A grocer in New Ulm, Minnesota, a predominantly German-speaking town, ordered coffee from a New York seller. When the shipment arrived it became clear that rats had “infiltrated” the packages of coffee while in transit. The grocer then wrote the following letter of complaint:

Schentlemens in New York:

Der last two pecketches ve got from you off koffee was mit rattschidt gemitz. Der Koffee may be gute enuff, but der rattsdurds schbeels the trade. Ve did not see der rattschidt in der sambles vich you sent us for examination. It takes so much time to peck der rattsturds from the koffee. Ve order der kelen koffee and you shop schidt mit der koffee; it vas a mushtake, YA? Ve like you to schipp us der koffee in van sak und der rattschidt in a udder sak. Den ve mix it to suit our kstorner.

Write please if ve shudt shipp der schidt bak and keep der koffee or if ve shudt keep der schidt and schipp der koffee back or ship der whole schidten verks bak. Ve vant to do rite in der madder, but ve don’t like dis rattschidt bizziness.

Mit mutch respeckts,
Karl Brummenschidt

From Professor David Epstein.