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  • Paul Davidson

Today’s Words With Pitney Bowes

The phone rang, almost surprisingly. There was, as usual, a long pause after I said hello. Eventually, the people on the other line got down to business. Phone solicitors, again.

Pitney Bowes: Hello — is this the managing partner?

Me: Why, yes. It is.

Pitney Bowes: Well, hello sir. I’m calling on behalf of Pitney Bowes this morning to make you a wonderful offer. We’re ready to give you the Pitney Bowes E700 letter postage meter for a free three month trial, and then offer you the service at $24.95 a month. And that’s only with a thirty-dollar startup fee for the postage.

Me: A postage meter?

Pitney Bowes: Well, yes. How much in postage do you think your business uses on a monthly basis?

Me: My frozen yogurt shop?

Pitney Bowes: Uh, yes. Your…frozen yogurt shop.

Me: I don’t know. I mean, what would I need a postage meter for at a frozen yogurt shop?

Pitney Bowes: Well, what about all those great offers you send out to the community? The special two for one deals?

Me: Good point. Very good point. Pitney Bowes: So, can we go ahead and set you up with the E700?

Me: What color is it? Because I’m gonna put this thing right next to the frozen yogurt machine and its got to match.

Pitney Bowes: Well, it’s a dark grey. But why does it have to match?

Me: The only free outlet is right next to the frozen yogurt machine.

Pitney Bowes: Oh, I see. Well, I’m sure it would look just great next to the frozen yogurt machine.

Me: Thing is — those minimum wage kids I got working for me… They’re always spilling the powder and milk substance that we dump into the machines on that countertop where I’d put the postage meter and–

Pitney Bowes: And you’re worried that it may damage the machine?

Me: Yes. Exactly.

Pitney Bowes: No problem, Mr. Guhyesh. Pitney Bowes will replace any damaged meters free of charge.

Me: It may happen over and over again.

Pitney Bowes: And Pitney Bowes will replace it over and over again.

[Time passes and Pitney Bowes directs me to their website where I can look at the E700 before closing the deal. Instead, I see another one that’s much more cool looking, the DM100 which doesn’t happen to fall under the current deal they’re offering me — a Mr. Guhyesh.]

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: What seems to be the problem, Mr. Guhyesh?

Me: Well, to be frank — the E700 looks like a doorstop. I can’t put that thing in my frozen yogurt store.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Well, it’s not like anyone’s gonna see it.

Me: No, they will. I put it next to the frozen yogurt machines.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Why would you do that, sir? You don’t want customers seeing the postage meter out in the open.

Me: I like this DM100 better — I like the colorful buttons on it.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Sir, we can give you colorful buttons if you want. Besides, the deal on the E700 is better. We’ll give you three free months versus 60 days on the DM100. And, and this is a big thing, we will also give you a fifty-dollar gift certificate to Omaha Steaks.

Me: I don’t eat meat.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Oh. Well, I’m sure your employees or friends do. Throw ’em a barbecue to thank them for all their hard work there over at the yogurt shop.

Me: We’re a vegan yogurt shop.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Veg-… What?

Me: Vegan. We don’t eat anything that had eyes.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Cows have eyes.

Me: Exactly. That’s why we don’t eat cows.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Oh. What about fish?

Me: They have eyes, too.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Um… Weird. Never heard of that.

Me: Where are you guys located at?

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Ohio.

Me: Figures.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: [Chuckles]

Me: How much you pay those people over there making calls for you?

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Well, we get the work release program people, so we don’t have to pay them that much.

Me: What, like after they’re dressed up in orange jumpsuits picking up garbage on the highway, you get them to sell postage meters over there?

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Yup. It’s a great deal for us. Sorta like slave labor.

Me: Wow.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Yeah, so — let’s get you this E700 to you. All I’ll need is your credit card information.

Me: I’d really much rather have this DM100.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Let me ask you this — how much postage does your ice cream, er, yogurt shop spend a month?

Me: Sixty bucks worth.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Well, see — there you go. The E700 is perfect for that. This DM100, well, that’s for much bigger companies with higher volumes of mail.

Me: But I’m looking at it, and it prints thirty-two letters a minute, while this E700 does thirty-four. That, to me says that the E700 is a better machine.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: I don’t really know much about this DM100, so… We should just get you this E700.

Me: You know what — I just wouldn’t be able to sleep at night if I knew there were customers coming into my frozen yogurt shop seeing that grey thing next to the machine. They’d turn around and walk out. I’d like the DM100. That’s what I want.

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: Well, if that’s what you want, you’re crazy.

Me: Excuse me?

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: You’re choosing a postage meter based on how it looks? That’s like choosing a car for- Whatever.

Me: Sounds like we’re sort of done here, then. Huh?

Pitney Bowes Supervisor: [Click]

By the way — I don’t own a frozen yogurt shop.

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