5// Locations

Previously, the Scientist found himself, perhaps irrationally, perturbed at work, lamenting the new reality of packaging, dreading the bulk of the correspondence which he owed, but looking forward to a certain “interaction” he felt the need to make.  Below is a transcript of that interaction. 

(Click here to see a TOC of previous chapters)

From the Culbertson’s Customer Service Chat Log, IP [REDACTED], 09:10:34 EST, January 3, 2013.

Start of transcript:

CustServ001: Thank you for contacting Culbertson’s customer service. How can I assist you?

SauceSeeker3000: Good morning!

CustServ001: Good morning. How can I be of assistance?

SauceSeeker3000: I hope it is a good morning for you! It’s a bit icy here.

CustServ001: That can happen this time of year. Hope you’re staying safe.

SauceSeeker3000: Yes, it can, and yes I am!

CustServ001: Is there something I can assist you with?

SauceSeeker3000: Oh, I sure hope so. I had some feedback I wanted to share, about a recent experience at one of your stores?

CustServ001: I’d be glad to take your comments and relay them.

SauceSeeker3000: I didn’t mean for my previous comment to be a question. I wasn’t asking you if, in fact, I had some feedback to share. Sorry about that! Or should I say “Sorry about that?” 🙂

CustServ001: No problem, I understood what you meant.

SauceSeeker3000:  Facepalm, am I right?

CustServ001: So, you said you had some feedback?

SauceSeeker3000:  Yes!

CustServ001: I’m glad to try to help.

SauceSeeker3000:  Great!

CustServ001: Whenever you’re ready. . .

SauceSeeker3000:  Oh, Right! So, I was in your [NAME REDACTED] store last week. You know the one with the mural of the shockingly-hairy goats standing around in a large green field? It takes up like the entire wall, right inside the entrance, near the cart sanitizer, gumball machines, and loitering emloyees? You know the mural I’m talking about?

CustServ001: I have never been to that store, but I know the location you are referring to.

SauceSeeker3000:  Right.  Duh, you’re probably not from around here. Sorry!

CustServ001: No problem.  Is your feedback related to the mural?

SauceSeeker3000: What? Oh, no! Unless you can pass on that I think it’s a beautiful mural!

CustServ001: Ok.

SauceSeeker3000: But a bit weird. I don’t think there are that many goats in all of Indiana. Or mountains, for that matter. And the shepherd is definitely middle eastern. Strange choice. But beautiful!

CustServ001: So, you want me to make a note that you like the mural?

SauceSeeker3000: Sure, go for it!

CustServ001: Is there anything else?

SauceSeeker3000: Yes!  The mural comment was just a freebie. On the house!

CustServ001: Very kind of you.  So, I’m ready to hear the reason you contacted us.

SauceSeeker3000: Are you sure?

CustServ001: Of course

SauceSeeker3000: I’m just messing with you.  Of course, you’re ready.

CustServ001: I am.

SauceSeeker3000: I was visiting the aforementioned store and had one item to buy. I THOUGHT it would take about 10 minutes. Tops. That includes the 2 minutes I take EVERY TRIP to catch up on my tabloid covers. Frankly, it’s how I get my news. If you’re going to go Fake News, go Fake News, am I right!?

CustServ001: Sure.

SauceSeeker3000: Sure indeed! By the way, did you see that freaky stuff with John Travolta? Appalling.  Just. . . appalling.

CustServ001: I’ll take your word for it.

SauceSeeker3000: Anywho, I was looking for pizza sauce.  I have this killer barbeque pizza recipe that my Aunt Tilly passed on to me. Before she passed on.

CustServ001: Very sorry for your loss.

SauceSeeker3000: What? Oh, no, sorry! She didn’t “pass on” pass on.  That’s a phrase we use in our family when someone has moved to Canada.

CustServ001: OK.

SauceSeeker3000: But, make no mistake, she’s dead to us. BTW, you’re nice.  Do they train you how to be nice in customer service school?

CustServ001: There is no customer service school, but I was trained.

SauceSeeker3000: Keep up the good work.  So, anywho, I was there for pizza sauce.  Naturally, I headed to the pasta sauce aisle. Because where else would pizza sauce be?

CustServ001: Makes sense.

SauceSeeker3000: Well, after scanning the shelves for about 20 minutes, I was certain there was no pizza sauce in the pasta sauce aisle.  Just jars and jars, all labeled “Pasta Sauce.”  Nary a “Pizza Sauce” to be seen. Seems like it should have been there.

