"Dump-A-Date" means never having to say you're sorry.
"It's a fairly new business for people who are frustrated," says David Mullen, a 28-year-old entrepreneur from Arlington who started the unusual service last month. For $15, the company will send a beribboned box filled with one dozen dead flowers and a nasty limerick to your soon-to-be ex-lover.
"Women are the biggest customers," he says. "So far I've gotten a good response."
Washington, he says, is a prime market for "Dump-A-Date" because of the high proportion of singles. "Obviously, there's a heavy turnover in relationships here," Mullen says.
Susan Bertoff, 25-year-old administrator of the National Space Institute, hired "Dump-A-Date" this week to deliver dead flowers to a man who showed up, uninvited, to her Super Bowl party.
"He was an old flame," she said. "He was real obnoxious. I did it because I was sick and tired of having him show up uninvited."
"Dump-A-Date" enclosed the following sentiment:
By now you know that with time comes change.
So I've decided to broaden my range.
I love life and life loves me.
Without you, I'm as happy as can be.
A person such as you should not exist
So why don't you go and slash your wrists?
She hasn't heard from him since. "I think it worked," Bertoff said.
Linda Scott, a 30-year-old unemployed public relations specialist, used the service two weeks ago to end a quarrel with her roommate.
"I thought it was the greatest thing I'd ever heard of," said Scott, a self-professed "gimmicky" person. The dead flowers and the caustic limerick worked. "We both laughed. It was funny. If I wanted to dump a man, I'd definitely use the service."
And if a man dump-a-dated her? "Well, I don't think I'd feel too good."
Still another woman, according to David Mullen, hired "Dump-A-Date" to deliver the goods to a man she claimed gave her a social disease.
Mullen has penned the caustic comments for just about every brushoff. There's one for the born loser, one for the bore and one for the cheapskate:
I didn't need the Taj Mahal, or even the Eiffel Tower.
I didn't mind the nights at home or the TV by the hour.
The servitude, the lousy booze and that oh-so-interesting football news.
Thriftiness is a virtue, but cheapness quite another.
That's right darling, I just said it. Move on brother!
The "Dump-A-Date" idea was a natural follow-up to Mullen's original brainstorm, "Flowers of Extinction" (when words alone aren't enough . . . express yourself with flowers delivered DEAD ON ARRIVAL!), with no limerick. He says "Dump-A-Date" is a "harmless outlet" to vent your anger and is already gearing up for a busy Valentine's Day.
Mullen says he got the idea after hearing about a Chicago company of the same name that has been in business since last summer.
"We send Kiss-Off-A-Grams, Dear John letters, dead flowers, invisible candy and rotten fruit baskets," says Chicago's "Dump-A-Date" founder, Terry Morgan. "People use it for various reasons. Women use it seriously. Men use it to send to golf partners."
But in Washington, "Dump-A-Date" may also come in handy for politicians.
"This week I got a call from two people who wanted to send one to the White House after the State of the Union address," says David Mullen. "But we couldn't guarantee delivery."