely of consumer complaints. The music is pretty good and, combined with scathing lyrics, capture the shopping nightmares.
Take Out A Full-Page Ad
This is a bit more expensive than the other tactics, but they can be memorable. Comedian Eugene Mirman likes to do this (of course, it is a promotional strategy that serves him professionally), but it is still funny. His classic is the open letter to Time Warner Cable in which he compares TWC’s policies to those of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. You can watch him read this letter below: