Author's Note: Hat-tip this week to the great Gene Weingarten, who has done this type of column to perfection numerous times in the Washington Post Magazine. Although he'll probably never see this, if he does, I trust he'll appreciate that thievery is the greatest form of flattery.
Customer service is important yet all too often companies don’t provide the level of service that consumers need. However, one place where you can always find someone who will listen to you say the craziest things is if you call a business on the phone. To my great delight, these fine people are paid to be polite. Let’s exploit it!
"Thank you for calling [concert venue], this is Jennifer, how may I help you?"
Me: I lost something when I came to one of your shows and, although it’s been a while, I’m hoping you can help me.
Jennifer: Sure, which show was it?
Me: Adam Lambert, back in February.
Jennifer: Oh, wow, that has been a while, but I’ll check, what did you lose?
Me: Well, it’s kind of hard to describe, but it used to be with me all the time, but now it’s gone.
Jennifer: Um, ok, but what was it?
Me: My sanity.
Me: Can you help?
Jennifer: Help you find your sanity?
Me: Yes, I swear Adam Lambert took it. I was only hanging on to it by a thread before the show, but that was the last I ever saw of it.
"Thank you for calling [major retailer], this is Steve."
Me: Hey, Steve. continued after the jump
Steve: Hey, how can I help?
Me: I have a problem with my MP3 player.
Steve: What’s the trouble?
Me: No matter what I do it always plays the same songs over and over.
Steve: Well, that’s a new one, have you tried resetting it?
Me: Yes, but it doesn’t help.
Steve: How many songs does it play?
Me: Probably about 20, no more.
Steve: And how many do you have loaded on?
Me: Well, that’s just it, I used to have hundreds but now I can only see these 20.
Steve: I may have to have you send it in for repair, I haven’t heard that one before.
Me: Do you think the other songs got embarrassed and left?
Me: Well, all the songs that remain are Adam Lambert songs, maybe the other songs were put to shame. Is it possible they erased themselves?
Steve: Are you serious?
Me: Not entirely, but he is a pretty amazing singer.
Steve: Yes, sir.
Me: Are you serious?
Steve: Not entirely, but I am pretty good at my job.
Me: Yes, you are Steve.
"Thank you for calling [same major retailer] this is Kelly."
Me: Hi, Kelly, do you know Steve? He works there.
Kelly: I’m not sure, it’s a big place.
Me: Don’t worry, he was just super helpful before.
Kelly: I’ll do my best, how can I help?
Me: Well, I’m having problems with my headphones.
Kelly: What kind of problems?
Me: They keep playing notes that can’t be right. My niece put this singer on, what’s his name… Adam Hambert?
Kelly: Adam Lambert?
Me: Yes, that’s him! Well, there’s no way that he could be singing these notes so it must be something wrong with my headphones, don’t you think?
Kelly: He does sing some pretty high notes.
Me: He does?
Kelly: Yes, he does.
Me: Oh, I didn’t know that. So, do you think my headphones are okay then?
Kelly: I’m pretty sure they are.
Me: Thanks for helping me, ‘cause you’re doing it perfectly.