Feeling extremely guilty that as a youngster, I had bilked America’s favorite mail-order music club out of some 300,000 free records, I decided recently to enroll anew. I vowed that this time, I would fulfill each and every membership requirement to the letter.
It’s my way of giving back to a club that has been so good to me. I can’t begin to count how many times I’ve swindled these saps, but it’s just not my fault. Eleven CDs for one cent? Gee, it seems a little steep, but what the hell, I guess I’ll gamble.
My record club pioneered the music mail-order business, and in the process, created the American dream for teenagers—shoplifting by mail.
I’m no financial genius, but if I were a club executive, I’d have to think twice about sending Metallica CDs to a kid in Montana claiming to be named Tommy the White Ranger. At the very least, I’d suspect he probably doesn’t own his own home.
When it finally dawns on them they’ve been had, my club’s take-no-prisoners credit department is unleashed on the offender. What follows is a gentle yet firm reminder of his or her outstanding bill: “Dear Power Ranger: We know you want to protect our good credit rating.”
Credit rating? The kid’s 12, he’s banging his noggin against the wall, and he isn’t overly concerned his local banker is going to turn him down for a new car loan.
Personally, I feel the company should rename itself the Interstate Mail Fraud Club. By the time I’d turned 17, I’d already been a member at least 60 times.
The highlight was when I joined under the name Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Not only did I get a charming letter welcoming me to the club, but also I was informed I would get four free bonus selections for each acquaintance I could convince to join as well.
It was a tough sell, but I somehow managed to sign up my close friend, Edgar Allan Poe. Ed in turn convinced his pal, Herman Melville, to enter the elite club. And it wasn’t long before Herm sweet-talked James Fenimore Cooper and John Greenleaf Whittier into climbing on board, too.
Within a month, every major literary figure of the 19th Century was a member, and I had enough inventory to challenge Target’s record department.
These youthful scams gnawed at my soul like a bulimic beaver, and I decided to walk the straight and narrow. With this in mind, I filled out the club’s membership application boldly and legibly, dropping the card proudly into the mail, and eagerly awaited my shipment of CDs.
Naturally, it came addressed to Julie Daffodil.
I’m sorry, these people were morons then, and they’re morons now. Am I supposed to legally change my name to Daffodil now so I can pay my bill? Apparently, completely paranoid, and assuming that anyone who orders CDs is using an alias, the club has created a new department that randomly assigns names.
“Oh, Don, we have a application for a Julie Dafydd here.”
“Don’t make me laugh. I’ll bet it’s really Julie Daddif. How many Daddifs do we have on our books?”
“More than 300.”
“OK, make it Daffodil then.”
They’re going to pay now, because through their total incompetence, they have snuffed out any chance I had for rehabilitating myself. Sure, I could inform them of my real name, but that will only confuse their computer, and further complicate the situation.
Instead, I’ll drop them a cordial note informing them my shipment of CDs never arrived. I guarantee you I’ll get another set pronto. Sending free CDs is the only thing these knuckleheads understand.
Soon afterward, the cycle of madness will begin again. They’ll be begging to give me free CDs for recruiting new members. This time, I think I’ll enroll individuals from the PLO.
“Oh, Don, we’ve got an application for Habib Nabibi here.”
“Who recommended him?”
“Has Daffodil paid her bill yet?”
“Not a dime.”
“All right, I may have made a mistake on Daffodil’s name. Let’s change her billing to Judy Daffodil. What was her friend’s name—Habib Nabibi? Let’s go with Bobo Noodle, and hope for the best.”
The poor saps have yet to see a single payment for my collection of Celine Dions.
Well, they’ll just have to consider the source. After all, I am Judy Daffodil.
Bye for now.