Mrs. Claypool's maid had the day off but Mrs. Claypool needed a few things from the market. She hadn't been in years, but what could happen? So she put on a fun fur and headed for the Super Jumbo Giant Acme Safeway Valu-Mart down the road.
Everything went fine until she rounded a corner with her shopping cart near the Tasetee Cakes, Tandy Takes, Cookie Krisps, Sugar Poos, Yummy-Yums, Wheat Treats, Crackly Smax and Didey Wipes.
It was there that the famous advertising genius Ted Baits leaped out from behind a Matterhorn of paper towels and began to question her.
"Which dishwashing liquid are YOU going to buy?" he asked.
"What's 'dishwashing liquid'?" asked Mrs. Claypool, who had been searching for the Perrier display.
"Now now, Madame," said Baits, "If you want to get on our secret hidden camera over there -- right between the rump roasts and the steel-belted radials -- you answer my question. Are you going to buy this cheap, tawdry, vile and degenerate detergent, or will you try new Driven Snow, the dishwashing liquid that costs a little more, but makes you extremely popular?"
"Well, the Dow-Jones being what it is, I'd buy the cheap one," said Mrs. claypool.$"Ah-HA!" shouted Baits. To the rump roasts he yelled, "Roll the secret hidden camera, boys," and to Mrs. Claypool he cooed with what he fancied seductiveness, "How'd you like to do some dishes?"
"Do what with some dishes?" asked the incredulous woman, but before she could protest, she was whisked off to a back room lit with 45 million candlewatts and propped up behind two see-through sinks.
They wouldn't let her out until she had done all the dishes in each sink, but that wasn't the worst of it. When she finished, this Baits fellow proceeded to interrogate her mercilessly.
"Now what did you learn?" he asked.
"Not to go to the market along," she replied.
"No, no -- cut! I mean, what did you learn about doing dishes? Okay roll 'em boys."
"Well, I suppose that the suds from that white bottle lasted longer than the suds from that pink bottle."
"Why, go home to Mr. Claypool, of course."
"No, no -- want dishwashing liquid will you buy?"
'Oh, that one."
"You mean, New, Gentle, Baby-soft Driven Snow?"
"Yes. That one."
"New Driven Baby Snow."
By this time, Mrs. Claypool was perspiring, for the first time in 35 years. After three or four more tries, she got the name of the dishwashing liquid correct and after signing a few legal papers, was free to go. Baits informed her grandly that in six weeks her face might show up on television.
'What's 'television'?" asked Mrs. Claypool but then, not waiting for an answere, she returned to her cart. Just as she turned onto aisle 14 -- dog munchies and marital aids -- she crossed the path of Button Bowles, the famous advertising genius, who announced he had secretly obtained her husband's favorite shirt and then proceeded to besmudge it with chocolate syrup and axle grease.
"Is the man MAD?" gaseped Mrs. Calypool, but before she could plead for mercey, Bowles thrust a microphone to her lips and began another tongue-lashing.
"Now I'll bet you think there is no laundry detergent in the world that can get out those filthy stains, don't you? Liquids can't touch them. Powders can't touch them. But you know what can touch them? New Liquid Powder, the first powdered liquid! It'll make you feel GOOD about yourself!"
Mrs. Claypool perceived that feigning interest would be the best defense. "Oh?" she said. "You don't say."
"Ah but I DO say, Mrs. Claypool of Paramus, N.J.! So what do YOU say -- let's go wash some clothes!"
And the mystified dowager was hauled off to another floodlit chamber where she and the shirt both went through the wringer. Mrs. Claypool would not be released until she declared the garment not just spotless, not just white, but "A Whole New Kind of Clean."
Making desperately for the exit now, Mrs. Claypool was to be accosted yet twice more, first by an advertising genius demanding to know if her husband preferred his toilet paper kissing soft or scratchy rough, and then by a man asking insistently whether her husband desired Stove Top Stuffing or potatoes with his pork chops.
Having never heard of the stuffing in question, Mrs. Claypool replied in the potatotive, and there she went wrong. For soon poor Mr. Claypool strapped to a chair, materialized on a TV screen before her, electrodes nipping at his sideburns while he croakily cried out to her, "Say the stuffing! Say the stuffing!"
"The stuffing," Mrs. Claypool quickly responded, and at that, her husband was freed.
"We thought you'd see it our way," said the man, "and as a reward, you may some day find yourself on coast to coast national television."
"It thrills me no end, I assure you," said Mrs. Claypool. From that time forth and after eight months of intensive therapy, she and Mr. Claypool lived happily and peacefully, except for occasional interminable bouts of screaming nightmares.