This Is the World’s Oldest Recorded Customer Complaint

It was written 3,000 years in the past. Nothing’s modified.


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Even 3,000 years in the past, prospects had been complaining. Simply ask Nanni.

I don’t know who Nanni is, apart from he lived in Babylonia round 1750 BC and he was super-unhappy with two shipments of copper ore he bought from a man named Ea-nasir. Clearly there was no on the time, or electronic mail. He could not even hearth off an indignant letter. So what did Nanni do to precise his displeasure?

He carved out his criticism on a rock. Think about how irritated he was to take the time to do this! Fortunately for us, that rock has not solely survived however is on show on the in London.

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In accordance with this reddit person, here is what he wrote:

Inform Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the next message:

Once you got here, you mentioned to me as follows: “I’ll give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) advantageous high quality copper ingots.” You left then however you didn’t do what you promised me. You place ingots which weren’t good earlier than my messenger (Sit-Sin) and mentioned: “If you wish to take them, take them; if you do not need to take them, go away!”

What do you are taking me for, that you simply deal with any person like me with such contempt? I’ve despatched as messengers gents like ourselves to gather the bag with my (deposited with you) however you will have handled me with contempt by sending them again to me empty-handed a number of instances, and that via enemy territory. Is there anybody among the many retailers who commerce with Telmun who has handled me on this means? You alone deal with my messenger with contempt! On account of that one (trifling) mina of silver which I owe(?) you, you be happy to talk in such a means, whereas I’ve given to the palace in your behalf 1,080 kilos of copper, and umi-abum has likewise given 1,080 kilos of copper, other than what we each have had written on a sealed pill to be saved within the temple of Samas.

How have you ever handled me for that copper? You’ve got withheld my cash bag from me in enemy territory; it’s now as much as you to revive (my cash) to me in full.

Take cognizance that (any longer) I can’t settle for right here any copper from you that isn’t of advantageous high quality. I shall (any longer) choose and take the ingots individually in my very own yard, and I shall train in opposition to you my proper of rejection as a result of you will have handled me with contempt.

Whoo…that’s harsh. 

However you run a enterprise for so long as I’ve and you’ve got in all probability acquired comparable suggestions from time to time. It hurts. We’ll by no means know the way Ea-nasir responded. You’d hope that he made issues proper.

However sadly, evidently Ea-nasir didn’t. Kristina Killgrove, a bioarcheologist who says she “routinely pores over the skeletons of historical populations in order that she will be able to study their , weight loss plan and existence,” paperwork in a Forbes column a litany of comparable complaints in opposition to the mineral salesman and writes that “archaeological proof from Ea-Nasir’s home at Ur, to which he appeared to have retired, means that his horrible enterprise dealings caught up with him and his wealth declined.”

No matter whether or not the criticism was justified or not, each Ea-nasir and Nanni have been useless for an extended, very long time. The world has moved on. Nobody right now cares about their petty little dispute. I doubt many individuals residing throughout their time cared both. So when you will have a buyer that is sad, put issues into perspective.

So what’s the takeaway?

It’s that complaining prospects have been part of enterprise for…nicely…endlessly.  You may by no means count on to supply a passable service to everybody. However hopefully, and in contrast to Ea-nasir, you’ll do your greatest to reply, admit your errors and repair the issue. Relying on the character and dimension of the error, you might lose that buyer endlessly. However there will likely be different prospects so that you can delight together with your unbelievable services. So life goes on. At the very least you’ll be able to take consolation that your prospects’ complaints aren’t etched in stone and displayed within the British Museum.

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Through the years, my firm has labored with 1000’s of small-business house owners. They could be a robust bunch. Most have been happy with our work, however generally we fail. And generally individuals complain. I used to get upset, however now I’ve perspective. Why? As a result of each time a buyer complains, I consider Nanni.


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