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CRAZY CALLER STRIKES HAPLESS TARGETS

WASHINGTON - I love shopping at Target. Where else can you find 3-pound bags of Gummi Worms, kitchen appliances large enough to deep-fry a goat, flip-flops that cost $1 and don't appear to be worth it . . . plus all the customer service numbers any smart-aleck columnist could want.

Target stores

Me: I have a complaint. I went to your store and bought a 6-foot-tall mango tree. It has been almost a year, the thing hasn't grown at all, and there are no mangoes.

Alan: Those are decorative items. They're plastic.

Me: You're kidding.

Alan: No.

Me: I spent 40 bucks on fertilizer!

Amana appliances

Me: I have a complaint about your four-burner family gas grill with side burner, rear rotisserie large enough for a whole chicken or rib roast, and 729-square-inch, dual-level surface big enough to fit 34 burgers, on sale at Target for $350.

John: Okay.

Me: It's not big enough. My wife, Luann, is the size of a convenience store. She can eat 34 burgers by herself. You got anything bigger?

John: We have a five-burner with a 48-inch cooking surface.

Me: Can I cook me up a cow on that?

John: Maybe a calf. You could do Bambi.

Me: That's a deer.

John: You're right. Lemme think of the name of an animated baby cow. Okay, you could cook Cowboy Moo.

Me: You made that up!

John: Yeah, I did. I'm not real familiar with cows, but you could probably cook one on the 48-incher, depending on how you cut the cow. You'd have to make the pieces extremely thick. I don't know how well you'd cook the center of it, but you could fit it.

FAF Distributors

Me: Hi, I was in Target, and I saw your baseball caps for a dollar. The ones that say "#1 Dad."

Lori: Uh-huh.

Me: And I just wanted to say I thought that slogan was brilliant. Who came up with that?

Lori: I guess that would be someone from our design department.

Me: Have you patented it? Because when other apparel makers see that slogan, they're going to want a piece of that action.

Kingsford Charcoal

Me: Is your product good for helping individuals overcome feelings of inadequacy?

Hal: Well, it's good for lighting up with just one match.

Me: But what about walking barefoot on hot coals to demonstrate one's faith and inner strength?

Hal: I wouldn't recommend doing that.

Me: Are your competitors' products better for that? Should I go with Wal-Mart brand charcoal briquettes?

Hal: Well, if you want something really hot, you probably want to go with our lump charcoal product.

Me: So, that will be good for my feet?

Hal: I didn't say that. That's where the faith and inner strength part comes in.

Always feminine products

Me: I'm a guy, so I don't actually use this particular product, though I am sure it is excellent. My question is, isn't this a terrible name for a maxi pad?

Lindsey: Why?

Me: We're not talking about a product any woman wants to use "always," are we?

Lindsey: Right, not all the time.

Me: That would make for one miserable, cranky woman. What were they thinking?

Lindsey: I totally understand.

Me: I'd like to suggest another name: Occasionally, but Definitely Never in Shark-Infested Waters Maxi Pads.

Valley Forge Flag Co.

Me: I am extremely politically liberal, so my patriotism is obviously suspect. How many of your American flags do I need to buy at Target to be considered patriotic again? What number would you recommend?

Jeannie: Boy, that's a good question.

Me: I figured it's like saying the rosary a certain number of times to atone for a sin.

Jeannie: Okay, 10.

Gene Weingarten's e-mail address is weingarten@washpost.com.

Washington Post Writers Group

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