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Pity the people who answered these calls

Do you know that many commercial products have tiny 1-800 phone numbers on the packages for "comments" or "questions"? Sure you do, because I disclosed this fact last year, when I made embarrassingly immature calls to customer service representatives. I have been permitted to revisit this format, now that we've passed the statute of limitations for libel suits.

Duracell Batteries

Me: How many Duracell D batteries, arranged in series, would it take to power a cattle prod capable of delivering a major teeth-shattering jolt to, say, a telemarketer or that guy who says he got skinny eating Subway subs?

Cecile: I don't know. It would take a lot.

Me: How many?

Cecile: I've never checked into it. Sometimes I think I'd like to, though!

Me: So you don't have a precise number?

Cecile: You are kidding, right?

Me: No.

Cecile: I have to go now.

Vicks NyQuil

Me: I noticed that unlike regular NyQuil, there is no alcohol in children's NyQuil. Speaking as a devoted and highly satisfied customer of regular NyQuil, my question is, is this fair to the kids?

Aaron: Actually, the alcohol is not a therapeutic ingredient in NyQuil. It's just a solvent; the other ingredients dissolve in it. In the children's NyQuil, we just use a different solvent.

Me: Well, then why don't you use that other solvent in adult NyQuil?

(Long pause.)

Aaron: You know, I don't know the answer to that.

Me: I do.

Tampax Tampons

Me: Speaking for American men, I wonder if Tampax would consider advising stores to better hide its products, you know, like in a safe in the manager's office, so men don't stumble across them accidentally when they're unprepared, and get the heebie-jeebies.

Lauren: Well, I can share your suggestion with the company. But I don't know (that) that would be good for the sales of the product.

Me: You see my problem, though?

Lauren: Actually, yes. My husband doesn't like it at all, either. He tends to move quickly through those aisles.

Me: So your advice would be? . . .

Lauren: If it gives you the willies, just turn away and get out of the area. Vacate the area.

Me: In case this fails, does Procter & Gamble offer any products for the willies or the heebie-jeebies?

Lauren: If it makes you feel bad to the point of nausea, we have Pepto-Bismol.

Grecian Formula

Me: I couldn't help noticing that your package features a photo of a ruggedly handsome 35-year-old man who basically looks like Tom Cruise. And I was just wondering why you didn't have a guy who looks more like the typical consumer of this product, someone like Dennis Hastert or Yogi Berra, or maybe one of the Pep Boys. Is this deceptive advertising?

Jim: I'll be honest with you. People view hair color in a very aspirational way. People don't like to look at ugly people. Our models are people out of the Actors' Equity community.

Me: Would you be interested in employing me as a model for your package? My hair looks like a teddy bear recovered from the scene of an airplane crash.

Jim: In all honesty, if you have gray hair and you're ugly, and you color that gray hair, you're still gonna be ugly.

Me: Wow.

Jim: I'm just being honest.

Argo Cornstarch

Me: Knock knock.

Lindsay: Um, who's there?

Me: Argo.

Lindsay: Argo who?

Me: Argo bleep yourself!

Lindsay: Hahahaha.

Me: Pretty good, right?

Lindsay: Yeah!

Me: Do you think Argo might buy that from me for an advertising campaign?

Lindsay: You'd have to contact our marketing division.

Original Hollywood Celebrity Diet Juice

Me: I see that you say you can lose up to 10 pounds in two days by drinking this juice, but when you read the fine print, it tells you not to consume food or alcohol during the two days. Is that right?

Kim: Correct.

Me: So basically, you are promising that if you starve yourself totally for two days, you will lose weight?

Kim: It's also working to burn fat while you are fasting.

Me: But you're starving yourself!

Kim: Well, that's what a fast is.

Me: Selling a lot of this product, are we?

Kim: Yes, we're doing very well.

Me: Is this a great country, or what?

Kim: Oh, yeah.

Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is weingartenwashpost.com.

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