WE LOVE HATE MAIL!
Error Message 409 – Don is liquored up and unable to respond to any further angry emails regarding last month’s “We Love Hate Mail! — Going Postal.” And he is no longer accepting your recipes for Eggplant Cake.
When we first opened our tiny shop, Liana was worried I was just going to sit around and insult customers all day. Of course we’d only been married for 13 years and I’d designed and/or built literally $130 million in heavy civil infrastructure projects over that span of time. Perhaps the better verb was “disabuse” rather than “insult,” but neither could be ruled out given my background of construction.
Liana certainly couldn’t trust me with all the weirdos and bottom-feeding creatures who would most certainly would inundate the shop upon opening. And Liana still believed all the old stereotypes people hold regarding Civil Engineers.
We opened our shop and all kinds of weirdos came right through the door. We didn’t even have to advertise to that demo for them to cascade in. When it came to the irritating customers, I mostly kept my mouth shut.
Except for the man who camped out in the corner of the store and told my customers that the current governor’s business-friendly policies were responsible for Two Salty Dog’s success. I kept reminding him and my customers that my wife and I were the ones who did the business plan and forked over six figures of our own money to get our business off the ground. The governor didn’t contribute a cent. In fact, the governor was pretty unreasonable about getting his sales tax every month. Could he ask the governor to lower the sales tax? That’s when he left.
Later in the season, “she” came into the shop. Let’s call her “Karen” in accordance with the parlance of our times. She looked like she was in her late 60’s, but was probably in her early 50’s because of bad living and a constant, smoldering irritability just under her surface. Overall, her personality and physicality reminded me of a heavily-damaged tank.
One day, Karen was in my shop and a customer asked me what we had for long-lasting dog treats.
I launched into my spiel: “These are water buffalo horns, they’re about 80% protein and they…” and Karen came swooping silently in behind me like some stunted, overweight ninja. She interjected, “MY DOG CHOKED ON ONE OF THOSE 6 MONTHS AGO.“
“That’s why you need to watch your dog with any new treat you give them,” I said to the customer, ignoring Karen.
“These are moose antlers, they come from Rangely Maine and are harvested by a guy named Jeff and his 8yr old daughter. They have a blog, and…..”
“MY DOGS JUST BURY THOSE THINGS,” Karen cut in.
I turned to look at her. Damn it! She was having fun! It was time to unleash “The Don” to combat “The Karen” within my store.
I turned to Karen. “Your front door doesn’t work, or you don’t know how to operate it, or your dog just runs over you and runs outside? Because back in olden times, new doors used to come with instruction manuals, but these days everything is on the web. And Dog Forbid you make a mistake typing in the web address because it can take you to some pretty unsavory sites where…”
I picked up a Benebone, and didn’t skip a beat. “This is a Benebone. It’s a lot like a Nylabone. It’s actual nylon with flavor…”
“MY DOG CHIPPED HIS TOOTH ON ONE OF THOSE.“
“It sounds like you should have cats,” I offered. “Our Kitty Korner is right over there…” I said, pointing.
I continued with the customer. “These are Not Rawhides. They’re actually the cheek of the cow and they are completely digestible and don’t have the chemicals…”
“I HAD TO GIVE MY VET $2,500 TO GET RAWHIDE OUT OF MY DOG’S STOMACH.“
“This is a NOT Rawhide.”
She gave me a confused look like an artillery shell bounced off her thick armor plating.
“That’s why they named this product NOT Rawhide,” I smiled and nodded at her like she was a simple child.
“I GOT THE RAWHIDE FROM HERE,” Karen said.
“Not from me. I don’t sell rawhide. Never have.”
“I’ll take the Not Rawhide,” said the customer, obviously done with it all more than I was. She brought one up to the counter. Karen continued to stare at the bin and look for any discrepancy or downright lies I might have told her.
She ended up taking one, too.
The next day she came in and said, “MY DOGS JUST FOUGHT OVER THIS.” She put a partially-shredded Not Rawhide on the counter like it was a rotten walrus.
“You should have bought two,” I said.
“I WANT A REFUND.”
Normally in that situation, I would break out the hacksaw and cut the Not Rawhide in half. But you know what? For some reason I didn’t feel like it.
She left then. Her partially-chewed treat and black cloud of festering attitude in tow.
I didn’t see her again until several years later when she came into the shop and told me to call the police because someone’s car alarm kept going off on our corner. I don’t know why she couldn’t call the police herself, or why she thought recurring, skull-splitting car alarms were my responsibility. And frankly I didn’t care.
I told her I reported the car alarm to NORAD, but no one had called me back because we were in a full-fledged nuclear war with Trinidad.
~ Don (Not a Dog)
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ERROR MESSAGE 409-4 – Boothbay Register
WE LOVE HATE MAIL!