Mr. Wonka,

I’m not sure you know who I am, but you recently gave your entire candy factory to my young son. Had I been there when the transaction took place, I would have suggested that you engage him as an apprentice for the time being, until he could legally join the workforce. But, as you know, I was not there. Grandpa Joe was invited instead.

Mr. Wonka, we have not known privilege as you have. My husband and I are extremely poor. He, though not always around, worked for years in a toothpaste factory until he was replaced by AI technology. Having only skills that can be programmed into a robot, Mr. Bucket now spends much of his day foraging for pieces of lettuce that have been stepped on for me to put in a giant vat of watery soup. I wish I could afford spices and fresh produce, but it isn’t possible. Our income is simply the coins I get in exchange for doing the whole town’s laundry in my giant vat every day before I use it for soup.

My son is admittedly thrilled to be released from our impoverished lifestyle. He only talks about candy lately, as though there is nothing more to running a business than coming up with colorful and dangerous food for children. I urge you to consider a mentorship program that includes real business topics such as: accounting, marketing, fair wages for employees (are the Oompa Loompas involved in any sort of union?), et cetera. I do not want his business consistently recognized for haphazard treatment of children, horrific tunnels of doom, and the opportunity to “lick snozzberries” off the wall. I want my son’s new home to be a safe haven, and the glass elevator that burst through the roof and sailed high above town concerned me. Why didn’t you build a ceiling door for the elevator, if you knew it was capable of flight? I imagine the damage is significant, and it’s now Charlie’s problem to solve.

Charlie doesn’t seem to have any opinions about the distribution of assets resulting in the transfer of factory ownership. He is interested in Gobstoppers, not the cost of elder care for his four grandparents who spend their days huddled together in one giant bed. If I could have some control in the shares of the company, I may be able to provide them more hygienic facilities which are not in the direct center of our kitchen/living room.

On a personal note, I would have loved to attend the factory tour with Charlie. I have been working nonstop since I was 8 years old when my parents decided they were invalids who needed to lay in bed and complain all day. Imagine my heartbreak when I met a man, fell in love, and found out his parents exist in the exact same way. I count ourselves lucky that the four of them don’t seem to mind sharing one large bed. I truly hope it’s not a sex thing.

And if Grandpa Joe finds that he can suddenly dance himself out of bed and gallop on down to the candy factory, break some rules, shout at you in your own office, and still win my son a career (and all his love in return), well then I guess that’s the just the way world goes, you know? You can spend your whole life providing for six other people, without hardly a thought to your own well-being, yet still somehow find the energy to compose and perform a song for my only son about being optimistic, only to discover that Charlie isn’t willing to sit down and listen to it for three minutes. And then to find out everyone thinks it’s “too long” and “should be fast-forwarded through”—it’s devastating, Mr. Wonka! Black and white, clear as crystal. I get nothing! I lose!

I’m sorry, sir. I have put too much of my own feeling into this correspondence. And if I could afford another piece of paper and a little more ink, I would start over and simply say this: consider making me a partner until Charlie is old enough to decide for himself whether or not he wants to own a factory built by a maniac. I await your response. If you’d like to discuss further, please come speak with me in person when you bring the Oompa Loompa overalls for their weekly bleaching.

Mrs. Bucket