First Customer Complaint Ever Is Almost 4,000 Years Old and Has an Incredible Story

First Customer Complaint Ever Is Almost 4,000 Years Old and Has an Incredible Story
Source: AP
Source: AP

Irritation. 

It's something this author has at least once a day toward something or someone.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the feeling is just about as old as humanity: Images of the Complaint tablet to Ea-nasir — the oldest known written complaint ever recorded — are once again making the rounds online

Read more: Powerful Images Show the Destruction of Palmyra After Being Recaptured From ISIS

The tablet from ancient Mesopotamia detailed a grievance from someone called Nanni to another individual known as Ea-nasir about substandard copper that was delivered after a long voyage and additional complaints about shipping and delays. The tablet, dated from roughly 1750 B.C. is inscribed in ancient cuneiform, a pictographic form of writing likely developed by the ancient Sumerians, and currently housed in the British Museum

In full the letter reads:

Tell Ea-nasir: Nanni sends the following message:

When you came, you said to me as follows : "I will give Gimil-Sin (when he comes) fine quality copper ingots." You left then but you did not do what you promised me. You put ingots which were not good before my messenger (Sit-Sin) and said: "If you want to take them, take them; if you do not want to take them, go away!"

What do you take me for, that you treat somebody like me with such contempt? I have sent as messengers gentlemen like ourselves to collect the bag with my money (deposited with you) but you have treated me with contempt by sending them back to me empty-handed several times, and that through enemy territory. Is there anyone among the merchants who trade with Telmun who has treated me in this way? You alone treat my messenger with contempt! On account of that one (trifling) mina of silver which I owe(?) you, you feel free to speak in such a way, while I have given to the palace on your behalf 1,080 pounds of copper, and umi-abum has likewise given 1,080 pounds of copper, apart from what we both have had written on a sealed tablet to be kept in the temple of Samas.

How have you treated me for that copper? You have withheld my money bag from me in enemy territory; it is now up to you to restore (my money) to me in full.

Take cognizance that (from now on) I will not accept here any copper from you that is not of fine quality. I shall (from now on) select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I shall exercise against you my right of rejection because you have treated me with contempt.

In short, Ea-nasir's copper and customer service just wasn't up to snuff. Life's tough — get a helmet

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Jon Levine

Jon Levine is a staff writer at Mic, covering politics and people. He is based in New York and can be reached at JLevine@mic.com.

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