[This week, Open Letters has joined forces with Other People's Mail, the dormant zine of found letters. Today's exchange is between Daniel Arp, a Pittsburgh high school teacher, and the customer-service department of Amazon.com.]
EMAIL # 1
Subject: New stores are springing up at Amazon.com
Dear Amazon Customer,
I have an extreme case of spring fever. And Amazon.com's new Lawn & Patio and Kitchen stores have a lot to do with it.
Our Lawn & Patio store has everything you need to spruce up your yard. Weber grills, Black & Decker mulching mowers, Fiskars tree pruners the selection is amazing. And if it's information you're looking for, we've got buying guides and articles that will turn brown thumbs green and green thumbs greener. Come explore: http://www.amazon.com/lawnandpatio
Does spring bring out the chef in you? Then try our new Kitchen store. It's brimming with thousands of culinary essentials for novices and gourmets alike. Calphalon, Cuisinart, Henckels, KitchenAid we've got all the top brands. Go to: http://www.amazon.com/kitchen
So stop by Amazon.com today. And get the things you need to make the most of the season.
Sincerely, David Risher
Senior VP and Avid Amazon.com Shopper
EMAIL # 2
Subject: Amazon dot me faster
I've got the fever too. For you, Amazon. You feel the spring in the air? I feel it in my step. Your new Lawn & Patio and Kitchen stores have a lot to do with it, but then there's also the tremendous savings on books and music and toys and ideas. Webers and Deckers and pruners I can feel the surge in my blood, the ache and the longing of this crush.
You ask me, "Does spring bring out the chef in you?" You are such a tease, Amazon. That's what I admire about you. I say "admire," because that is truly what I feel toward you: admiration and respect. This is more than consumer lust the impulsive desire to buy, buy, buy you out till we're both dry and empty, panting for breath and mouthing the words "supply," "demand," "supply," "demand," with each in-breath and out-breath.
No, Amazon. Though this physical desire resides within me, my feelings toward you as a corporation are infinitely more complex. This is about more than consumption, Amazon. It is even about more than obsession. It is about love. There, I said it: L-O-V-E.
Rabid Amazon.com shopper
EMAIL # 3
Subject: Your Amazon.com Inquiry
Greetings from Amazon.com.
What a refreshing message! I so enjoyed your accolades, and am very glad to know that we have such a devoted customer. It is so nice to hear that you enjoy shopping with us, and you are not afraid to tell us! Thank you so much for taking the time to write in.
I do hope that you will continue your adoration, and that we continue to show you the best service, prices, and selection that you could ever find. Please let us know if there is ever anything we may do for you. I hope that you are able to find a treasure or two soon, as to quench your thirst for Amazon.com.
Thank you so much, Daniel, for your kind and heartfelt words. I look forward to your next visit. I hope that you have a pleasant day!
Earth's Biggest Selection
EMAIL # 4
Subject: Re: Your Amazon.com Inquiry
Oh wow. Wow wow wow. Wow wow wow wow. You're so turning me on right now to savings. I want to gobble 'em up like candy.
I hope you don't consider it too forward of me that I sent you an e-card, Amazon. (It's a little note with a picture of the suicidal virgins. Hope you like it!) I just wanted to repay you for your warm, affectionate reply to my message. It meant a lot to me, as has the witty back-and-forth I've enjoyed with you while surfing your web site. "Click here, Daniel Arp." "Click there, Daniel Arp." You big tease. I'll click anywhere you want, Amazon.
I just had an impulse: Could you give me an address to send you flowers?
I'm usually not this forward with corporations, but I really think there's something special about you, Amazon.
Whoa, I just thought of something: Do you sell flowers? Cause if you do I could just order them from you then send them back to you. Hold on, let me check your web site. Back in a sec...
Damn, no flowers. I guess I'll have to get them elsewhere. But I don't want to go anywhere else. This is where I want to be: right here with you. I feel so close to you right now, Amazon.
I would like very much if you gave me a call, Amazon. You could tell me some of your special offers. I could provide you with some special offers of my own. It wouldn't have to be a big deal, Amazon, we could just talk about whatever came to mind. I could tell you my idea for a tattoo.
Earth's Biggest Predilection...for you, Amazon
EMAIL # 5
Subject: Your Amazon.com Order
Dear Mr. Arp:
Greetings from Amazon.com!
Thanks you for you kind words and your card. While we appreciate your offer to send us flowers, it certainly is not necessary. Your kind words are more than good enough for us.
It is because of customer comments like yours that we strive to be the very best. I would like to extend our thanks to you for your loyalty and very kind feedback. Without such customers as you, we could not continue to provide the service and selection you've come to expect from our store. Your comments are greatly appreciated, and I sincerely thank you for choosing Amazon.com!
Earth's Biggest Selection
EMAIL # 6
Subject: Re: Your Amazon.com Order
I am death, and you are life, Amazon. I count the hours between each rendezvous as though counting the drip drip drip from that sad old rooftop, a Chinese water torture of waiting, waiting for the next check, the next mouse click and impulse-buy, my leg jerking as though from electric shock waiting to buy and purchase and own. If I could only own you, Amazon. I see the smiling face of your founder, Jeff Bezos, inside a shipping box on the cover of Time Magazine, and I think, "If only..." How much is Jeff Bezos's smiling Man of the Year face worth? Alas, too much for my meager means. Shipping alone would be a nightmare of cost and consequence. They would have to sedate him and send him in a cage, like a circus animal. To subdue him they'd have to shock him repeatedly with a cattle prod. I don't want that. Especially since they'd have to do the same for me, while I waited in my lonely afternoon corner for the delivery of a lifetime, the delivery of you, Amazon, to my vacant residential doorstep.
I have entered the Amazone. I see you everywhere, wherever I walk, your zippy logo imprinted on the leaves of trees and blades of grass, the ground I tread sprinkled with the rose petals of your name: Amazon, Amazon, Amazon, the aching wounded primitive call.
I know I can help you. Why did you never call when I asked? Why did you refuse my offer of flowers? I want only to make you happy, Amazon, to hear your voice. My idea for a tattoo? Your logo across my forehead. Your logo on my back. Your logo running like racing stripes down my legs. I am willing to become a human billboard to please you! How can you refuse my offer? There has never been a more devoted customer, for customers treat corporations like dust or rocks, treat them only like they are there, not like the living, breathing, sweating presences they are, teeming with life and desire. So sweat on me Amazon. Bleed out your icons, your slogans, your mergers and acquisitions, and make sure all those drip-drip-drips fall on me, your devoted servant, the one below you on bended knee.
Your panting devoted slave-monkey,
Earth's Biggest Genuflection