The Tale of the Three Cent Book
The Original Message
My friend Joel Cash decided to sell a book on Amazon for three cents. The buyer, whose name will remain anonymous, sent back an apalling message to Joel regarding the condition of the book he sold. I can understand why the buyer was upset, but I cannot currently comprehend this reason extending beyond the buyer's own mind and manifesting itself in such a reply as Joel received. This is the original message sent to Joel from the buyer:
"I was very disappointed in the condition of the book you sent. It was dirty and the edges were well worn and torn. I would not have described this book as "very good" condition. This is the first time I have regretted a purchase on Amazon.
Joel's Awesome Reply
If that isn't hilarious enough for you, Joel's reply was considerably humble and reasonable for what he put up with. Instead of a blatant "you're a moron" which is more like what my reply would have been, Joel wrote this gem of a reply back, and what may well be the best piece of writing I have yet encountered:
"I am sorry that you are disappointed in your book. Your letter of disapproval is the very first that I have ever received. I hope that as you assess the quality of your purchase that you will take into account that the selling price was three cents.
The United States economy is going through some tough times. I understand and admire your bargain hunting attitude. We are entering an age where books that are priced at three cents may have well worn pages. This scares me as much as it scares you. God willing, our children will have a brighter tomorrow than the present which we currently occupy. I hope that one day as your grandchildren are sitting on your knee you can assure them of how good they have it. You can instill in them a sense of national pride, economic comfort, and fiscal thankfulness, by telling the story of back in 2008, when a three cent book would have worn pages. They can thank God that their three cent books are in pristine condition because America bounced back. In this time of economic scare, we are forced to survive on three cent, worn down books. If anything, I hope that this time helps us to find thankfulness and contentment in the seasons of plenty. The times when three cents will really mean something, once more. We will make it. Don't give up hope. We will make it.
Update: Joel just informed me that he has refunded the buyer's three cents on Amazon. He has not yet received a response to either his reply or the refunded money.
The Title of the Book
Perhaps the most ironic and hilarious aspect of this whole thing is the title of the book that was purchased for three cents and had well-worn pages.
Critical Thinking, Reading, and Writing: A Brief Guide to Argument
It seems obvious that the buyer severely needed the book, and that Joel Cash was well acquainted with the wisdom in its pages. I have no doubt that it was he who wore the pages down and learned how to think critically, a skill which the buyer would do well to try using on occasion.
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