Letters of Faint Praise and the Machines Who Read Them

Tom Bartlett writes letters to companies. Not angry, abusive letters full of bile and ant eggs, but gentle missives filled with light praise. They’re really not anything special.

Which is why the responses sent by the companies Bartlett writes are precious. Some companies obviously respond with a robot who has mastered real, human empathy, while others don’t see to quite get the gist at all.

Bartlett writes:

Dear Windex,
I saw your commercial with the talking birds that fly into the window because it’s so clean they think it’s not really a window. Ha ha! That cracked me up. Stupid birds! It serves them right.

Windex responds:

I’m happy to hear the commercial made you laugh. Like many companies, we have a policy for product advertising that states, in part, “Product advertising will inform potential users about our products and their benefits to help them make intelligent, informed buying decisions.”