Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: GET COLD FEET (10/12/17)
- TITLE: The ZERO Button
By Yvonne Blake
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
I don’t mind talking –to myself, to my husband, or maybe to Sinbad, my cat. But don’t make me call a stranger on the phone. I’d rather walk barefoot through a bay of sea urchins or have my tongue seared with a branding iron.
Last month, I had ordered a large, full-faced, blue motorcycle helmet for Bill’s birthday. I wanted to show him that I wasn’t really mad at him for buying that bike. If he wanted to act like a crazy kid, that was fine with me. But today a truck delivered a girl’s, pink, unicorn, bicycle helmet instead.
I read the shipping label. Yes, that’s my name and address. I dug through the 2,387 foam peanuts. Nope, there’s nothing else in the box. I did find the packing slip. Maybe there’s an explanation or an email address. I would write a not-so-polite complaint. I read the packing slip six times, but there was no email address. None! I checked their website for a whole hour, back and forth through all thirty-four pages, but there was only a handy phone number for anyone who needed help.
CALL US FOR FRIENDLY SERVICE
I even considered writing a paper-and-ink letter to the company, but Bill’s birthday arrived in less than ten days. I even toyed with the idea of ordering another helmet for Bill. No, it’s totally unfair to make me pay twice as much for their mistake! With a wave of nausea rising from my gut, I knew it was one of those times when I absolutely had to use the phone to get something done.
I better write down what I want to say.
I tore a sheet from my shopping list notepad and found a satisfactory pencil. It had to be sharp and have a good eraser. I’d need an eraser for this job.
1. Hello, this is Mary Richards. R–I–C–H–A–R–D–S
2. I ordered a full-faced blue motorcycle helmet last week, May 11th
3. Stock # MH62589 for $358.34
4. I received a child’s pink unicorn bicycle helmet.
I didn’t know what else to expect. I made sure I had my credit card and car license and social security number and even my passport ready. You never knew what information they would ask for.
Maybe some mocha mint coffee will calm me down.
I made the coffee, went to the bathroom, fed Sinbad, watered the ivy, checked the doorstep (in case the real package came), took a sip of my coffee, put it in the microwave for a minute, and then sat at the kitchen table with my phone, the handy phone number, and my cheat sheet in front of me.
As I punched in the last decimal, I half hoped someone would push my doorbell – like a girl scout or a white-shirted young man with religious literature.
It rang once . . . twice . . . three times. Oh, don’t make me leave a message!
“Hello, this is the Cycle Shop. If your call is about billing, please press ONE.”
O good, it’s a machine. Maybe I won’t have to talk to someone.
“If your call is about directions to our shop, please press TWO. If your call is about employment, please press THREE . . .”
I listened to eight different options, but never heard one that had to deal with complaints or shipping errors. Of course, there was the one option –the one I dreaded.
“If you wish to speak to a manager, please press ZERO.”
I took another sip of mocha mint as I listened one more time, just to be sure. I held my breath and surrendered my will to the inevitable ZERO button. Hovering my index finger above my phone, I heard a different voice.
“Hello, this is the Cycle Shop. May I help you?”
I gasped and pushed the OFF button.
Staring at the silent phone, I wondered if Bill would mind a pink, unicorn helmet for his birthday.
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