27 July 2005

Stop the Madness - Email Urban Myths

So yesterday, I got an email from a friend that was a mass forwarded email about Neiman Marcus cookies. If you don't know the story or received the forwarded email, it goes something like this:

A little background: Neiman-Marcus, if you don't know already, is a very expensive store; i.e., they sell your typical $8.00 T-shirt for $50.00. Let's let them have it! THIS IS A TRUE STORY!
My daughter and I had just finished a salad at a Neiman-Marcus Cafe in Dallas, and we 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, but you can buy the recipe."

Well, I asked how much, and she responded, "Only two fifty-it's a great deal!" I agreed to that, and told her to just add it to my tab. Thirty days later, I received my VISA statement, and the
Neiman-Marcus charge was $285.00! I looked again, and I 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 was outrageous!

I called Neiman's Accounting Department and told them the waitress said it was "two fifty", which clearly does not mean "two hundred and fifty dollars" by any reasonable 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 the Accounting Department lady the criminal statutes which govern fraud in the state of Texas. I threatened to report them to the Better Business Bureau and the Texas Attorney General's office for engaging in fraud. I was basically told, "Do what you want. Don't bother thinking of how you can get even, and don't bother trying to get any of your money back." I just said, Okay, you folks got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250 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 cookie recipe from Neiman-Marcus...for free. She replied, "I wish you wouldn't do this." I said, "Well, perhaps you should have thought of that before you ripped me off!" and slammed down the phone. So here it is! Please, please, please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of. I paid $250 for this, and I don't want Neiman-Marcus to EVER make another penny off of this recipe! NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved)

I won't include the recipe - suffice it to say, I was reminded of the old urban myth about the hook arm that the lovers find on the car door after driving home from a remote make out site. Why the stalker chose to open the door with his hook is the Achilles heel in that particular story but it still makes good campfire fodder. This story had too many things wrong with it: (1) it got me to thinking about a woman who doesn't sign her credit card receipt from the waitress when she's sitting right there; (2) I also thought that if Neiman Marcus actually sold their recipe for $250, they'd probably have it in a nice little recipe box wrapped in a gold bow with the price tag on the bottom of it; and (3) anyone who complains about $8.00 t-shirts that cost $50 probably doesn't have a Neiman Marcus charge card.

So I did a little research, fairly simple actually. I went onto the Neiman Marcus website, put cookie recipe into the search engine and viola! Here's what came up.... http://www.neimanmarcus.com/store/service/nm_cookie_recipe.jhtml

People stop the madness. Pretend you're around a campfire listening to these stories ... when something sounds outrageous, question the source.


"J" said...

True indeed. Find out if it's true. Posted a message on Nicole's blog, I used your name, hehehe. Was checking both of your sites. (confused)

Sanora said...

Hey J - yeah, so tired of mass forwarded emails with no fact finding missions to accompany them
...thanks for checking Nicole & I out!