Gene Weingarten: His true calling is calling (customer service specialists)

Gene Weingarten
Columnist February 21, 2013

Today I revisit my Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the plight of the beleaguered customer service specialist.

Gene Weingarten is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and writes "Below the Beltway," a weekly humor column that is nationally syndicated. View Archive

One A Day® Vitamins

Me: I have a complaint about your One a Day men’s pills. They give me a terrible stomachache every month.

Paul: Every month?


(Eric Shansby)

Me: Yes. On the first. I have a bad memory, so instead of taking one a day, I take 30 on the first of the month, when I pay my mortgage.

Paul: Thirty?

Me: Except February, when I take 28, or 29 on a leap year.

Paul: The product is de-signed to be taken once a day.

Me: Could that be my problem? I have to space it out?

Paul: Yes!

Me: You know, my wife does the same thing with birth-control pills. I wonder
if that’s why I have seven kids.

Paul: I can’t really speak to that.

***

Luna Bars

Me: I’m freaking out. I didn’t realize what it was and just ate an entire Luna Caramel Nut Brownie Whole Nutrition Bar for Women. How bad is this? I can take the truth.

Dimitria: Okay, hold your breath. Are you sitting down?

Me: Omigod.

Dimitria: This is what’s going to happen. You will become delightfully full, and go on with your life. It’s gonna be all good. It’s just iron and folic acid and Vitamin D, things women don’t get enough of.

Me: But I’m full of woman stuff now!

Dimitria: You’ll be fine.

Me: I won’t turn ... gay?

Dimitria: Only if you want to.

Me: Are you sure I don’t need to take an antidote? Like beef jerky or a really crappy beer?

Dimitria: You could drink really strong coffee. They say that puts hair on your chest.

***

Stella Artois beer

Me: I like your product but won’t buy it because the French are snobs. They think they are so much more sophisticated and knowledgeable than anyone else. Americans are much more sophisticated and knowledgeable than the French, who are always making uncharitable assumptions about other countries and getting things wrong.

Amanda: Stella Artois is brewed in Belgium.

Me: Not France?

Amanda: Leuven, Belgium.

Me: Oh.

Amanda:

Me: Admit it, you’ve been waiting your whole life for a call like this.

***

Keebler® Toast and Peanut Butter Crackers

Me: I am outraged because you are using a cultural slur on your package.

Roxanne: Oh, my. What does it say?

Me: It says “Toast and Peanut Butter Crackers.” Are you aware that “cracker” is a cultural slur?

Roxanne: Oh, yes! I did know that!

Me: It’s a term for an ignorant white Southerner, like me. It’s very offensive. You should change it.

Roxanne: What an excellent suggestion. I never thought about that! I apologize, and will send your complaint to sales and marketing.

Me: I’d like to suggest that you change it to “Toast and Peanut Butter C-Words.” People will understand because you can see the product through the cellophane.

Roxanne: Oh, definitely. We also have the word on toasted crackers, club crackers, anything that’s not a cookie is a cracker. I wish I had power to make decisions immediately.

Me: While I have you, there’s a picture of the Keebler dwarf on the package. That’s insensitive, making fun of physical deformities.

Roxanne: It’s an elf. Not a dwarf.

Me: Same difference, if you ask me.

E-mail Gene at weingarten@washpost.com. Find chats and updates at washingtonpost.com/magazine.

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