Gene's true calling ... is calling

By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, February 27, 2011; WC3

Another installment in my Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the plight of the beleaguered customer-service representative.

Yogi ® herbal tea

Me: I don't like tea, which is why I like your tea because it's like what most tea isn't.

Mercia: Um . . .?

Me: If you see what I mean.

Mercia: I think you are saying you have a more discerning palate than most people?

Me: Yeah. So how much of it should I drink at a time? It says it helps you relax, but when I get too relaxed, I get nervous.

Mercia: I ... Okay, well. You want to listen to what your body feels like.

Me: Now how wet should I make the tea?

Mercia: I think I need help with that question.

Me: How do I know when it's wet enough?

Mercia: If you put the teabag in first, it will submerge, so it will be wet enough.

Me: How many bags do I need to make a pitcher?

Mercia: It depends on the size of the pitcher.

Me: Well, Whitey Ford, he was a little guy. A crafty little southpaw.

Mercia: I ... don't .... uh.

Me: Isn't your company owned by Yogi Berra?

Pepperidge Farm Soft 100% Whole Wheat Bread

Me: You know that little slotted plastic disc thing that cinches the bag closed? Does it have an official name?

Lynn: I call it a little plastic clamp. I'm not sure there is a more technical name.

Me: I'm going to suggest a name. I'll give it to your company for free. Do you have paper and pencil?

Lynn: Yep.

Me: Okay, here it is. Write down an exclamation point, then an ampersand, then an asterisk. ... You with me?

Lynn: Yes.

Me: Okay, then an at-the-price-of sign, then finally another exclamation point. That's the name. Because that's what people say when the thing breaks the second time they try to use it. Is there a more flimsy, negligible product on the face of the Earth?


Me: Okay, maybe the frill from the top of a cocktail weenie toothpick.

McCormick ® spices

Me:I have a book from 1864 titled "The Ladies' Guide to True Politeness and Perfect Manners" by Miss Eliza Leslie. It says that the best way to remove a cinder from your eye is to place under your eyelid the eyeball of a lobster. In fact, they used to sell lobster eyeballs at apothecaries for that reason.

Wanda: Okay.

Me: I had a cinder in my eye. But I don't eat lobsters, so I found the thing that was closest in shape and appearance to a lobster eyeball, which was a McCormick® peppercorn.

Wanda: Oh, no!

Me: It didn't work! It made things much worse.

Wanda: You definitely should not put pepper in your eye.

Me: I was just thinking you should put that warning on your jar: Do not put peppercorns in your eye.

Wanda: I will pass along your packaging suggestion to marketing.

SodaStream® home soda maker

Me: I am very dissatisfied with your product.

Felicia: What seems to be the problem?

Me: I used it, but my bike tires are still flat.

Felicia: Well, have you tried troubleshooting? I can walk you through ... wait, what?

Me: It wouldn't inflate my bike tires. Or my basketball.

Felicia: It's not supposed to be used for those purposes. It's for making seltzer or soda.

Me: Really? I like seltzer!

Felicia: Great! That's what you should use it for!

Me: If I inhale the gas from it, will it make my voice all funny and squeaky?

E-mail Gene at weingarten@washpost.com. Chat with him Tuesday at noon.

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