Business

Dear Targeted Online Advertisers, I hesitate to write this, because honestly, much of what you do for me is still spot-on. Sometimes, when I go to read my ‘recommended’ articles on the Washington Post online and I see a sidebar ad showing the exact model and color Mazda CX-5 I have been salivating over during the last several months, I feel so unconditionally loved and understood that it brings tears to my eyes. In those moments, it still seems as though you know me better than I know myself.

 But lately I’ve noticed a growing disconnect between the types of purchases I’m interested in making, and the ads you’ve been showing me based on the sites I visit, and the key-words you’ve pulled from the text of my personal emails. In short, despite the ample evidence I give you every day...
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Dear Craigslist Sellers of Sofas, Please learn to rotate your photos so they’re right side up. I shouldn’t have to visit the chiropractor after looking at your delightful purple sofa. I would also appreciate it if you could stand back a few feet when you photograph your couch so that I can see more than a part of one arm or a one-foot-wide section of the back. You’re not Annie Leibovitz, I presume (because why would she be in Binghamton trying to sell a sofa?), so a single photo that consists of an artistic close-up of your late grandmother’s “vintage Victorian” couch doesn’t do me any good. If you live in a home that is approximately the width of a tractor-trailer, standing diagonally across and back from the sofa to take the photo might work. When you don’t include a full-sized...
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Dear Mr. Assange, Reporters Without Borders, an international press freedom organisation, regrets the incredible irresponsibility you showed when posting your article “Afghan War Diary 2004 - 2010” on the Wikileaks website on 25 July together with 92,000 leaked documents disclosing the names of Afghans who have provided information to the international military coalition that has been in Afghanistan since 2001. Wikileaks has in the past played a useful role by making information available to the US and international public that exposed serious violations of human rights and civil liberties which the Bush administration committed in the name of its war against terror. Last April’s publication of a video of the killing of two employees of the Reuters news agency and other civilians by...
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Dear Joe: Like you, I came to my position in Washington from the cloisters of a tenured position at a top-ranking American University. Like you, I came because I care. Unlike you, I am humbled by the World Bank and IMF staff I meet each day. I meet people who are deeply committed to bringing growth to the developing world and to alleviating poverty. I meet superb professionals who regularly work 80-hour weeks, who endure long separations from their families. Fund staff have been shot at in Bosnia, slaved for weeks without heat in the brutal Tajikistan winter, and have contracted deadly tropical diseases in Africa. These people are bright, energetic, and imaginative. Their dedication humbles me, but in your speeches, in your book, you feel free to carelessly slander them.2 Joe, you...
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Dear Sirs and Mesdames: Over the last several months, our company has been caught up in litigation between your unions and the federal government related to the Temporary Foreign Worker Program. There are strongly held views on all sides, and the matter has received a great deal of media attention. But the dispute has not created a single job and it is causing considerable strain on our proposed Murray River Project. On the strength of government approvals, we have spent millions of dollars and hired or contracted many from the Tumbler Ridge community and have made a real contribution to the local economy. While the federal government is doing a policy review of the Temporary Foreign Worker Program, we do not believe the goal posts should be changed or that our plans should be...
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Dear Governor Fortuño: I wanted to write you to discuss the condition of Puerto Rico’s economy and its municipal debt load. After I wrote a column last week entitled “Puerto Rico is America’s Greece,” I was surprised to see the piece get a lot of attention. What I said has been common knowledge in the U.S. bond market for some time, and the facts that I brought up have been previously pointed out by the major credit rating agencies. For those in municipal bond markets, I wasn’t really adding much that was new to the conversation. But it turned out the attention my piece was getting was from people outside the bond market. Those who were responding to it were those who love Puerto Rico and are concerned about its future, namely its citizens. They seized on what I wrote and passed it...
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Dear Target, I’ve been a customer of yours for decades, like most Minnesotans. I estimate I likely spend well north of $2,000 a year at your stores, counting groceries and clothing. And like about 180,000 Minnesotans, I have a permit to carry a firearm. Minnesotans with carry permits are nearly three orders of magnitude less likely to commit a firearm crime than the general public; we are literally better safety risks, per capita, than your employees are. Now, a group called “Moms Demand Action”, which is an astroturf pressure group owned and operated by billionaire ex-mayor Michael Bloomberg, is putting a lot of media pressure on Target to bar all firearm carry at your stores, nationwide, after the intemperate actions of a few “open carry” activists in Texas. While your...
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Dear Boss Who Was Recently Fired, I want to begin by offering my condolences. I know that your recent firing was an unexpected blow. To you. Because the rest of us in the office saw it coming. From a frickin’ mile away. Regardless, the job market is currently quite difficult, especially if you’ve just been fired. In the interest of burying the tension between us that you were totally unaware of, I would like to offer a few suggestions that will help you procure, and keep, new employment. 1) I would pick a single hair color and stick with it. Though your current combination of black, brown, and blond is a bold choice, I don’t think it projects the right image to potential employers. Rather than an image of constant professionalism, it tends to project that you can’t commit. And...
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Dear Mr. Mayer, As you can imagine, we read your open letter to IWC on HODINKEE with considerable interest. We couldn't help but feel we owed you a reply and before saying anything else, we must thank you not only for your long support of our brand but also for the obvious passion for our work that is reflected in your letter. For some reason we kept thinking of the title to a song of yours called, "I Don't Trust Myself With Loving You," as it sounds as if that's how you feel about IWC. As we’re sure you know, there are many IWC fans who, like you, continue to love the brand but wonder what happened to what they, and you, think of as the "good old" IWC. You write that "the [old] IWC ... had all but disappeared." We assume you feel that we have gone from being a wonderfully...
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Dear customer, now that I have been candid, I will also be vulnerable. I’m terrified you’ll find out I don’t know your name. You remember mine – an awesome compliment. And yes, I remember we met in that one class. But when you order a coffee, which doesn’t require a name, rather than a pumpkin spice latte, which does, I am profoundly relieved. But if you do order a latte and look even vaguely Caucasian, I will cross my fingers and write something vaguely resembling “Caitlin ” on your cup. I tell you, I have my fingers on the pulse of whatever baby names were trending among 1990s Irish Catholics, and Caitlin tops the charts. I will also be worried for you, because the amount of syrup that goes into pumpkin spice lattes fills about one quarter of the cup – that’s a lot of sugar,...
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