WASHINGTON — Another installment in my Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the plight of the beleaguered customer service representative.
Oral-B dental floss
Me: I like your product very much and admire its tensile strength. I was wondering how many feet of floss there are in each pack.
Paul: Let me check. (Checks.) It's 55 yards.
Me: Wow! That's more than enough! So, I was just wondering how many strands of it you'd have to braid together to support the weight of a 6-foot-tall man of muscular build.
Paul: I have no idea, but I think maybe 10 or 15. It's pretty strong stuff and kind of braided already.
Me: Okay, great!
Paul: Uh, why would you … ?
Me: See, I have this friend, currently incarcerated. Hypothetically, he might need to lower himself from a great height.
Me: So, Oral B recommends 10 or 15 packages, then, for this application of your product?
Me: Don't worry. It's okay because I was framed. I mean, my friend was framed.
American Kennel Club
Me: I am calling with a major complaint about your organization. Every time I feed my dog chocolate, she gets sick all over the house, including on my 19th century brocaded sectional sofa.
Mary: I don't think you are supposed to give a dog chocolate. It's not good for them.
Me: Well, exactly! How was I supposed to know that? It's the AKC's fault.
Mary: How is it our fault?
Me: I didn't name this breed; you guys did. She is a chocolate Lab.
Me: So naturally I assumed, as anyone would … Hello? Hello?
Me: I hate your chicken-flavored chewing gum.
Shirley: We don't have a product like that.
Me: Yes, you do. I'm chewing it right now. It's terrible. It comes in a little cube in tinfoil.
Shirley: Sir, that's a bouillon cube. It's for flavoring soups or stew bases.
Shirley: You thought someone would make chicken gum?
Me: Sure. That's what Chiclets are, right?
Me: I was browsing in the supermarket aisle and found your breakfast cereal Simply Fiber. I just wanted to say it is the greatest product name ever. It's honest. No pretense. It would be as though Playboy were named Self-Pleasuring Monthly. Or if, instead of something like Ocean Breeze, a deodorant called itself Stink B-Gone.
Me: Have you ever considered expanding into the alcoholic-beverage business? I'd buy Cheap Buzz Beer or Pray-to-the-Porcelain-God fortified wine or Wino's Delight malt liquor.
Barry: I appreciate the accolade.
Me: It's not about taste!
Barry: Right, it's about the p-word! It's very efficacious! But you might want to add fruit or something.
Me: I love your attitude!
Barry: I love yours!
Gene Weingarten can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.