The Washington Post

Gene Weingarten: Gene vs. the customer-service rep

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

Nutro ® Natural Choice ® with lamb and rice

Me: I like your product, but it doesn’t work as the label promises. It has had no effect on my skin, which is still a barren zitscape, and definitely not on my coat. I don’t even understand that part.

Josie: It’s not formulated for humans. This is for dogs.

(by Eric Shansby)

Me: It’s DOG food? The can doesn’t say “dog” anywhere on it!

Josie: It’s got a picture of a dog.

Me: Feminine hygiene products have a picture of flowers! They’re not for flowers!

Josie: Still.

Me: I guess that’s why my coat is still just ratty denim, with mustard stains.

* * *

Bounty ® paper towels

Me: I use your product in a lot of ways. Like, as a napkin, a potholder, a shoeshine rag, a sofa pillow, zero-calorie chewing gum, wadding material for my Civil War-era musket. You know, the ordinary uses. But I just discovered a new use, in case you can market it.

Tamara: Okay.

Me: I don’t want to get too specific here, but I have recently discovered they make a more than passable pair of underpants, in an emergency.

Tamara: In an ...

Me: Emergency. A contingency sort of thing. Has anyone ever suggested that?

Tamara: It’s never been mentioned before! I’m not actually seeing how you would ...

Me: All you need is an ordinary household stapler and basic origami skills. It might give you options if you get to a public restroom that’s out of TP. What do you think?

Tamara: Are you talking about our napkin products?

Me: No! Napkins are too small. I’m not sure you’re really understanding this, Tamara. Should I start again?

Tamara: No.

* * *

Smitty Bee Honey

Me: Are there any mashed-up bees in this product?

Tony: No! It’s just honey.

Me: Then why does the label have a bear licking its chops?

Tony: That’s just an icon. Because bears like honey.

Me: See, that’s what got me confused. Bears like to eat bees. The honey is just an annoying extra, like Parade magazine on Sunday. Do you see my point?

Tony: Not really.

Me: Well, if your label is accurate, the bear is licking his lips because he’s eaten bees. So that’s why I was wondering if your honey has mashed-up bee parts — bee feet and bee faces and stuff.

Tony: No! Ew.

Me: Well, there’s a lot of protein in bee bodies! You could market it that way.

Tony: It would not be good marketing.

* * *

Amp Energy ™ caffeinated drink

Me: Your product tastes good but weird kind of like prune-and-SweeTart soda or maybe carbonated gummy worms so I was wondering what the actual flavor is but that’s not really why I’m calling which is that it doesn’t say on the label if there’s a maximum daily dose of this stuff because I drink a lot of it to stay alert and focused until I find myself speaking real fast not only without periods but also without commas but sometimes I run out of Amp and have to crush coffee beans and snort them instead to get the same rush so what I want to know is if there is a way to buy Amp by the case or even larger quantities does it come in giant vats or tubs or like jeroboams?

Jean: You might check your BJ’s and Costco and Sam’s Club to see if they sell it in bulk.

Me: If I get a still and boil it and concentrate the steam into a distillate, will it make it stronger, like Amp schnapps?

Jean: No.

Me: Can it be injected? Hello? Hello?

Show Comments
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Close video player
Now Playing

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.