Tuesday 22 May 2012

How to Complain about Cutlery (1839)


    I am sorry to have been at the trouble of giving instructions which have not been attended to and which have been fruitless. I feel disappointed that the goods must be sent back again, and that we have been delayed so long, and must have further delay and further risks. But my new experience in household matters has brought so much annoyance from the carelessness of workmen of every class, locks not made as they ought to be nor fixed as they ought to be, paper not put on as it was directed to be, all resulting from inattention. I quite see and must hold that to pass over these things from the inconvenience to oneself in having them altered is to give a bounty on indolence and bad workmanship.
    I hope you will not pay for them yourself but if you don't choose to impose the proper penalty on the workman, it is hardly fair that it should be imposed on me and one cannot allow ones eye to be offended with bad shapes all one's life out of courtesy to the careless workman. But not only is the threading comparatively coarse, but the shape is still worse—certainly contrary to express direction not to let the sides be tucked in as these are. This makes the shape of the larger spoons heavy looking and vulgar and as bad in shape and appearance as if they had been made in lead or common metal and therefore give me the greatest dissatisfaction all excepting the smaller forks which are upon the whole, neat. I must however send the whole of them back. I had hoped the handle of the fish knife would not have had the same defective shape as the rest but it is not ... 
    I intend to make these experiences of the indolence and inattention of workmen the subject of some remarks on popular education.—

Yours faithfully,



  1. This is wonderful. I must adapt this for complaining about dirty forks. I am always disappointed when I do that it does not turn into a Monty Python farce.

  2. Yes, it is a marvelous diatribe, so well expressed and generally still relevant.

  3. Yes, it is a marvelous diatribe, so well expressed and generally still relevant.