[Letter Talk] Mail Bag #18

In today’s mail bag, I write a letter suggesting a new economic tool, call for an important scientific survey, and send a suggestion to a TV network.

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Letter Talk is written and produced by me, and my sister Amy edits my writing. This episode features music from Kevin MacLeod. Additional reporting and production on this episode was provided by Dan Kapr.

Letter Talk is a short (~10 minutes), weekly comedy podcast where a I (@alyssapants) write letters to businesses, public figures, strangers and friends, and I’d be honored to write one to you.

Read the letters after the jump!


Dear Standard & Poor’s,

First of all I wanted to tell you how big a fan I am. Aside from Fortune magazine, you’re my favorite business that has a list of 500 other businesses. It’s so meta! Ya’ll remind me of how I saw that there was an association for associations. Every time I think of accusing someone in my workplace of creating busy work instead of value, I just remember that associations need an association to associate, and guess there’s always busy work to create. I just think of someone, who I am sure is out of there, paying money to an association, who pays money to another association. It’s like inception, but with money. You get it, I’m sure.

Also, I wanted to give ya’ll shoutouts for your name. I find it relatable. “Standard” and “poor” are the two ways to describe the condition of all the items in my sock / underwear drawer. “Standard” and “poor” are also the only moods I have if I’m fighting a period of being bummed out.

But I’m not here to talk about that. I’m here because I have an idea for an index. Have you ever considered doing a smoothie index? I write this even though I’m not the biggest fan of smoothies. I know others who have told me that they were big smoothie fans. Yes, I agree, that’s an odd thing to tell another person and it also made me think they were a cop, or a robot, or Robocop. “Good evening gentle chums. Do you also enjoy smoothies very much? Oh don’t mind me, tell me more about where I can buy marijuana.”

I’m more of a casual fan of smoothies. Once I broke a blender trying to make smoothies out of shit that’s good for you but sorta tastes bad. My roommate’s boyfriend saw my efforts and said I’m better off just eating the healthy things in solid form, to which I said, “FINE!” and thought, “He doesn’t live here, and he’s not my real dad. I don’t have to listen to him!” Either way I didn’t attempt to make another smoothie in that apartment.

A few years later, some friends had extra blender, so they gifted it to me. I again attempted to make smoothies, but I overshot the amounts. I ended up with so much smoothie I couldn’t drink it all before it went bad, and cleaning a blender took so long that part of me wished I had broken it instead.

Aside from those two incidents I’ve only sporadically had smoothies, but I swear to God, the prices have jumped wildy. Every time I get a smoothie, the price seems to have jumped by 30%. Last time I looked at a Smoothie King it was close to 10 bucks. Is this an inflation that only affects smoothies? Soon they’ll cost 18 dollars a pop and you’ll need to pass a credit check to come into the smoothie store.

I’m not mad at it, but I would like to see the fluctuations in the smoothie market over time, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.

Keep it standard!



Dear Pew Research Center,

I’m writing to you because I think you may be able to help me figure out the answer to a burning question I have.

Recently, I was at a convenience store and I impulse bought a roll of toilet paper so I could hit the card minimum. The store only had one brand of toilet paper: Scott. The name always brings back memories. Scott was what my comedy buddies in Reno and I chanted at open mics if a joke was the best or the worst or both. It was almost like a boo / yay. It came about when my friend Jym was hosting an open mic and a guy named Scott took the stage. His set was terrible and uncomfortable, but ended with a joke that was so disproportionately funny as compared to the rest of set. Everyone in the crowd chanted his name in delight as he left the stage.

The Scott Chant is a perfect metaphor for Scott toilet paper: It’s great and terrible all at once. It’s great because it’s readily available, and as my dad used to say, “I like Scott. You know what you’re getting. They’re not trying to fool you with this double and triple ply nonsense.” I always admired the fact that my dad could admire a toilet paper brand for its integrity.

But in our house Scott toilet paper was also deemed terrible and eventually banned. My mom’s complaint was, “When I use it, my finger pokes through and I touch my butt.” Then she told my dad that he’s not allowed to choose toilet paper for the house anymore.

Today I have a roll of Scott toilet paper hanging in the bathroom of my apartment. I must admit that I fold it over maybe 4 or 5 times before feeling confident enough that I won’t touch my butt on accident. I don’t know if this is at all normal. This is where I know you can help. Can you conduct a scientific survey of Americans that asks how many times you’re supposed to fold over Scott toilet paper? I would send this letter to Scott, but I’m afraid I would insult them. An angry letter would arrive in my mailbox saying, “WHAT? Are you saying Scott is not good quality? Have we ever been dishonest to you and your family, Alyssa? Do you think we have poor integrity, Alyssa? How DARE you?!” I feel like this question instead would be best solved by gauging the feelings of the American public. Please let me know if this is a project you’d be willing to take on.



Dear Fox,

New TV show idea: Tim Allen is Santa Claus, but he kills imposter Santa Clauses while using Wolverine claws. It’s called the Santa Clause Claws. Thoughts?