The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Gene Weingarten: Are you there, customer service rep? It’s me, Gene.

(Alex Fine/For The Washington Post)
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This week we continue our Pulitzer Prize-winning coverage of the plight of America’s beleaguered customer service representatives.

McCormick Spices

Me: I’m calling to complain about your herb product, Rubbed Dalmatian Sage.

John: Okay.

Me: I object to the abuse of animals. Dalmatians are noble dogs, heroic canines who will enter burning buildings to save people. They should not be harvested for their spices.

John: No animals are involved in this product. Dalmatian is just a type of sage. It’s a place. It has nothing to do with dogs.

Me: It still sounds suspicious to me. Tell me, by what process does “rubbing” dogs produce a spice?


Me: Never mind, I don’t actually want to know. This is disgusting. On a related point, do you pronounce it: “Herbs,” like Dagwood’s next-door neighbor, or “erbs,” the way Frenchies say it?

John: It can go either way. Some people say “herb,” some say “erb.” I say “erb.”

Me: I might have guessed.

Cholula Hot Sauce

Me: As an ardent feminist, I am calling to complain about the name of your product.

Griselle: The name? Cholula?

Me: No, hot sauce. I researched Cholula and learned it was a company founded in Mexico by the company matriarch, Camila Harrison, and it’s actually a portrait of her on your label. Why, then, do you call it “hot” sauce? Isn’t “hot” a nakedly sexist term, the sort of term by which women have been routinely objectified and marginalized? Ms. Harrison looks lovely, and intelligent, and dignified, and I would never demean her by calling her “hot,” even if I thought it.

Griselle: “Hot” does not apply to the woman on the label, it is about the heat of the actual hot sauce. It does not apply to women. It describes the taste.

Me: I would respectfully suggest you change the name of your product to Cholula Fully Actualized Sauce. Or Cholula Unleashed Potential Sauce. Or Cholula Madam President of the United States sauce. Doesn’t that make sense?

Griselle: No, sir, it does not.

Me: Okay.

Signature Select Whole Black Peppercorns

Me: I like your product. They worked well as buckshot pellets and I was pleased with the results, but they didn’t kill the squirrels right away. They only stunned them. I had to finish the job myself.

Andrew: So, are you suggesting that our product should say on the label that you should not use them for shooting squirrels?

Me: Yes, exactly. But I have to say, the squirrels tasted delicious!



Andrew: So you pre-seasoned them before eating them!

Me: I did!

Andrew: Have you considered also using salt as ammunition?

Me: Ha, ha.

Andrew: Ha, ha, ha.

Me: I’ve been making these idiot calls for 20 years, and this is the first time I’ve been busted.

Andrew: My pleasure.

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