"Dear customer, I hope you fall and break your neck."

As an Australian living in the United States, I've been lucky enough to experience many things previously unavailable to me. Like four actual seasons. The four seasons in Australia consist of "Fuck it's hot" , "Can you believe how fucking hot it is?", "I won't be in today because it is too fucking hot", and "Yes, the dinner plate size spiders come inside to escape the heat. That is a fucking whopper though."

I'm not a fan of spiders. If I'm reincarnated as one, I'll bite myself and not seek medical assistance. I've actually only seen one during my time in the US and it was the size of an m&m. I flicked it into the sink. In Australia, the presence of a spider involves screaming, combat gear, and improvised weapons. I do miss aspects of Australia though; I'd kill for a packet of Arnott's Pizza shapes and I saw an episode of Oprah recently where she flew the entire audience to Australia to listen to Russell Crowe sing. It brought a tear to my eye; it was that bad.

My favourite aspect of the United States is the snow. While those around me complain of sliding off the road and having to shovel paths, I quietly hope twenty feet is dumped overnight forcing everyone to dig tunnels to Waffle House and snowboard to Wal-Mart.

From: anton@function4sports.com
Date: Thursday 20 January 2011 11.14am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Advertisement

I was sent the attached advertisement from a friend who follows you on twitter. If this was some kind of joke I fail to see the humor. We had over 5000 calls asking for free snowboards and I know your responsible.

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 20 January 2011 12.26pm
To: anton@function4sports.com
Subject: Re: Advertisement

Dear Anton,

Thank you for your email. I've been called many things while staying in the US - including 'foggot' and 'youreonthewrongsideoftheroadmoron' - but having recently experienced my first snowfall and immediately heading out to spend several hundred dollars on snowsurfing equipment, I hardly think the label 'responsible' is justified.

Contrary to popular belief, there's not a lot of snow in Australia and I recently discovered two facts;

1. Snow is cold.

2. Coming from a climate where the coldest winter demands only complaining slightly less about how hot it is, I am ill-equipped for fact 1.

Unfortunately, these discoveries were made half way up a ski-lift while dressed in jeans, a long sleeved t-shirt, and soaking wet rental boots in minus twelve degree weather. Reaching the summit and finding myself unable to feel my extremities or bend back into a standing position, I rolled off the lift chair and slid down the embankment on my side before coming to a stop aided by a small group of children. Assuring the parents that kids get nose bleeds all the time and that it was probably more to do with the altitude than my flailing, I decided to forego that morning's activities and sit in my vehicle with the heater on while researching local snow-apparel shops on my phone.

Arriving at your store a short time later, I explained to a salesperson that I required warm clothing and "a pair of waterproof gloves for use in the snow." Based on his brand recommendation and assurance that they would perform in the manner required, I purchased a pair of 180's snow gloves, along with several other items of snow related clothing, and ventured back to the slopes.

Assuming the gloves would be waterproof for use in the snow (due to being told "these are waterproof gloves for use in the snow") I was surprised to find they became soaked within seconds and bled black ink down my sleeves and all over the front of my jacket.

Returning to the store immediately, brandishing both the result and receipt, I politely stated that I was not seeking compensation for the ruined jacket, I just wished to exchange the gloves for a pair not designed to destroy everything they come into contact with.

I was told, "Fuck off. You've worn them."

Being that customer service is arguably a company's most valuable asset, I assumed you would appreciate all the free marketing and promotional help you could get.

Regards, David

From: anton@function4sports.com
Date: Thursday 20 January 2011 4.18pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Advertisement

You bought gloves and ruined them and then you want to exchange them for a diffent pair? No store does that. You cant return something already worn. You have no idea about running a business. If I was working that day I would have told you to fuck off too.

Are you going to pay for the extra staff I had to put on to take all the phone calls? Dont be surprised if you get a call from the police.

From: David Thorne
Date: Thursday 20 January 2011 5.06pm
To: anton@function4sports.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Advertisement

Dear Anton,

I'd actually be more surprised if the local constabulary hasn't got me on speed dial by now. And, going by the adage 'You get what you pay for' in regards to the level of expertise and customer service skills your staff display, I doubt the wages for 'extra staff you had to put on' would exceed the $44 I paid for the pair of destructogloves.

The three staff members working the day I purchased the gloves, who I will refer to as Fatty, Tatooey and Fuzzy for identification purposes, seemed rather annoyed by my interruption of their 'sitting in a chair looking cool' time. Fuzzy seemed the most inconvenienced but that's understandable what with having to deal with inappropriate questions such as, "Do you sell waterproof gloves for use in the snow?" in a snow-sports shop.

Although intending to also purchase a board, bindings, and boots that day in order to avoid dealing with rental-shop queues that make the Perestroika bread lines look like a couple of friends standing around having a chat, I did not wish to infringe any further on Fuzzy's prime duties of growing an awesome beard and showing a rash to Fatty and Tatooey. Although Tattooey provided him with a diagnosis of, "Dude, dont' pick it, let it scab," that could only stem from several years in medical school, Fatty only gave it a mild glance and noncommittal grunt before going back to playing Angry Birds.

I should probably be thankful that Fuzzy was too preoccupied to sell me a snowsurfingboard made of sugar or goggles made of bees.

While I may not have your experience running a business, I'm pretty sure that if I owned a shop that sold chairs and you entered my chair shop and said, "Hello shopkeeper, I am looking for something to sit on," and I replied, "Sure, this chair should suit your needs perfectly, it is made for sitting on," and you purchased the chair, took it home, sat on it, and it exploded, taking out previously purchased furniture with it, you would probably drive back to my shop and say, "Excuse me, I bought this chair an hour ago and used it in the manner you recommended, and it exploded - I am not asking for compensation for my other furniture but would like to exchange it for a non-exploding chair that performs in the manner originally described." Responding with anything other than, "I do apologise, here's a replacement." would certainly come as a surprise to you and I doubt, "Fuck off, you sat in it." would mean I'd see you, Fatty, Tattoey and Fuzzy at my premises the following week shopping for cushions.

