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?



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