CustServ001: 20 minutes is a long time.  Did you ask for help?

SauceSeeker3000: No, but in retrospect, I should have.  I have a bad history with shopping.  This one time, I went to a store (happened to be a Culbertson’s, but that’s not the point) looking for nail clippers and a packet of baker’s yeast, and only left hours later after my wife had filed a missing-persons-report and a nice off-duty police officer gave me a lift home. I don’t remember much of that time, but apparently, I was mumbling and drooling – it wasn’t pretty.

CustServ001: So, perhaps they were just out of pizza sauce, or you just overlooked it.

SauceSeeker3000: My thought exactly.

CustServ001: And?

SauceSeeker3000: About 20 minutes into my search, it was clear – no pizza sauce in the pasta sauce aisle, as previously mentioned.  So, for kicks, I began to wander the aisles (again, not smart on my part!).  And do you know what I found?

CustServ001: Pizza sauce?

SauceSeeker3000: Yes!

CustServ001: Well, there you go.

SauceSeeker3000: Guess where I found it?

CustServ001: I have no idea

SauceSeeker3000: Guess!

CustServ001: Well, I’m guessing not in the pasta sauce aisle.

SauceSeeker3000: Naturally.  No, it was located in a small section of an aisle under a sign labeled “Meal Kits.”

CustServ001: Makes sense.

SauceSeeker3000: Does it?  After 20 minutes of searching through tomato-based sauces, I finally discovered pizza sauce, a tomato-based sauce, in a separate aisle, half-the-store away? I just can’t understand the decision to place the pizza sauce in a different aisle from the pasta sauce, or at least not in an aisle clearly labeled “Pizza Sauce”.  Making homemade pizzas is popular!

CustServ001: Could be.

SauceSeeker3000: Has to be! Have you had homemade pizza?

CustServ001: Yes, I have.

SauceSeeker3000: See!

CustServ001: Ok . . . Well, I would imagine the reason is that putting the pizza sauce next to the pasta sauce might be confusing for consumers and they might grab the wrong one; when they are intending to make a pasta dish, for instance, a spaghetti dinner.

SauceSeeker3000: But aren’t pasta sauce and pizza sauce essentially the same thing?

CustServ001: Well technically…sort of.

SauceSeeker3000: What’s the difference?

CustServ001: Smaller jar?

SauceSeeker3000:  I can’t help but wonder if it’s Culbertson’s belief that it would be too confusing to the general public, with our pea-sized brains and inability to distinguish between the words “Pizza” and “Pasta,” to place pizza sauce in an aisle filled with similar red jars, and that their solution is to place it under a tiny, unrelated sign with other random foods.

CustServ001: Well if you think about it pizza sauce is part of a kit that someone would need to make the complete meal of a pizza.

SauceSeeker3000: You mean sort of like pasta sauce with pasta dishes?

CustServ001: Yes, I guess you could say that but…

SauceSeeker3000:  If I wanted to make pizza at home, do you think I would be able to find all the pieces of the kit to make a pizza in the “Meal Kit” aisle?

CustServ001: Yes, I would imagine so.

SauceSeeker3000:  I would have thought so too! But do you know what is included in the “Meal Kit” aisle which would join forces with pizza sauce, so to speak, to make a meal?

CustServ001: No idea.

SauceSeeker3000:  Guess!

CustServ001:  Really, no idea.

SauceSeeker3000:  Nothing! It’s only pizza sauce! So, the tomato-based sauce which could have been placed in the aisle full of other tomato-based sauces was instead moved to an aisle containing kits for making meals, but has the distinct disadvantage of having no other necessary ingredients with which to ally itself to constitute a kit!

CustServ001: I see your point.

SauceSeeker3000: Right?!

CustServ001: I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

SauceSeeker3000:  Thanks . . .you’re nice.

CustServ001: So, you’d like me to pass on the comment that you think the pizza sauce should be placed in the pasta sauce aisle?

SauceSeeker3000: I’m sorry, what did you say? 

CustServ001: Can’t you just read what I typed above . . . nevermind. Would you like me to pass on your comments about the pizza sauce?

SauceSeeker3000: What? No, that’s not why I’m contacting you.

CustServ001: It’s not?

SauceSeeker3000: No, I just wondered if you knew what kind of goats are in that mural. They are SHOCKINGLY hairy.

[CustServ001 has left the conversation]

SauceSeeker3000: 🙂

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