This is dedicated to Tiffany, who loves these sorts of stories.
* ring *
J.D.: Custom Box Service
Bertha: What size are your medium boxes?
J.D.: Uh, well, we manufacture custom boxes, so we don’t have anything we’d call a medium box.
Bertha: But what size is a medium box? Is it seventeen inches?
J.D.: Well, I don’t know what a medium box is. It might have a side that is seventeen inches, but a box has three dimensions.
Bertha: I know, but couldn’t a medium box be seventeen by seventeen.
J.D.: And how high?
Bertha: I don’t care. I’m putting four coats in it. UPS wants me to quote them a size, but I don’t know it. All I want to know is how big your medium boxes are.
J.D.: Well, we don’t have medium boxes. That phrase doesn’t mean anything to us. We make boxes to order.
Bertha: But they might be seventeen inches right? That would fit four coats?
J.D.: I guess it might fit four coats, it’s hard to say.
Bertha: Well, it does firt four coats. I have a medium box here, and I have four coats in it and it’s ready to ship, but UPS wants to know what size the box is. That’s why I called you. All I need to know is what size a medium box is.
…long pause — J.D. is dumbfounded…
Bertha: Don’t you have a medium box?
J.D.: No, that’s what I’m trying to say. So you’re telling me that you have a box already. You don’t need a box. You just want to know how big the box you have is?
Bertha: I know what size it is. It’s a medium box. I just need to know the inches. I think it looks about seventeen by seventeen.
…long pause — we’re both getting frustrated at this point…
J.D.: Look. I have an idea. I think I can help you.
J.D. Do you have a piece of paper near you? A piece of typing paper? A piece of notebook paper? Just a standard piece of paper that’s 8-1/2 x 11?
J.D.: Let’s use that to measure your box.
Bertha: How can we possibly do that. I don’t have a measuring stick.
J.D.: Well, we can use the paper to make a rough guess. The paper is 8-1/2 inches wide, right? If you measure two widths of the paper, that’s seventeen inches.
J.D.: Did you measure it?
Bertha: I don’t understand. All I want to know is how big a medium box is.
J.D.: Well, I’m trying…
* click *
Bertha hung up on me.