A Letter of Complaint to the Bureau of Genies, Monkey’s Paws, and Birthday Candles, by Chris Morgan

Dear Sir or Madam,

Normally, I am not the kind of person to write letters of complaint. However, I have recently had an experience with a genie that was so decidedly unpleasant, I feel I have no recourse but to inform you of my issue, in hopes it will lead to a greater regulation of the genie industry that, frankly, is long overdue.

My experience began, as most of these experiences do, with the discovery of a discarded, enchanted lamp. In truth, it was my friend Roger who first found it, but Roger is unable to write a complaint letter of his own, for reasons that will soon become abundantly clear. He rubbed the lamp, for reasons that remain unclear, and out popped a genie.

For starters, this genie was not a charming raconteur such as the genie from animated feature film Aladdin. Admittedly, perhaps the comedic energy of a Robin Williams is an unfair bar to ask an actual genie to clear, much in the same way it is unfair to ask a robotic cop to be as efficient as Robocop, but this genie was very much discourteous. They are in a service industry, so some degree of congeniality is expected, and, might I add, deserved.

Had this been the end of the issues, I would only have minor quibbles. In truth, if Roger and I were currently luxuriating in riches and granted wishes, a little lack of decorum could be forgiven. Of course, this isn’t the case. First, Roger wished for more wishes. At this point, he was informed that such a wish could not be met. This is arbitrary, but I imagine you could argue it is fair. I presume this rule is in place to prevent the hoarding of genie wishes. This is tantamount to socialism, but, given the value that genie wishes can provide, I suppose it is a justifiable action for your department to take.

What is not acceptable, however, is the fact that this still counted as a wish, leaving Roger with two wishes. I don’t know if this is your policy, or if we merely had a particularly churlish genie, but how is this fair? If you go into a McDonald’s and order a Whopper, and they inform you that Burger King are the purveyors of the Whopper, do they then not allow you to order a Big Mac? Do they declare your order “complete” simply because they could not answer your first request? No, they do not, and it is thoroughly unfair for genies to be able to engage in such practices.

After this, Roger wished to be invisible. Now, personally, I think this was a foolish wish, and I even said so at the time, but he remained obstinate that he wished to be invisible, and it was his decision. At this point the genie granted his wish, but he did not make Roger’s clothes invisible. Asked why, the genie replied, curtly, that Roger’s wish was for him to be invisible, and “that doesn’t include his clothes.” What sort of bureaucratic nonsense is this? Should it not be presupposed that Roger wanted his clothes to be invisible too?

At the very least, the question should be asked. This is, probably, the greatest issue I have with genies, based on my own experience and the Yelp! reviews I have read. They refuse to ask follow-up questions, and do not tailor the experience to the particular wishes of the wisher. If these genies are bound, by law, to grant somebody’s wishes, shouldn’t you be making sure wishes are truly being granted, not partially granted? You might argue that Roger could just wish for invisible clothes, but then he has to kill two wishes on what should only be one wish.

Despite this shoddy service, Roger remained enthused about his newfound invisibility, and quickly stripped off his clothes once it became clear the genie would not budge. Alas, Roger was not accustomed to being invisible, and quickly found himself struck dead by a truck. I am not holding the genie accountable for this. Roger was a grown man who knew it was important to look both ways before crossing the street, particularly when  invisible. At this point, I took over ownership of the genie, and this is where things get particularly galling.

Feeling bad about Roger’s untimely, and violent, death, I decided to make my first wish for Roger to be alive once more. He granted my wish, and this is where things got bad. Suddenly, I heard a bunch of horrifying screaming. You see, the genie brought Roger back to life as he was post-truck incident, so he was in a tremendous amount of pain, and, might I add, still invisible. This is, to me, a deliberately obtuse act by the genie. He seemed determined to twist my wish into some sort of bit of cruel irony. This is not the reason people make wishes to genies, and this is not the job a genie is designed to do. If I wanted irony, I’d read an O. Henry story, thank you very much.

The fact that you allow genies as ineffectual, and frankly harmful, as this to continue to operate is simply inexcusable. What, exactly, are you doing over at the Bureau of Genies, Monkey’s Paws, and Birthday Candles? This is not an isolated incident. You cannot swing a dead cat on the internet without finding complaints about wish-granting entities providing similarly unwanted results. And when the results are undesirable, are they willing to solve the issue? No! They demand another wish. They should be willing to tweak the original wish until a satisfactory conclusion is arrived at. It’s the only fair business practice.

I call upon your organization to take a good, hard look at itself and how it conducts business. Perhaps genies need further training and guidance. I know you are operating under limited resources, although you’d think with all your access to genies and other wish-granting mechanisms you could fix that. But something must be done. Nobody should have to suffer like my friend Roger did because of renegade genies operating with little to no oversight. In fact, with my second wish, I had to wish that Roger was dead again, just to end his suffering.

And with my final wish I told the genie to go fuck himself.

Thank you for your time.


Chris Morgan

Chris Morgan is the writer of a book on Mystery Science Theater 3000 and a person on Twitter.

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A Letter of Complaint to the Bureau of Genies, […]