Theatre Owners: Don't Mess With My Car

by Alan J. Claffie

This is an email I sent to the generic "info@" address for the DC Black Theatre Festival after they misguidedly conducted a leaflet campaign on parked cars at the Metro station on Wednesday, May 7 2014:

To Whom It May Concern

When my wife got out of work after a long day at the office, she went to her car which was parked at the Branch Ave Metro station. Despite the fact that it rained earlier in the day, the weather had turned nice and she was looking forward to getting into her little convertible and enjoying the ride home.

Imagine her disappointment when she discovered a flier for your event was placed on her car. Imagine her further disappointment when I discovered that your flier, after getting wet in the rain and then allowed to dry on her car's door, left no small amount of residue on said car's door. It would not brush off easily so she had to drive home with it. Her hoped-for enjoyable ride home was ruined knowing that not only was her black car carrying a white rash in a very visible place, but she could only wonder if it had done permanent damage to her car's paint.

She came home and I treated the stain your flier left on her car with some cleaning materials. We like our cars to be clean, so having to deal with your pollution was a slap in the face in addition to a headache I had to deal with before we could enjoy our dinner. It had gotten dark by the time she arrived home to address the mess that you left us, so even now I don't know if the initial steps I've made towards remedying your mistake has solved the problem or if I have to take more serious, invasive, and possibly expensive measures.

I'm curious to find out why you thought that using other people's property to advertise your event was a good idea. It violates one of nature's most universal truths according to the gospel of the movie Pulp Fiction (apologies for the salty language, which is remarkably similar to what I was saying under my breath while I attempted to clean your garbage off my wife's car):

Lance: Still got your Malibu?
Vincent: Aw, man. You know what some f***er did the other day?
Lance: What?
Vincent: F***ing keyed it.
Lance: Oh, man, that's f***ed up.
Vincent: Tell me about it. I had it in storage for three years, it was out for five days and some d**kless piece of s*** f***ed with it.
Lance: They should be f***ing killed. No trial, no jury, straight to execution.
Vincent: Boy, I wish I could've caught him doing it. I'd have given anything to catch that a**hole doing it. It'd been worth him doing it just so I could've caught him doing it.
Lance: What a f***er!
Vincent: What's more chickens**t than f***ing with a man's automobile? I mean, don't f*** with another man's vehicle.
Lance: You don't do it.
Vincent: It's just against the rules.

Let's recap. You decided that your little "festival" would be of interest to everyone who parks at the Branch Avenue Metro station. You printed up little fliers as cheaply as possible and stuck them on every car there either while it was raining or when rain was imminent. In addition to littering all over property that wasn't yours, you caused literally hundreds of commuters to return to their cars only to find your fliers that had adhered themselves to their cars, causing them all to curse your name, then go home and expend time and effort to clean up a mess that was not of their own making. Who's the idiot working on your behalf to piss off hundreds of commuters whose personal property unwillingly became your advertising medium without permission or consideration?

You should be punished for this act of selfish stupidity. You should be made to pay for cleaning hundreds of cars blighted by your cheap trash. If there were any justice in this world, you'd be forced to send someone back to that Metro station to put a $10 bill and a note begging forgiveness under the windshield wiper of every car there whether they were affected or not. You should pay a Stupidity Tax for using such an intrusive, outdated mode of advertising when much more effective methods of getting the word out about your event are plentiful and cost-free.

I won't demand any of that. I would like an apology of some sort and a pledge that you won't resort to bonehead marketing moves like this in the future. I hope I never hear of or from the DC Black Theater Festival ever again.

...unless the damage done to our car's door is bad enough that I can't fix it myself and I have to have a professional detailer address it. If your little leafleting stunt winds up costing me money, you will definitely be hearing from me again.

Alan J. Claffie

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