Also, quick question. Having seen the publicity photo of you with your staff, I realise you probably use a child's board but what length would you recommend for a normal sized human? Ideally, I'd like a really wide snowsurfingboard with handles that I can lay down on. Or one with a seat and steering wheel. Perhaps with some kind of caterpillar tread based wheel system and a motor so that you can ride it up the hill instead of having to take the ski-lift.

Regards, David

From: anton@function4sports.com
Date: Friday 21 January 2011 11.04am
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertisement

Its snowboarding not snowsurfing and 5"8 isn't short dickwad. I doubt my staff acted in that way but if they did then its probably because we get hundreds of weekend warriors in here during ski season and we like to know if they are serious or just window shopping before we waste hours helping them. I'm sick of noobs like you who dont know what they want or shit about snowboarding coming in wasting our time. If I refunded money or exchanged gear to every looser who had a problem with their gloves I’d be broke.

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 21 January 2011 2.17pm
To: anton@function4sports.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertisement

Dear Anton,

Yes, I'm pretty sure if I ran a snowboardsurfing shop the last thing I would want is people new to the sport mistakenly entering my premises with the intention of exchanging goods for money. What a bunch of 'loosers'. You should probably have that on your front door instead of the welcome sign. Perhaps you could incorporate a sign similar to the 'You must be this tall to ride' kind displayed at carnivals, but amend it to 'You must be this cool to enter' with a big red arrow pointing to photos of Fatty, Tattooey and Fuzzy.

Also, I apologise. While the average male height of 5"9 statistically means anything under is considered short, my question was without diminutive intention. I'm sure there are many advantages to being short. Target, for example, carries an excellent range of boys clothing at competitive prices. If I were small, I'd ride a cat .

I do object to the label 'noob' though. Thirty minutes of watching instructional Youtube videos has to count for something. One of them showed a squirrel water-skiing which is pretty much the same thing so how hard can it be? I'm at least twice as intelligent as a squirrel and I once covered almost the entire distance of a slip'n'slide in a standing position so the basic skill set is there. I expect to be doing steezy jumps within the first hour and Olivers by lunch.

When I was nine I attempted to jump my new Standish 12 Selectaspeed racing bike across a creek. Building a ramp from timber removed from an adjoining playground fort, I calculated a speed of 150mph, based on a previous evening's episode of Knight Rider, would see me safely over the fifteen metre gap. Having also seen episodes of Dukes of Hazzard where they jump bridges and the nose of the General Lee crumples a bit, I strategically placed a pile of leaves on the estimated landing point to soften the impact. In front of an expectant crowd consisting of two kids from the playground and a dog, I rode to the top of a hill, donned my father's welding mask and gloves (safety first) and began the descent. Overcoming momentary speed wobble somewhere around eleventh gear, I believe I would have made it had the dog not run in front of me at the last moment, causing me to veer and miss the ramp by about four metres. Approximately half way over the creek and realising my trajectory was not going to make the distance, I attempted to pull the bike upwards, a midair bunny hop if you will, resulting in the handlebars separating from the frame.

Somehow, while my bike dropped into the creek, my body managed to make it to the far bank and roll several times before coming to a halt. Jumping to my feet and exclaiming, "I'm okay!" to my horrified audience, one of them pointed and I looked down to discover a rib poking out of my chest as a red stain slowly spread outwards, ruining my Return of the Jedi T-shirt. I also discovered that the dog, minutes before my approach, defecated in my landing spot. Which for some reason seemed more horrifying to me than the protruding rib at the time. Accepting the loss of Chewbacca and two Ewoks but attempting to remove my shirt before the bloodstain reached Luke, it caught hard on the rib and I blacked out from the pain. During the ambulance ride, I regained consciousness long enough to overhear one of the medics state, "Three broken ribs and a left... is that dog shit?"

While recovering in hospital, my father took the bike back to the shop it was purchased from, showed the defective handlebar bolt and described the accident - admittedly omitting the parts about the ramp, creek, and dog poo. They replaced it with a new bike and threw in a helmet as way of apology.

That store is where I bought my offspring's first, second, and third bike twenty years later.

Regards, David

From: anton@function4sports.com
Date: Friday 21 January 2011 3.37pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertisement

Its ollie not oliver. You really dont have a fucking clue do you. You bought gloves without doing your research first and WORE them and fucked them up and then tried to return them even though we have a sign that says returns are at our discretion. Just because you dont get it doesnt make you right. I intend to call my lawyer about your stupid advertisement. Your banned from my store and dont bother emailing again. I'm too busy making 40 grand a week from noobs like you to read your bullshit.

Enjoy your gloves dickwad.

From: David Thorne
Date: Friday 21 January 2011 3.51pm
To: anton@function4sports.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertisement

Dear Anton,

I assumed Ollie is short for Oliver just as Anton is short for a normal sized human.

While I appreciate your well wishes in regards to the gloves, I have already replaced them with a pair of black North Face 'Montanas' (for approximately half the price I paid for your alarmed squid squishmittens) from another snowsurfing business named Freestyle who were also happy to recommend and fit a selection of boards, bindings, and boots. You should check them out; they have a lot of good stuff there and I can't recommend them enough. Ask for Justin.

Regards, David

From: anton@function4sports.com
Date: Friday 21 January 2011 4.09pm
To: David Thorne
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertisement

I hope you break your fucking neck in a fall noob.

From: David Thorne
Date: Monday 24 January 2011 9.20am
To: anton@function4sports.com
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Advertisement




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