Words on the Street

Homeless guy with sign: Let me know if you are not completely satisfied


Here at Via Negativa Industries, customer satisfaction is Job 1. Both our Words on the Street t-shirts and other swag as well as the fabulous book of 109 of the best cartoons have been rigorously product-tested under the most challenging outdoor conditions. Final statistical analyses of the results are still awaited.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Hi Diogenes

    I am not *completely* satisfied.

    Yours sincerely,

    A Reader


  2. Hi rr – I’m sorry to hear that. We will be happy to replace your defective product if you can supply some more details of the deficiency.


  3. Hi Diogenes

    Thank you for responding to my observation so swiftly.

    You have asked for details of my “defective product”. I have to inform you that it is not the products, per se, about which I am making the remark. It is the lack of *complete* satisfaction.

    So far, in my experience, *complete* satisfaction is only to be found in consumption of a banana (slightly underripe).

    Yours sincerely,

    A Reader.


  4. In our experience, the pomegranate is the queen of fruits. However, there is no accounting for taste.


  5. A former colleague once informed me that persimmons were better than sex. I am not in a position to judge the veracity of this claim. And, as you point out, tastes vary.

    However I feel your digression into the relative merits of various fruits is merely a diversionary tactic to disguise your lack of an answer to the basic problem which is, and remains, the incompleteness of my satisfaction.


  6. That’s a tragic situation. I feel your pain. Thank you for letting me know, as requested. I would draw your attention, however, to the fact that neither I nor the owner/operator of Via Negativa have promised explicitly to do anything to alleviate your dissatisfaction, beyond ascertaining that our products were not to blame. You’re on your own, lady.


  7. I’m calling my lawyer.

    I suspect she’ll tell me that your claim “customer satisfaction is Job 1” contains within it an undertaking of providing “customer satisfaction”.

    Of course if you offered me a banana (slightly underripe) I would then be *completely* satisfied.

    Just saying.


  8. Well, I’m no expert on case law, but I would draw your legal counsel’s attention to a couple of landmark decisions: Blood v. Turnip and Yeswehaveno v. Bananas.


  9. I know when I’m beaten. In future while enjoying the products and services provided by you and the owner/operator of Via Negativa I shall supply my own banana (slightly underripe) and my satisfaction shall therefore be complete.


  10. Y’all are h.i.l.a.r.i.o.u.s.


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