Featured Image for It turns out customer complaints haven’t changed much since 1750 BCE

It turns out customer complaints haven’t changed much since 1750 BCE

Working retail over the Christmas period may be tough – when the sleigh bells jingle, you know you’ve entered the annual complaint season, but you’ve seen nothing yet!

Customer complaints seem to be a feature of a human nature. A really nasty, yet necessary evil. For those of you who have been on the receiving end of a mouth-full of customer rage, you will be comforted to know that you’re not the first person to cop some harsh words.

Actually, you’re centuries too late to be called the first.

Located within an undisplayed collection at the British Museum you will find an ancient cuneiform tablet which dates back to 1750 BCE. The ancient Mesopotamian tablet was discovered in Ur, a now-ruined city located in modern-day Iraq.

What’s interesting about this tablet, is that it reveals human behaviour that is scarily relatable to ours in the 21st Century.

The tablet is inscribed with a written complaint from a man named Nanni directed at a supplier by the name of Ea-nasir.

The complaint explains that Ea-nasir allegedly delivered an incorrect grade of copper to Nanni, resulting in further delays and misdirection.

Apparently, Ea-nasir was also rude to the servants in charge of collecting the copper on behalf of Nanni. Come on people… time is money!

The tablet was originally written in Akkadian, the earliest known Semitic language, but thanks to Assyriologist Leo Oppenheim’s translation, we are able to uncover what the complaint actually says.

We’re definitely having a chuckle.

“…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!”

I don’t know Ea-nasir… you’re sounding pretty shady. I don’t think we will be buying copper from you any time soon!

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