Thursday, January 03, 2008

More Lemonade from Lemons

If you've had an e-mail account for any time at all, some well-meaning person has almost undoubtedly sent you a version of this story:

FWD: Free Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe
This is a true story... Please forward it to everyone that you can...You will have to read it to believe it....

My daughter and I had just finished a salad at Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas & decided to have a small dessert. Because both of us are such cookie lovers, we decided to try the "Neiman-Marcus Cookie". It was so excellent that I asked if they would give me the recipe and the waitress said with a small frown "I'm afraid not." "Well" I said, "would you let me buy the recipe?"

With a cute smile, she said "YES". I asked how much and she responded, "Only two fifty, it's a great deal!" I said with approval, "just add it to my tab".. Thirty days later, I received my VISA tatement from Neiman-Marcus and it was $285.00. I looked again and remembered I had only spent $9.95 for two salads and about $20.00 for a scarf. As I glanced at the bottom of the statement, it said, "Cookie Recipe - $250.00".

That's outrageous!!!

I called Neiman's Accounting Dept. and told them that the waitress said it was "two-fifty," which clearly does not mean "two hundred and fifty dollars" by any POSSIBLE interpretation of the phrase. Neiman-Marcus refused to budge.. They would not refund my money, because according to them, "What the waitress told you is not our problem. You have already seen the recipe - we absolutely will not refund your money at this point." I explained to her the criminal statutes which govern fraud in Texas. I threatened to refer them to the Better Business Bureau and the State's Attorney General for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, "Do what you want, we dont give a damn, and we're not refunding your money."

I waited a moment, thinking of how I could get even, or even try to get any of my money back. I just said, "Okay, you folks got my $250.00, and now I'm going to have $250.00 worth of fun."

I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in the United States with an e-mail account has a $250.00 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus... for free..She replied, "I wish you wouldn't do this" I said, "Well you should have thought of that before you ripped me off", and slammed down the phone on her.. So, here it is!!! Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250.00 dollars for this... I don't want Neiman-Marcus to ever get another penny off of this recipe....[a chocolate chip cookie recipe follows]

- About.com Urban Legends, http://urbanlegends.about.com/od/fooddrink/a/cookie_recipe.htm

[Let me just say that the spelling, word usage and punctuation are the original author's, not mine.]

Further, if you have been on the Internet any time at all, you should also already know that this story is an urban legend (in fact, it has been around for at least 50 years and originally dealt with a recipe obtained from the dining car waiter on a train.)

So imagine my delight when, in the course of doing some research for a news release, I found this on the Neiman Marcus web page:

An urban myth is a modern folk tale, its origins unknown, its believability enhanced simply by the frequency with which it is repeated. Our signature chocolate chip cookie is the subject of one such myth. If you haven't heard the story, we won't perpetuate it here. If you have, the recipe below should serve to refute it. Copy it, print it out, pass it along to friends and family. It's a terrific recipe. And it's absolutely free. [Followed by the recipe for the NM cookie.]
http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/service/nm_cookie_recipe.jhtml
It's truly refreshing to see a company with such a great sense of humor about itself. Anyone who might have thought Neiman Marcus a little stuffy, a little snobbish, would almost have to be disarmed by this clever response to a widely-circulated, but absolutely untrue story - a response that is all the more remarkable for its low-keyed, good-humored attitude.

And Neiman's keeps its eye on the ball, ending the recipe page with this brief, unobtrusive plug: "Visit our Restaurant section for more recipes along with information on cooking classes, catering and restaurant details."

Honestly, wouldn't you want to do business with a company with this much class?

1 comment:

05 Fairings said...

Well, what else if the situation is not good, what we have left is just make fun of ourselves!.