Thursday, April 7, 2011

One Number Off

For six years, I've been one-number-off. Danger Dan's Army Surplus store has a phone number that is one digit different from mine. There's a world of dyslexic dialers who constantly call and ask for directions, prices, and discounts; you name it, if it's related to Danger Dan's's inventory, I've heard about it. Saturday mornings brings the misdialers out en masse. Often, even after I've told them they have the wrong number, they continue with their requests about the cold-rating of the sleeping bags and the capabilities of the gas-masks.

After six years of offering the correct telephone number and sometimes assisting customers with directions to the store, my patience was growing thin, especially with the callers who chose me to complain about the quality of the merchandise at Danger Dan's. I mentioned my problem to Dan (who seemed more salesman-slick than dangerous), and he suggested I change my number. I informed him that I've had the same number for twenty-five years and occasionally get a thank-you call from Brenda Lee (in response to the practical gifts I send on her birthday; she loved the tube socks). And once, I got a return call from Connie Stevens when she had that TV show selling jewelry. I've mentioned, on numerous occasions, to both of those lovely ladies that I'm always here for them. And I'm not risking missing their calls by changing my number, should either one feel the urgent need to speak to me late at night. Dan was unsympathetic and offered nothing more than a shrug of his slippery shoulders.

Early one Saturday morning, a surly fellow called and woke me with a staccato of expletives, pushing me over the sleep-deprived edge:

--Me: Hello?
--Caller: Your kayak is sh*t!
--Me: I don't have a kayak.
--Caller: Of course you don't, you know how f***ing bad they are!
--Me: What if I told you you don't know how to dial a phone?
--Caller: I'll come down there and stick this phone up your ass!
--Me: What kind of Kayak did you buy?
--Caller: The inflatable rescue model.
--Me: What's the problem?
--Caller: It takes forever to inflate, and it's too slow. I got passed by a duck.
--Me: Well, when motivated, ducks can paddle like the dickens.
--Caller: No f***ing duck is gonna pass me! I want my f***ing money back!
--Me: I understand completely. Pack up the kayak, paddle and all, bring it to the store, and you'll get everything that's coming to you.
--Caller: I don't want some f***ing store credit!
--Me: At Danger Dan's, the customer is king. In fact, let me make a note to make you a "Danger Dan's Diamond Customer."
--Caller: What the hell is that?
--Me: A Diamond Customer has the right to return anything for a full refund, regardless of how long you've owned the item.
--Caller: I have some f****d-up hiking boots that are a few years old.
--Me: Pack 'em up with the kayak.
--Caller: What about the tent I bought five years ago. It has a big-ass rip.
--Me: Every purchase is guaranteed for life for Diamond Customers. Bring in the whole kit and caboodle.
--Caller: Do you expect me to find a f***ing receipt for the tent and boots after all these years?
--Me: Sir, you're a Diamond Customer. Your word is good enough for Danger Dan.
--Caller: I'll be right f***ing over.
--Me: Don't forget to ask about "Camo Gal."
--Caller: What the hell is that?
--Me: It's the ultimate camping companion, a life-size inflatable girlfriend, perfect for those long camping trips when loneliness can get the best of an outdoorsman. And it inflates quicker than that kayak, I can guarantee you that.
--Caller: No f***ing way!
--Me: We are required to keep Camo Gal behind the counter, so you'll have to ask for it when you're at the store. There's a model with heated lady parts that's very popular with ice fishermen. It's UL approved, so don't worry about that. Right now, it's on sale.
--Caller: I'll be right over!
--Me: You're the kind of customer that makes us pay attention to quality. Thank you for shopping at Danger Dan's, and don't forget to ask for Camo Gal. If she doesn't work out, she's f***ing returnable.