Recalling Product Safety
| I've Got Gas
"Hello, I'm trying to talk to someone in the Vehicle Safety Department. It's a matter of life and death. Okay, I'll hold."
Beach Boy tunes filtered through my ears, taking me back to simpler days. In the sixties, you could dial a number and be instantly connected to an actual person. I would then be heard with my complaint addressed. The scenario today, failed to fit that profile. I had been transferred to seven different departments while being assaulted by commercialized easy-listening melodies. The music was interrupted every one minute I waited to inform me of my place in the queue. Even the Beach boys were causing my nerves to jumble.
"This is Jessica. How may I direct your call today?"
"Please, don't direct me anywhere else! I need to speak to someone about a product recall. It is imperative that we get this fixed immediately."
"That would be the Department of Product Safety. Please hold, while I connect you. "
"Wait, I know. I've already talked to them. They told me it was the recall department I needed to speak to but ...."
."Please hold, while I connect your call to the Department of Recalls."
With the click of an index finger, the music started again. My urge to slam down the receiver was overwhelming. I remained on the line in the desperation of being a good citizen. My vehicle had a dangerous malfunction and I felt the need to report it. I felt it was my duty to save others from the same experience that I had suffered. So, I waited in an endless loop of red tape.
"This is Lawrence. How may I help you?"
"Don't say anything! Don't hang up!. Don't transfer me anywhere! Don't sing to me! Just listen! Got it, Lawrence?"
"Yes, Maam. Is there a problem?"
"Yes, yes there is. I have been jerked around for the last hour. I just want to talk to the person in charge of a vehicle's safety. I have a serious life-threatening emergency with my vehicle. I need to report the problem. Are you hearing me, Lawrence? It is a dangerous malfunction with my automobile."
"What part of the vehicle is malfunctioning?"
"I don't know what's causing it, I'm not a mechanic. I just know that it will kill more people if you don't fix it."
"Kill people? Have there already been people killed? Was this a reported incident? Does this involve a certain vehicle type?"
"Lawrence that is what I'm trying to do. Yes, I have a nineteen ninety-six Buick Skylark My neighbor has been struck and killed because of this malfunction. Now, I don't like the man very much. He is quite the busybody. Or should I say was?"
"When did this happen? What malfunctioned?"
"Let me check my watch. Almost two hours ago now, the incident happened. His name is Fred Smothers'. He always gives me shit about not mowing the grass often enough. It is very disconcerting the way he watches people. That doesn't mean I shouldn't do the right thing. I can't just leave him laying in my driveway with the flies nibbling on him. Flies like pancakes, don't they? Sorry, that was just a joke to calm my nerves."
"Did you call the police?"
"Well of course I did, Lawrence, but they put me on hold as well. I figured it was much better to go to the source of the problem. The police are not responsible for the bloody body in my driveway. That vehicle that I was sold is the culprit. I suppose now I'll have to have it repainted also. I'm very disappointed with the operation of this vehicle. Now could you tell me exactly who I report this to?"
"I understand that Mr. Smothers is not a nice man but we should probably take care of the matter. Your company will not have to pay much. He doesn't have any family that would miss him. So you could dispatch someone to pick up his corpse for testing. The vehicle needs to be recalled. It all has to do with that gas pedal thingy."
"Yes, when I tied that chord around the pedal, the car just took off. The engine roared and took off towards poor Mr. Smothers. He was standing in my driveway giving me a lecture about the importance of trimming my hedge. I did put the car in gear but still, it shouldn't have hit the man. I did not steer the car at the man. It just landed on him The good news is that it clipped my hedges when it traveled backward. He would be very happy at how well my bushes look now. What department would I need to talk to have his body picked up? I don't think we should wait too long, Maggots might start munching on him soon. This car is very dangerous, Lawrence."
"Huh? I will just connect you to our service department. Hold, please."
"Thank you, Lawrence."
The music on the phone resumed. "Ba ba ba ba Barbara Ann," I sang while I waited. I do love me some Beach Boys!
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