In his continuing series on customer service reps, Gene calls ZzzQuil to complain


(Eric Shansby)

Today, yet another installment in my Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the plight of the beleaguered customer service representative.

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

Butterball

Me: I am calling to complain about a freak Butterball turkey that I recently purchased and consumed.

Jackson: What is the nature of the problem?

Me: It was deformed. It had two heads.

Jackson: Sir, our turkeys do not come with their heads on.

Me: You raise headless turkeys??????

Jackson: No. We take the heads off. Are you saying there were heads inside the cavity?

Me: No. There were two necks inside the cavity, so naturally it must have had two heads. Are you exposing your turkeys to radioactivity to make them bigger, but sometimes they grow extra heads or wings?

Jackson: No!

Me: What kind of creepy Frankenstein operation do you have going on there?

Jackson: What probably happened was that we overpacked the cavity with an additional neck.

Me: Then someone else got a bird with no neck.

Jackson: Not necessarily.

Me: Do the math, man!

Jackson: Every turkey comes with its own neck. But some are used for other purposes, like frozen burgers.

Me: So, there are more necks than there are turkeys. That’s disturbing.

Jackson: No, it’s not.

Me: If you say so.

ZzzQuil

Me: Hi. Can you tell me how your sleep-aid product is pronounced? Is it “Ziz-quil,” or “[loud snoring noise]-quil,” or “Zee-quil”?

Danielle: It’s the last. “Zee-quil.”

Me: Now, see, I have a problem with that.

Danielle: I’m sorry.

Me: “Zzz” is not even the sound of a snore. Sure, some cartoonists go to that well. But not the greats. They know it’s inadequate. In the iconic “Blondie” strips, Dagwood snores like this: “Sknxx-x,” with multiple consonant sounds, as snores have, and a hyphen to show the epiglottal hesitations.

Danielle: Oh.

Me: I don’t want to brag, but I have improved upon that. I have created the perfect snore word and suggest that ZzzQuil change its name to be more snore-y. Ready?

Danielle: Yes

Me: K-c-h-z-l-z-c-n with a tilde-z-h-hyphen-k-h-quil.

Danielle: Okay, let me read that back to you. (She does.) (I make corrections, until she has it.)

Me: You got it! Change the name of the product to Kchzlzcñzh-khquil.

Danielle: Thank you! I like to pass on suggestions from consumers!

Fleischmann’s Yeast

Me: The packaging of your product is offensive to persons such as myself, persons with large behinds.

Judy: How is that?

Me: It brags right on the envelope that it is “gluten free.” Like that’s a good thing. Well, I like the size of my glutes, as do many proud, ample-bottomed Americans.

Judy: Gluten is an ingredient in wheat that makes some people sick. This has nothing to do with a body part.

Me: Oh. I feel so silly now. I have another question, but I’m afraid it will sound silly.

Judy: Go ahead! There are many valid questions.

Me: Might your product cause yeast infections?

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