The Sani-Cola mantra was hung above the cube farm for all to see:

90% of customers won’t lose money
90% of customers who lose money won’t contact us
90% of customers who contact us won’t accept a voucher
90% of customers who accept a voucher will never use it
90% of customers who use vouchers won’t find a place to take it
90% of customers who get vouchers accepted will be satisfied

And that was the genius of the operation, the sheer mad genius. By staffing a call center with starving college students, they kept costs down. India would be cheaper but Sani-Cola wanted to “hire American.” Then, by making te above–correct–assumptions against human nature, Sani-Cola all but ensured that your money never left the system.

I could send you a voucher, bulk mail, good for one bottle of cola. The mailing, and the voucher, and my time, all cost less than a bottle of swill. If you didn’t complain, they kept your money. If you complained, they kept your money and let you select a bottle to make up for the one you didn’t get. And you would most likely never use that since machines wouldn’t accept it.

In a way, I was like one of those dollar bills. Sani-Cola had taken me in, and I wasn’t getting out of the system anytime soon. Not with my tattoos or rap sheet.

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