If your job is to man a large company's Twitter account, it can be troubling task. It feels like you've been married to your customers for a very long time. They complain. They whine. They occasionally call you names.
Still, it's best to read what they send to you before you emit a standard reply that has been agreed by marketing, HR and a team of several cold-faced lawyers.
I mention this because of a slightly amusing exchange that crossed my Twitter feed this week. In the left corner was Sam's Club. In the right, the no-doubt highly clubbable John Hendren.
Should you be unaware of Hendren's merits, he is very good at writing "stupid stuff." I suspect, therefore, that he had espied Sam's Club's standard response to Twittered complaints. It reads: "We apologize and strongly urge you to contact our Member Service Center at 888-746-7726."
This seems reasonable enough. However, you might find an additional layer of nuance when I give you the text of Hendren's complaint.
It was: "@SamsClub I believe I have contracted an STI after using a toilet immediately after one of your store's managers. Who do I call?"
Some will immediately deduce that the person operating Sam's Twitter account didn't bother to read Hendren's message too closely. Some will complain that surely Sam's woman or man must have noticed that Hendren's handle is @fart.
Perhaps one or two might even remember Hendren from last year, when he retweeted people's whiny, ungrateful Christmas gift tweets.
I prefer to imagine that the person knew exactly what they were doing, had always thought the idea of a Members' Service Center was a target for guffaws and thought: "This is the funniest thing that's going to happen to me this week."
And it probably was.