Daniel Menaker

Al Capone at Laytner’s Linens (A Holiday Break from Malignancies)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

ME: Here’s the receipt, and here are the lights. When you plug them in half go on and the other half don’t.
CLERK: OK, everything is in order. Now all I need is your credit card to make sure to I put the refund on it, and then your name, address, and phone number.
ME: Here’s the card. Why do you need that other information?
CLERK: Store policy.
ME: But that makes no sense–the defective lights are here, the credit card is the right one, I can show you picture ID, and I have the receipt.
CLERK: Store policy. I’m sorry.
ME: Um, OK, well, I don’t think so.
CLERK: Your name?
ME: Um …, let’s see. OK–Al Capone
CLERK (smiling): OK, Mr. Capone. May I call you Al? You can call me Betty.
ME: No, Betty. I like ‘Mr. Capone.’
CLERK: Laughing. OK, Mr. Capone–address?
ME:  One-forty-five Fake Street, District Nine, Kamchatka Island..
CLERK: Oh, my goodness, Mr Capone. That’s a bad neighborhood.
ME: Because I live there.
CLERK: Phone number. Just go ahead and make it up again.
ME: 845 seventy-twelve times pi.
CLERK:  You’re too much.
ME: Has anyone else had trouble with these lights?
CLERK: (whispers) Only about two out of every three customers who buy them.
Uh-oh–here comes the manager.  He has to approve.  I have a return for credit here, Mr. Chen.
MR. CHEN: How much?
CLERK: $12.99.
MR. CHEN: Let me see receipt…. All in order. Sorry lights don’t work, Mr. … [glances at computer screen] Kaypone.
ME: It’s ‘Ka-pone.’

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