The NLG corporation makes Nice Looking Gizmo knockoffs that do everything the more costly but less nice-looking gizmos do. Except they only work for about a week and then become nice looking gizmos that don’t do anything except maybe chirp or hum or emit the scent of burnt money.
Everyone in their customer service department has been trained to identify themselves as “Bob” and cheerfully pledge to resolve consumer issues. Callers are advised to put the offending gizmo in a box and ship it to an address in Mumbai where a technician named “Sanjay” will send out a brand new gizmo on the first steamer leaving port, C.O.D.
Because the cost of shipping is seven times the cost of the gizmo, our investigation showed half the complainants said “Do I have some kind of sign on my back that says ‘Sucker?’
“Bob” is instructed to say “I completely sympathize, but recently I was diagnosed with stage four Schwartzman’s Spalpeen. As you’re probably aware, it’s a disease that attacks, um… and… uh…withers the uh… the…um…er…”
“Bob” is instructed to patiently wait for the caller to say:
“Exactly. I’m hoping to avoid stage five.”
A full 100% of the callers say:
“What happens in stage five?”
“Bob” answers with one word: “Amp-uh, amp-uh Amputation.”
Two thirds of the callers say, in a higher pitch than usual, “Not the spalpeen!?”
“Leave me your number,” “Bob” is instructed to say, “and I’ll phone you from my hospital bed.”
As for the third who don’t say “The spalpeen?” they say “Oh, forget it.” But sales receipts show that when these people see an ad for a really nice looking, new and improved, second generation gizmo knockoff that costs half the price of the real thing, they rush online and contact “Gerald” in sales. He says “Oh, lucky day. We’ve still got a few in stock!”
That’s half of the original dissatisfied customers. Another third ships their broken gizmo to Mumbai, in care of “Sanjay.” At this point, one of two things occurs.
One, “Sanjay” sends a new gizmo out and the customer is happy as a gnat in hummus for about a week and then the doodad poops out and the slow grinding process begins again.
Two, nothing happens.
In either case, weeks go by. The customer gets upset and does one of two things.
One, the customer suffers some sort of stroke, seizure or, in many cases, Schwartzman’s Spalpeen. The NLG corporation quietly considers the case closed.
Two, a customer texts Sanjay asking “do you think I have nothing to do but wait for somebody named Sanjay in Mumbai to take his sweet time getting a new gizmo out to me?”
Here, one of two things happens.
One, nothing happens.
Two, an email bears the sad news that “Sanjay” was on a ferry—originally designed for 43 but carrying 2,738 pilgrims — when it overturned and sank like a stone while crossing the Straits of Mumbai. Meanwhile, people at the NLG factory tell unhappy customers they are sorting the mountain of returned, defective gizmos stacked “next to Sanjay’s desk beside the box fan he won for being employee of the month and which he treasured because it’s very hot in Mumbai, so please try to understand because Sanjay was well loved and left two wives and an elephant with serious trunk issues.”
A good half of the third of the disgruntled customers give up and are never heard from again.
Half of the other half of the third call and demand to speak to “Bob.”
Meanwhile “Bob,” recovering from surgery, has taken over for the late, beloved “Sanjay.” Half of the half of the other half of the third give up at this point. The other half asks to speak to “Bob’s” replacement who turns out to be a bubbly 19-year-old trainee named Honeynut.
After hearing her squeaky, air-leaking-from-the-stretched-thin-neck-of-a-balloon voice say “Hi, this is Honeynut. How may I help you on this beautiful morning?” almost everyone of the other half of the half of the other half of the third log off with very irritable bowels.
©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2013-2020, all rights reserved.