The Prank Letters of S. William Kost

Over the last ten years, I have written dozens of joke letters, sometimes under pseudonyms, to companies large and small in America and around the world. Many of these companies have written back.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Tyco Toys 3/20/96

S. William Kost
P.O. Box 598
Clackamas, OR 97015

March 20, 1996

TYCO Industries, Inc.
Attn: Product Development Dept.
Mt. Laurel, NJ 08054

Dear Product Developers,

I am a 63-year-old retiree living alone in a tiny apartment on the eastside of Portland, Oregon. I can't stand it here. After 35 years of financial success as a turtle polisher in the West Indies (you'd be surprised how big the market is), I have been reduced to a poor old man whose only hobby is waiting at the mailbox for the paltry Social Security check to arrive. I want out of this sewer, and I want out fast. And the only way I know how is to invent something that will sell quickly, and in large numbers. And that, my friends, is why I am writing to you.

While strolling down the toy aisles at the local Fred Meyer store, I ran across one of your toys called a "Magic 8-Ball". I was dumbstruck by the simplicity of the device. You take a plastic ball, fill it with blue water, plop in a tiny pyramid with some mystical sounding phrases, and wham! Kids and adults will actually believe that this thing is revealing the great mysteries of life with the flick of the wrist!

I have noticed, however, that the phrases in the 8-ball seem, well, a bit bland. I would be a bit disappointed to ask the ball an important question, to literally entrust my life's decisions to this thing, and have it answer a simple "maybe" or "very possible". I propose a new, improved Magic 8-Ball, a Red-Hot-In-Your-Face 8-Ball, with phrases such as, "Get a Life, Stupid Jerk!" and "As If You Had A Chance, LOSER" and "You Can Bet Your Life On It, Genius"!

So what do you say? As a Special Project Contributor, I would be able to come up with dozens, if not hundreds, of sharp-edged phrases for a new Magic 8-Ball. For conceiving of this project, of course, I would ask for a modest but fair percentage of the profits of this item, and before long, I could kiss this life of misery behind!

I don't have a phone right now, or one of those new internet e-mail things, either. So for the time being, all correspondence will have to be by mail. I look forward to your reply!

Sitting by the Stinking Mailbox,

S. William Kost

P.S. I collect XL T-shirts and ball caps for my nephew, Fritz (who is typing this on his computer for me). If you have any lying around, he'd sure be proud to wear one.

Dear S. William:

Thank you for your interest in Tyco as a possible outlet for your new product idea. We are always pleased to encourage the development of new toys and other products.

Unfortunately, Tyco limits the submission of outside product ideas to a select group of inventors, designers and agents. I am sure that you can imagine how many unsolicited product submissions Tyco receives each year. Time and our staffing limitations do not allow for handling and reviewing of each one individually. We are aware that this policy may occasionally cause us to miss a valuable opportunity. So we have established an alternative approach for inventors who are interested in pursuing the development of their new products.

You are always free to establish a relationship with an agent or broker that specialized in the licensing or development of new products for toy companies. All of the sources named on the enclosed list present new products to Tyco on a regular basis, although no one of them more than any other has any special relationship with Tyco.

By using an agent or broker you will have the opportunity to work personally with someone who is experienced in the development and selection of new toys for licensing to major toy companies like Tyco. Each of the companies has special interests, expertise and requirements, and we have tried to list as sources only those agents who are familiar with ours.

Please understand that using any agent or broker is no assurance that your new product idea will be presented to Tyco or anyone else or that it will be licensed. But it is a chance to have it reviewed by someone with a good deal of experience in our field.

Once again, we want to thank you for your interest in Tyco Toys, and to wish you good luck with your new product.

David Berko, Vice President
Business Development

Enclosed: Broker List


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