duke writes back!
i am somewhat skeptical when they say: we do really care about what you think, so please continue to hold, when we are done with whatever complains we are currently dealing with a high volume, we'll get on yours asap, well, kind of.
where have we heard that one before: well, on customer phone lines, from banks to doctors to tech supports to anyone really. i ve been tempted many time to put it on as my greetings message on the phone and see how many people would actually leave a message after all that hassle.
customer feedbacks are funny things. though it is essential, it is a pain on the butt to collect. and nowdays it seems that everyone thinks that anyone could collect quantitative data from the web (HA!), that customer feedbacks should be filed under 'ancient history' or 'ancient legacy' or even 'bad cumulative business practice.' well we all know how honest we are with our doctors (at least once you have lied to your doctor. anyone shaking their head, add another denial to your list. plus 5 points), so when it comes to a forced interaction (if not forced situation all together) with customer service, things just get real hairy.
i am not condemning the business practices of making complaints as difficult as possible. heck, i remember complaining about perfectly good packed lunch (which resulted in immediate transfer of duty: why dont you pack your own $#@% lunch from now on?), so knowing how creative people get, i am not surprised that they even have a real number for customer supports. ive been tempted to photoshop that back of package: 'customer feedback' with 'for good times, call...' haha.
anyways. anyone who has dealt with banks or phone companies, or even one up, the tech supports for anything computer related, we all know about one's 'now-newly-expecting' expected attitude about customer feedback: unless you have got all day and some energy to burn, dont even bother! but then there are occasional cases where the mundane expectations are creamed against wall. and one is left looking rather sheepish.
so where does this all fit into? what customer service am i going to talk about? well, you may be surprised. i am talking a real duke who lives in 21st century in a big house with all those fancy titles (he even signs his things 'devonshire,' apparently they dont even have to mention their names; we are supposed to know). and what does monkey know about the great customer service of the 12th duke of devonshire?
well, while in uk, mr. salamander and monkey decided to go look at some fancy houses. not just any, but we went to see the house of 12th duchess/duke of devonshire. yep, it's the house where the recent movie 'duchess,' featuring keira knightley and ralph fiennes was shot:
a grand house with whole bunch of arts and beautiful stuff, really. it even had a greatly classy tack shop, a rarity in these days. and so even though we were strapped for cash (just one of those days where one leaves cash at home by a mistake, leaving cash feeling snugly safe and happy and the individuals feeling somewhat endangered by lack of cash), we had to bring something back with us. and what else would be more appropriate but a marmalade, a great uk breakfast staple? you see, mr. salamander has these ability/facility to create old school coal fire at will, so weve been eating much toasts at this point. and butter and toast is as good as it gets sometimes. and having even more magic sprinkles on toasts- whether you prefer peanut butter, nutella or even marmalade, it all adds to even more excitement. esp. if you have the time to make real cup of tea/coffee to go with it and a bit of time to mellow out. ah. toast. i could so use one right now. notice i said i could use, not i need to use. haha. such is the nature of toasts. optional, however, desperately optional.
anyways, so there were couple different kinds of marmalade avail. but one particular section had jars with silver stickers, claiming it is 'duke's favorite,' so we had to take a look at that. and my, it was graced with a grand description of 'vintage.'
now, i am familiar with the term 'vintage' regarding wine. or even clothing. anything but... marmalade. and i dont think it's due to lack of attention. it just was... completely new concept. a vintage marmalade. who wouldve thought. so we read every letter on the label to see what qualifies it as 'vintage,' as i wasnt exactly hopping excited about buying a used jar of marmalade. or even, second-handed jar. or vintage without a year.
so one morning, eating toast with butter and marmalade, monkey took a pen and a paper, and start to write to the duke. handwritten, oldschool letter. inflamed by curiosity and no real dangers nearby, monkey wrote a full page of thanking the duke for opening his residency and how pleasurable it was to experience the 'proper' historic british mansion. then came the question: what makes your favorite marmalade a vintage?
mr. salamander didnt discourage monkey for wasting time; in fact, he suggested that we go post it that afternoon on way to another leisure walk, to the local small post-office. so the letter was dropped. and in addition, grabbing a full bag of treacle toffee, the two nutters went off to continue the walk. did i expect anything to come out of it? may be. may be not. the duke is a big title. may be he's busy.
then. came. one day.
a letter from the duke.
he apparently read it and tried to decipher the name of monkey and totally butchered it. well, he got two of four parts right. at least he's got the 'dr. lee' part. apparently monkey's handwriting sucks. ha ha. but i guess the rest of the letters were readable and so came his explanation. it was even signed. ha ha! as 'stoker devonshire.' another dovetail, stoker apparently is the term given to the back seater of a tandem bike. nice. at least the duke lets someone else drive (perhaps the duchess?)
in anycase, this letter was a real nice surprise. not only he went through the reasoning behind the 'vintage' lable, he took the time to respond back to a monkey. sometimes, these things really surprise me. how nice. oooer and the marmalade, wonderful. i hope to restock it sometime soon, hopefully this year. yum. toast, butter, marmalade, fire, mr. salamander and the letter of the duke. monkey's life is now at least six things richer. go monkey.
1. One who is employed to feed fuel to and tend a furnace, as on a steam locomotive or a steamship.
2. A mechanical device for feeding coal to a furnace.
[Dutch, from stoken, to stoke, from Middle Dutch stken, to poke.]