Write The Company: Washed Out by Listerine

July 29, 2010

Write The CompanyThey say Corporate America has no sense of humor. Are “they” right? Find out by following Write The Company — a consumer humor blog consisting of crazy consumer affairs and customer service letters about everyday products, services and brands … and what the companies behind them had to say about it.

Each week Zengage brings you a classic correspondence from the Write The Company archives.  (For more, see our interview with Write The Company.)

Washed Out by Listerine

Germs are everywhere these days. I’m particularly grossed out by the ones that live in peoples’ mouths, especially my own. I spit out this letter to Listerine to learn more about what kind of germs are attacking us…

Dear General of Germ Warfare:

The label on Listerine says, “Kills Germs by Millions on Contact.” I’m thrilled that Listerine does that, but how many millions are we talking about — 2 million? 19 Million? 100 Million? Are they just breeding away in our mouths as we breathe? How many germs are produced in an average female germ’s litter? What are the names of the grossest germs?

Can you describe what happens when a man and a woman kiss? Actually, I know what happens, I mean is there a multi-million germ exchange? Could what’s in her mouth be any worse than what’s in mine? If someone isn’t using Listerine, how long could the oldest germ living on a back molar survive?

Mouth care has gotten more and more complex. If someone flosses, brushes and mouthwashes, what order should they do that in for maximum germ fighting efficiency? Do you suggest killing millions of germs first with Listerine, then flossing and finally brushing any remaining germs to death? Or, brush and floss first to daze them and then drown the germs in a tsunami of Listerine? Or, floss first to loosen up germs with strong grips, then Listerine them while in a weakened state and then brush them away? Then, what about all the dead germs you just spit into the sink and left on your toothbrush? Do you recommend washing sinks and toothbrushes with Listerine afterwards?

Sometimes it’s best not to open your mouth!

The company’s Information Center responded with:

Thank you for contacting McNeil-PPC, Inc., makers of LISTERINE® product. It is always important to hear from our consumers, and we appreciate the time you have taken to contact us.

We would like to answer your question in this letter; however in this case, we would be better able to help you over the phone.

Please call the Information Center toll free at (the phone number and hours of business followed).

Be sure to mention the reference number below when you call.

We appreciate the opportunity to speak with you and apologize for any inconvenience.

Final Thoughts

I can’t imagine what the germ gurus, bacteria battlers and plaque professionals at Listerine want to discuss that they couldn’t put in writing. In fact, all they had to do was steer me to their website where there’s tons of terrific information. For example, there’s a must-see riveting video called, “HEALTHY MOUTH, HEALTHY YOU.” My favorite line is: “There are more bacteria in your mouth right now, than there are people on earth.” I pretty much rinsed with an entire bottle of Listerine after hearing that! They also offer Oral Care Tips, which lists the order for those three mouth care tasks I inquired about. Plus, there’s a section about how Listerine works, including how it kills millions of germs on contact.

I didn’t take Listerine up on their offer to call for two reasons: One: If I wanted to chat, I would have called the 800 number on the bottle in the first place. Two: Why call the company when it’s so much more interesting to Write The Company?

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Today’s letter is republished with permission from Write The Company. All rights reserved. ?© Write The Company

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