Firstly, a Merry Christmas to all of you at home. I hope that Santa brought everything that you asked for.
When the mail began to drop through again after the holiday, there was an official-looking envelope that didn't appear to be a regular bill, so I opened it. It turned out to be from a store where I bought a new washing machine nearly two years ago.
"Dear Mr Forester" (it said)
"We've noticed that the two-year manufacturer's warranty on your washing machine is about to expire."
I thought that was a lovely piece of phrasing. Nothing too officious, threatening or peremptory. It didn't say, for example:
"Your washing machine warranty is about to expire". (Oh, no, what do I do? What do I do?!)
"Did you know that your washing machine warranty is about to expire?" (My word, no, I didn't, what a fool I've been!)
No, it just implies that Derek in accounts was sleepily sorting through some old files, and luckily happened to "notice" that my warranty was about to run out, so they thought that a friendly note might be useful to me. So they could sell me an extension to the warranty that cost almost as much as the machine itself.
I wasn't going to fall for that no matter what the letter said, but it did make me smile, and I certainly noticed it.