4,000-yr-old Tablet is the World’s Oldest Customer Service Complaint
In a cuneiform tablet from ancient Mesopotamia, roughly 1750 BC, what is probably the oldest complaint in history was found.
Complaining is as humane as holding on to outrage, and in the ancient city of Ur, in present-day Iraq, this archaeological piece was discovered by a man named Nanni, according to IFL Science, who complains about a supplier known as Ea-Nasir.
Ea-Nasir supposedly (because we only know of Nanni’s version) delivered the wrong grade of copper after his journey across the Persian Gulf to collect the metal.
He was also responsible for misdirection and delays in another delivery. And to top it all, he was rude to the servants Nanni sent to pick up the delivery. What a character that Ea-Nasir … but isn’t he unknown to us? In fact, as we see, there is not one complaint but several.
“Who do you take me for, why do you treat someone like me with such contempt?” Nanni asks, thanks to a translation of the letter from Assyriologist Leo Oppenheim.
“I have sent gentlemen like us as couriers to collect the packaging with my money (deposited with you) but you have treated me with contempt by sending them empty-handed several times, and that through enemy territory.”
He continues: “Is there anyone among the merchants who do business with Telmun who has treated me this way? Only you treat my messenger with contempt! “.
The language of the tablet is Akkadian, the first known Semitic language. The tablet is not very big, it measures 11.6 by 5 centimetres.
“How have you treated me for that copper? You have taken my money bag from me in enemy territory; now it’s up to you to restore (my money) to me completely,” he demands.
Although as explained by IFL Science, it seems that Nanni was sold to negotiate with Ea-Nasir.
“Please note that (from now on) I will not accept any copper that is not of good quality here, I will select and take the ingots individually in my own yard, and I will exercise my right of refusal against you because you have treated me with contempt.”