"Lobster On Pedestal"
Time for my daily game of Defang The Customer.
The first and final calls of the day were laugh fests. Thank God.
Because it is, in fact, the holidays and we're overrun with calls, we're not getting the coaching sessions we ordinarily would get. So, after the new year, I imagine I'll find out everything I have been doing that has not been perfect. I don't mind. What I'm actually more focused on is plotting the start of a whole new department to cover a part of training that is completely missing. Wouldn't it be incredible to go from $14.35/hour to $150/hour for being VP of some new department?
Anyway, today's last call: my favorite of the whole day. I have realized today that throughout the day one employee or another on this huge level playing field of a floor with its endless desks looks at me like, "What the fuck?" when I'm laughing. I imagine they are probably thinking I'm ... uh ... different, because I do, in fact, laugh my way through the day (no wonder I'm fecking exhausted when I get home; can you lose weight from laughter? Asking for a friend...).
So, last call of the day. A woman called looking for - wait for it - a puffer fish Christmas ornament. Also, a lobster ornament, a seahorse ornament and any other damn kind of fish ornament. Her relative does marine work, so it makes sense. But some ninny in one of the stores told her, "Oh yeah! There's 39 of those puffer fish ornaments in the New York store, and 68 in the California store, so hey no problem, JUST CALL THEM."
"Just call them!" OMG, good luck with that, my friend.
So, she ends up with me. And we are on that phone for 45 minutes or more laughing like we're gonna burst. But first I almost completely blow it, because I'm tired, and super unamused by people insisting that the person they spoke to in the store - who gave them a "magical" piece of paper reflecting available supplies from possibly, oh, the year 1910 - are absolutely right about what is in the store and what is not. Never mind our up-to-date system - it has to be wrong. Why? You know why! Because they want what they want. I admire their perserverance. I resent their disbelief. So I have to play the game of Defang the Customer.
Fortunately, that is my specialty and my adrenaline addiction.
Yes, I'm a sick woman.
But I digress.
So, first I almost blow it because I'm tired of being disbelieved - I got another one of those calls where someone responded to my there-are-none-in-the-entire-country notifications with, "Can you check California?"
Uh, no. I really really can't.
I'm tired of people saying, "I can't imagine that those would be GONE!" So when she says, "Well, the woman at the counter looked at her computer [oooOOOOoooooh! The comPUTer! Well, that's a...fish...of a different color! Not.] and said there are 39 in New York!", I actually rather interrupt her at the end of her sentence, and I say, "Do you KNOW how many people are shopping in New York?" I'm feeling more than a little testy, so I temper it with a prophylactic laugh at the end, and somehow I get away with this. She must be forgiving. Or since it's 5:45, maybe she's having some wine.
In any case, I start doing major searches for ANY kind of crystal fish ornaments, and so sorry, mate, no go! But wait! There's a multi-colored glass fish - actually super pretty - so that's something. She's underwhelmed. Hey! Lady! It's a FISH! What the hell ELSE d'you want???
The longer I look, the more I know that this is a lost damn cause. NO! Waitwaitwaitwaitwait!!!! I see a collection of crystal ornaments and there's a damn seahorse in there!
So I tell the customer I think I found something for her, and I start trolling through all the individual crystal ornaments in the collection so that I can give her a price. I'm thinking, "Is this really necessary for a tree?" But then again, I'm Jewish. What do I know from Christmas trees? Except for that one year my brother went over to the neighbors' house and accidentally tipped the 6-ft tree over. But I digress again. Damn! Sorry.
I am looking for the seahorse...looking for the seahorse...looking for the... oh holy God, every single ugly crystal ornament in the collection except for the damn seahorse!!!
So I tell the customer how to look up what I'm seeing, and she sees the, uh, tableau, as it were, of all of the crystal ornaments in the picture, grouped together in a pose that looks like Despicable Gru used his freeze ray on 'em, and her tone of voice drops from hilarious to dry in a moment as she goes, "Oh...well no matter anyway. I hate it. That's UGLY." She has hit my funny bone. "Well, thank God it's not available!" I say, and we're laughing again.
