(Eric Shansby)

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

Jif peanut butter

Me: I have an idea for a marketing campaign for your product. You know those short, silent, funny video loops that are all over the Internet, called G-I-F files? They’re really popular, like the one of Hitler eating watermelon.

Bethany: Sure!

Me: I bet you didn’t know they’re pronounced “Jifs.”

Bethany: Actually, I did!

Me: Then you see where I’m going with this?

Bethany: I think so!

Me: You market Jif with GIFs, and you’ll go viral.

Bethany: But what would it be? The image?

Me: Hitler eating peanut butter!


Me: Hello? Hello?

Jif peanut butter,
second call

Me: I have a complaint. I bought your product, but it still has some hard bits of peanut in it.

Nancy: So you’re looking for something real creamy, and you don’t have it?

Me: Right.

Nancy: I’m sorry. Okay, if you have the jar, read me the UPC and serial number.

Me: (I do.)

Nancy: Sir, that is extra crunchy peanut butter.


Nancy: It’s made that way.

Me: You leave it unfinished on PURPOSE? “We haven’t squashed all of the peanuts yet, but let’s just call it a day?”

Nancy: Some people like it like that. It’s the only kind they buy.

Me: I suppose that’s why people love spinach with the sand still in it.

Bella Famiglia Mediterranean extra virgin olive oil

Me: I want you to know I’m not the kind of immature guy who sees double-entendres everywhere. But I’ve been studying your label, and I think you have some explaining to do about “Extra Virgin.”

Ashley: Okay.

Me: The label says the olives have been “selected for their smooth, delicate perfume and fully rounded body.” That’s pretty suggestive language, isn’t it?

Ashley: I’m not sure I …

Me: And “olive” is an anagram for “I love.” If it ended there, we wouldn’t be talking. But I think you know it doesn’t end there, Ashley. “Bella Famiglia Mediterranean,” as you may well know, is an anagram of “Man, re: bridal female genitalia.”


Me: “Extra virgin,” indeed.


Me: I’m sorry about this, Ashley. I don’t invent anagrams; they are already out there, hidden, with mystical meanings. I just channel them. It’s a gift.

Laurie: (cutting in) I’m the supervisor. May I help you?

Me: Can you explain this remarkable coincidence?

Laurie: No.

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

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