Tale of the runt Diet Coke can
Here's a letter I sent to the Coca-Cola company via their contact form:
I recently purchased a refrigerator 12-pack of Diet Coke. One of the cans was only one-third full and badly dented (though still sealed). Fearing that the defects are not merely quantitative and cosmetic, I won't drink it.
As a frequent Diet Coke and Fresca drinker, I'm usually very satisfied with your products. I am saddened that in this instance your product failed to achieve your high standard of quality.
By invoking feelings of fear and sadness, I'm trying to establish a subtext that says, "Give me free stuff." I thought about saying that explicitly, but my coworker "Primetime" thought I should be more subtle—that the Coca-Cola company would be even more willing to give me free stuff if they thought it was their idea. Primetime also advised against me making up a story (about how I was going to a party and there were twelve people there and I was supposed to bring drinks but because of this defective coke can somebody went thirsty) not because lying is wrong, but because that's more melodramatic than any Coke story could ever hope to be. For now, the Diet Coke can will remain on my cubicle shelf as a symbol of runty-ness.
I will certainly inform you, dear Reader, of any reply/free stuff I get. (Technically, I did get an automated response saying my "thread ID is 1-DTM2HN", but that doesn't really count.)