Sunday, January 13, 2008

The Wrong Person?

[I wanted to share a hilarious little piece in this week's New York Times Magazine, "Consumer Man," by comedian and writer Paul Mecurio. The first part is copied below; click the link for the rest of the story. Happy Sunday!]

I’m one of those people who yell at store clerks. Not just any store clerks, but the ones who are rude, incompetent or indifferent. In other words, all store clerks. I’m the guy who always has to speak to the manager. In my head, I’m “Consumer Man”: a superhero fighting on behalf of oppressed consumers the world over. In my wife’s head, I’m crazy.

“Someday you’re going to scream at the wrong person,” she says. “And you’re going to get shot.” This “wrong person” has figured into so many of our conversations that I feel as if I know him, even though I really know only two things: 1) he’s “wrong” and 2) he’s going to shoot me.

One day I called a computer company and tried to reach a human in customer service. As I ran a gantlet of voice prompts, I couldn’t get the automated female voice to understand me when I said “yes.” Repeatedly, she asked if I’d like customer service. Each time, I said “yes.” She kept asking. I could feel consumers everywhere being oppressed. So, standing there in my superhero costume (boxers and T-shirt), it was Consumer Man to the rescue. Instead of saying “yes,” I tried other one-word responses.

“Would you like customer service?”


“Would you like customer service?”


“Would you like customer service?”


As this insane tirade took place, my wife and 8-year-old son looked on in shock. I vowed to change my ways — or at least to tell my wife that I was changing them. A new, more tolerant me was born. Someone else would have to fight for the rights of consumers. I had a family to not “frighten to death” anymore.

[Click here to read more!]

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