"Well," I manage to say in my most reasonable punking tone, "I am finding some other types of ornaments. Are you sure you don't want a hot dog ornament?" and she falls out.
Yeah. It's not that hilarious, but we're both tired now, and even something as sophomoric as bum itch would be funny.
Now, I'm determined not only to prove to her - but to myself - that I'm absolutely right: there ARE no fish ornaments in the stores on that damn print out she was given (I HATE THOSE PRINTOUTS! THEY'RE ALWAYS WRONG!). So together, we call the biggest store in the fleet.
We're listening to the phone ring, and waiting for the store to answer, when she says, "You know, I do know how many New Yorkers are shopping, and I just can't imagine 39 New Yorkers running into the store to buy 39 Puffer Fish Ornaments!" Oh shit. There HAS to be weight loss to laughter - the world just isn't right if that's not the case. Through my laughter I say, "I HEAR ya! It's hard to wrap your mind around! You just might be right!" and all the while I'm imagining, film-like, 39 people in a cluster, cartoon-like, rushing into the store - cut away to the outside of the store, clear of people on the street - and then all 39 people rushing out with crystal fish in their hands and big, adrenaline-crazed smiles on their faces.
To me, this is freakin' hilarious.
I am continuing to search with different search terms, and I do a search for, simply, "lobster".
Oh. Dear heavenly Lord. Dear God in the sky. I think I've seen God! The angels are singing!
I have found the absolutely. funniest, thing, I've. EVER seen. Ever.
It's called...oh sweet baby Jesus in a tux...it's called "Lobster On Pedestal".
I swear. to. God. It's called Lobster On Pedestal.
(By the way, for Nancy Slome who named Episode #5, yes, this episode is called "Lobster On Pedestal".)
All I have to say about this thing is: WHY?????
My customer and I are doubled up laughing. We cannot - for the life of us we can't! - figure out why this exists! I mean, who the hell buys Lobster On Pedestal. What the hell is it FOR???? I mean, I'll take your best guess! Does someone buy this to put on peoples' plates before the Christmas meal? Does someone put this on the window ledge in the kitchen to inspire lobster cooking fantasies? I mean, who loves lobster THIS MUCH???? It's terrifying.
It's fantastic. It's the best ever. Gawd, I want her to buy this.
I have to actively stop myself from getting hysterical and laughing too hard to talk.
She does not, in fact, want to buy Lobster On Pedestal. Shocking!
Then, Big Miracle: Someone answers the phone at the big flagship store. Holy lobster! It's someone with great customer service skills, a pleasant manner, and a willingness to put on her snorkle gear and find us some fish.
(I'm a touch put out that my customer is not at all impressed with my ability to get through to the store and talk to a human! I mean, it's not like that's easy even for us during the holidays! But she is expecting her top-level customer service, dammit, and dammit I'm gonna provide.)
Our lovely New York store person is willing to walk the 3 miles from one side of this huge building to the other to look for crystal fish for a tree...have I mentioned how weird I find this?
But while this kindly New Yorker is going walkabout on a search for sea life, I am doing searches online - sea shells, marine ornaments, anything with a sea theme. Anything at all...
And she returns with the news I expected: Sorry, no fish at the inn.
Meanwhile, my search has yielded a result I absolutely LOVE!!!! I find the holy grail of marine-themed Christmas ornaments. No, no, not the Puffer ornament. Not even a lobster ornament. (For the love of CHRIST, who puts A LOBSTER ON A TREE????)
wait for it...
the Yellow Submarine.
AND SHE LOVES IT! Oh my God, I'm a fucking creative genius. She'll take the fish ornament - the one I found 40 minutes ago - and the yellow submarine ornament.
I'll take a Xanax.
I have spent roughly an hour losing laughter weight and looking for sea life for a tree and earning 3 cents in commission.
And finding Lobster On Pedestal.
That alone makes it a great day.
©2018 Lori Kirstein
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Lori Kirstein, Founder
The Goodbye Good Girl™ Project LLC
The Feminine Face of Business
Cincinnati, OH 45205