Going Postal with a Pen

bottleDear Makers of Playtex VentAire Baby Bottles,

Shopping for a baby is difficult when you’re a first-time parent.  It’s especially tough when your infant son has acid reflux and needs specialized food and equipment, so a lot of time and frustration can be saved when you find the right product. Congratulations to your marketing team for designing such promising labels and handsome packaging for the Playtex VentAire Bottles—you really had us going! Nicely played! My wife and I were convinced that better times were coming when we found them. Improvements were welcome, too. Up until then our son tended to spit up… whatever milky liquid went in, a good portion of it came right back out. He was like a little malfunctioning fountain cherub. But your bottles have helped! Do I credit the specially-designed vents at the base of each bottle that are supposed to keep air bubbles from entering the chamber? Nope. Is it the rapid-flow nipple openings that ensure a smooth, white, life-giving stream of sustenance at every feeding? I think not.

Maybe it’s because your bottles leak so badly that he’s had no actual milk since we bought them.

Yes! Leaks! All of those incredible leaks! How has this helped? If nothing is going in, then conversely, there’s nothing to regurgitate. Symmetry! I imagine that many Research and Development dollars were spent designing this product—expensive bottles with 6 different parts carefully constructed to fit together—and that they would actually hold in liquid. Well, they don’t. Just put milk in one, place it on the table, and watch how milk begins to pool around the bottom. Boy, is that an unexpected sight in the middle of the night when you’re trying to stay awake long enough to feed your milk-starved, screaming progeny. A puddle of milk on a coffee table with a flashy bottle sitting in the middle of it: that should be the picture on your packaging. So the parent resorts to sopping up the leaked puddle of milk with a cloth and wringing it out into the gaping baby-bird mouth of his hungry infant. Is that how it’s supposed to work? If so, your instructions need a little clarification.

I also commend the design team for choosing disappearing ink for the bottle level measurement marks. Upon purchase, you could plainly see the 1-ounce, 2-ounce, even the 3-ounce markings. Those are very helpful when you’re trying to mix formula. But after a few washings, those marks come right off! Presto! You’re left with a blank canvas where you can imagine any amount you like!

Earlier I mentioned 6 distinct parts per bottle. It is an impressive number but you could have rounded up to ten separate pieces just to extend the washing process by another half hour. There’s nothing like coming home after a long workday and dunking your tired hands into a stinky tub of countless bottle parts—it’s truly blissful.  Forget actual quality time with your kid, there are bottles to wash! Ultimately, as you place the tiny pieces out to dry, a strange surreal certainty hits you–in no time those pieces will be reassembled and locked together to form a leaky, unreadable bottle. It’s like the resurrection of a sad, broken thing, like something from Pet Sematary, night after night after night.

So thank you for your inspired work and your nearly criminal resolve to keep a faulty product on the market.  If nothing else, they are durable.  I’ve cussed, thrown, beaten, stomped, punched, and garbage disposal’d these bottles yet they still stay on our counter. Durability is a great lesson for new parents.

Your humble customer,

Mike Johnson

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5 Responses to “Going Postal with a Pen”

  1. *gasp* Need…air! Laughing…too…hard! *passes out*

    • Thanks, Uninvoked! I hope you caught your breath…glad you found this site and I look forward to checking out your working novel.

  2. When my company gets complaints like this we usually send free product….the same crap they just complained about. How about you?

  3. I always thought that was an odd response to complaints–why don’t we send you more of the shitty product that has upset you? Seems like there should be recompensation or creative couponing–here’s $50 store credit to purchase something else. As far as the bottles, this letter will never be seen by anyone other than people who stumble onto this site. I cussed those bottles for the past several months but Playtex never heard a word. Remember back at N. Kerr when I got a bad can of Starkist tuna and I wrote a letter to their home office? I ended up getting free vouchers for 3 measly cans of tuna. That was hardly worth the time and the stamp.

  4. I love it Mike. I’ll be sure to buy plenty of these when Ally and I go down the parenthood path. Then I’ll be sure to hit myself over the head with them just to add to the paid.

    McSweeney’s passed on a good one.

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