by Judi Veoukas
Nothing can ruin a meal more than when you find an unforeseen object in it. I found a half-inch piece of wood in my Frozen Gluten- free Noodles with Robust Radish Slices.
“Ugh,” I said, as I spit it out.
“The stuff is that bad?” My husband asked.
“No,” I found wood in it. At first I thought it was a noodle, but it didn’t have quite the artificial flavor their noodles usually do.”
“Are you going to call that personal injury lawyer, the one on TV who gets money for people who carry hot sloshing coffee while running on treadmills?”
“No, but maybe I can report it to the manufacturer. I want to do my duty as a good citizen and make sure this happens to no one else.”
“You just want free coupons for more.” (We’ve been married a long time.)
I ignored him and looked to see who manufactured this gunk. Ah, yes, a huge corporation.
Of course it would be more complicated than writing an email stating they’d try to kill me. Their website said to call 1-800-Tuf Luck to register complaints. After a couple of dozen false starts, I was hooked up to an Automated Systems Specialist (ASS) Robot at the Manufacturer’s Frozen Noodle Concoction and Care department.
ASS: Was there a problem with the your frozen dinner?
Me: No, I’m just calling because my kids forget to. I get lonely. Yes, there was a problem. It had wood in it!
ASS: Did the product live up to its promise?
Me: Why ask? In your metal head, it probably surpassed it by having something extra inside.
ASS: Did you enjoy the meal in spite of your perceived problem?
Me: Do you enjoy spitting wood? And it was not perceived!
ASS: Are you able to provide us with an expiration date?
Me: I have about 10 more years if I take enough medication and don’t eat your product anymore.
ASS: Would you recommend this item to a friend?
Me: You’re kidding, right?
ASS: What do you think is fair compensation?
Me: A Tesla Model S.
ASS: Do you think you received a good return for your purchase price?
Me: Never know when I’ll need a half-inch piece of spit-out wood.
ASS: Can you send us a photo?
Me: I have one from my wedding 35 years ago.
ASS: A photo of the object.
Me: Do you think I have nothing better to do than photograph phlegm-covered wood?
ASS: We have just a few more questions: What was your mother’s maiden name? What was your first pet’s name? And, where did you go on you honeymoon?
Me: None of your business. Nicky. Wisconsin. Went there for both my first and second marriages. You would think we could have picked somewhere more exciting for the second, but noooo…
Assure us you’re not a robot.
Me: YOU’RE A FREAKIN’ ROBOT!
ASS: Thank you very much. We’ll be in touch.
Several weeks later I received three coupons for Gluten-free Noodles with Robust Radish Slices.