Mrs. Leonore Billingsly
928 Alpine Dr.
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
First of all, CONGRATULATIONS on the purchase of your very own Drive-o-Matic 3000!
Automata is the sole global provider of computer/car hybrids that do the driving FOR YOU, and we are committed to leading the way into the future of the fully automated luxury driving experience.
The Drive-o-Matic 3000 is not simply a car, but an innovative new lifestyle choice.
Go ahead, sit back and relax as your computerized chauffeur, Fritz®, drives you safely to your destination – wherever that may be – and alleviates you of the daily stress of actual driving.
That said, we have received your letter of complaint and are passionate about finding the best solution for you, valued costumer Mrs. Leonore Billingsly. Your input is invaluable in the process of our improvement, and we are committed to providing you with the ideal experience for the Drive-o-Matic 3000.
The problem, as we have studied your letter of complaint, is that, while the Drive-o-Matic 3000 appears to be operating perfectly fine in getting you to your destination, it seems to be utilizing routes that take you through, as you noted, “impoverished and dangerous neighborhoods,” the likes of which “[you] would prefer to skip over entirely.”
Now, in case you are unaware, your Drive-o-Matic 3000 uses a complex formula of global positioning software (GPS) and artificial intelligence (A.I.) to find the BEST and most TIME EFFICIENT route to your valued destination. Therefore, we would just like to be clear that it is not Fritz’s® fault, as your claim suggests, that you are being driven into areas to which you deem “undesirable” or “sketchy.” While Fritz® seems the logical scapegoat, we urge you not to blame him in this situation. Fritz® is simply acting within his nature. That being said, it was not our intent for Fritz® to have a social or political consciousness. He has not been programmed to express any sort of pejorative or didactic agenda, and we apologize most certainly for “the guilt” that the Drive-o-Matic 3000 has brought to you and your family over the past month.
Here at Automata, it is our policy not to adhere to any political/ideological standpoint. Our only agenda is to do what is in the best interest for A) our valued customers and B) our company.
We do commend you for the “affluence” – which you have volunteered to share – “that [your] family has sustained over the years” and by absolutely no means at all is our company pointing fingers at people of your status of wealth and success. We treat ALL of our valued consumers THE SAME, regardless of their past, previous or current financial situation, as well as any other potentially discriminatory criteria.
Yet, we do certainly apologize for the foul mood that our product has put you in. This is especially true during the weekend getaway detailed in your letter. We apologize, but we need you to understand that Fritz® was not “intentionally” winding you through a detour of “a number of tougher neighborhoods in South Central LA,” on the way to your weekend place on Balboa Island.
And while we are certainly puzzled why Fritz® left the 10 freeway and made an unannounced stop in the parking lot of a pawn shop in “an uncomfortably urban area,” as you put it, we can only assume that Fritz® needed a quick moment to recalculate his route, in order to provide you with the best, and most direct, course to your destination. How was Fritz® to know of the foul word laden graffiti that splattered the pawn shop wall; the foul word which, to your dismay, your son Alastair now seems to utter freely at home as well as school. On a side note, while we think it’s wonderful that you have “a good friend who is black,” we don’t exactly see how it pertains to the Drive-o-Matic’s performance.
I must ask at this moment, whether you have completely read your user manual? You claim to have “shouted repeatedly at Fritz®,” but I must remind you that Fritz® responds most effectively to “a calm, and assured, tone of voice” (User’s Guide p. 476). I mean this in the most constructive way I can, but perhaps shouting at Fritz® wasn’t the optimal course of action in the scenario you described.
May I refer now to your assertion that you have earned the right “through your personal wealth,” as you’ve stated, “not to be constantly reminded of such poor living conditions?” We at Automata also agree, that it is NOT your fault that you inherited this wealth. However, we must politely urge you to consider that other valued consumers of the Drive-o-Matic may reside in what you have deemed as “undesirable areas.” And while we understand that the current costs involved with the Drive-o-Matic 3000 may restrict families of certain incomes from enjoying the luxuries we provide, restriction for any certain status of wealth, couldn’t be further from our goals at Automata.
Our ideal future is one where every person can have a Drive-o-Matic of their own, safely transporting their loved ones across this great nation of ours.
However still, we have great sympathy for the state of distress in which you arrived at your beach house, and we at Automata are deeply sorry to hear of the resultant bad mood that hung over your weekend spa treatments. And how can I not most whole-heartedly agree that the stress of your situation must be the sole reason to blame for your husband’s slightly higher than average score on the golf course.
What’s most puzzling to us is how, even though you say to have vocally communicated your displeasure to Fritz®, he chose to drive you in an even lengthier route on the way back from the beach house. This time winding you through “a lengthy and comprehensive tour of East LA, as well as – inexplicably – swinging by Skid Row downtown.”
Subsequently, we are also puzzled by how whenever you’ve since taken the Drive-o-Matic out in the city – even for a simple, leisurely, joyride – you claim that Fritz® seeks out “routes through the worst areas imaginable,” while transporting you to your valued destination.
Here is where we urge you to sit down with Fritz® and have a heart to heart. We believe it could be a healthy and beneficial option for the both of you. However, Mrs. Billingsly, if you still remain unsatisfied, we will gladly send one of our technicians out to perform a complimentary diagnostic on your vehicle.
As you’ve stated repeatedly throughout your letter, we at Automata understand that you are by no means “a classist, racist or bigot” of any kind.
It should be said that we at Automata have a strong commitment to diversity and that through our operation – along with the initial programming of Fritz® – we hope to bring the world TOGETHER rather than divide it over differences of background, race, religion, gender, and sexual orientation.
That being said, we are taking great pains to improve our product and it is through your valued input that this is possible. We believe that through input like yours, that the Drive-o-Matic 3000 can reach it’s absolute potential.
We urge you that despite your initial dissatisfaction with our product, that you give the luxury lifestyle of the Drive-o-Matic another chance. It pains us greatly to think of your Drive-o-Matic becoming just another unused car in your “seven car garage.”
Lastly, how could we at Automata forget to convey a warm greeting to your frequently cited friend, and gardener, Hector. He certainly seems to be “the stand-up person” you keep asserting – although this reader was not always entirely sure why – that he is. And while it may be tough for him now, riding the bus all the way out from El Monte each morning, maybe, as you say in your letter, “one day he can save up for a Drive-o-Matic of his very own.”
Automata Motor Vehicle Industries
Auburn Hills, Michigan
Postcard: Found at the Melrose Trading Post in Los Angeles, CA in October 2011.