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No good deed

01/14/2014 @ 10:54am

You’ve heard the phrase, “No good deed goes unpunished.”

Well, I haven’t exactly been punished this week, but I’ve certainly been frustrated, and all from trying to do a good deed.

Here’s the deal.  I wrote an article for a magazine’s spring issue.  It was kind of a challenge, because I haven’t been feeling all that “spring-ish” lately, what with the temperature at 392 degrees below zero.  Anyway, I finally wrote about when I was young, long before the wonders of the Internet, how the first harbingers of spring were the seed catalogs, and I singled out one particular catalog.  After I sent it off, my editor responded, wondering if a photo of the seed catalog’s cover would be a good idea.  I sent an email off to the seed company, telling them of their good fortune - the chance to get some free advertising in a national magazine - all for only the cost of a seed catalog they’d be sending me anyway.

That was a little over three weeks ago.  About one week ago, I heard from my editor again, wondering if I’d seen the catalog.  I hadn’t.

Keep in mind, this was not my problem.  My assignment was done; I was just trying to do these seed folks a favor.  I sent an email to the address they gave for contacting them with problems.  A guy called me later that day and when I explained the issue, he said he would hand address a catalog and mail it.  He asked what address I wanted used.  Since I was sitting in the dentist’s chair at the time, with a hygienist and dentist staring at me, I told him to look up the address himself.  It’s a national magazine with a big office building, website, radio program, and Facebook page, so I was pretty sure he could find a mailing address.

A week later I heard again from my editor.  No catalog.

I called the company because I’m not a quitter.  A guy named Aaron answered.  At least I think he said his name was Aaron, but he was speaking Hindi, so I wasn’t completely sure.

Now, I have nothing against catalog companies putting their call centers in other countries.  I don’t know much about the trials and tribulations of big business, and I certainly have nothing against people in other countries having jobs.  And since I barely speak one language, I shouldn’t mock someone who speaks at least two. Nevertheless, Aaron did not have a complete grasp of my request.

“I’ll send you a catalog,” he said.

“I don’t want a catalog.” I said.  “The magazine I write for wants a catalog, to take a picture of the cover.  It won’t cost your company anything, and it’ll be a good thing.”

“The new catalog came out just five days ago.”

“I don’t care if it’s the new catalog.   I don’t care if it’s last year’s catalog.  I don’t care if you send me any catalog of anytime in the past 100 years.  I just want something that someone can take a picture of!”  

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