I walk into Barbeque Worldto pick up a grill cover for my father-in-law, who is out of town and needs to protect his grill from the 115-degree heat. Before he left he had ordered the grill cover from Barbeque World, and asked me if I could pick it up. I said yes, of course. The previous night my mother-in-law called my wife to remind her about the grill cover, and earlier in the day he had texted me to ask if I could get the grill cover. I am aware of -- albeit a bit confused by -- how important this grill cover is to him
Jim, Barbeque World: Hey, can I help you with something?
Me: Yeah, hi. I need to pick up a grill cover for my father-in-law. He was here last week and put one on order to be picked up.
Jim: Oh. Uh, okay. What's the name?
Me: Tony ____.
Jim briefly checks a binder underneath the register, and finds nothing. He walks into a room in the back of the store, and walks back with nothing. I feel sorry for him immediately, and also for myself.
Jim: Ummm, do you know who he spoke with? We usually don't hold things like that for people. What probably happened is that what he wanted came in, because we just got a bunch of grill covers in the other day.
Me: I'm not really sure who he spoke with.
Jim: Do you know which cover he wanted?
Me: No, I thought it was here for pick up. He's out of town. Let me call him.
I call one of my father-in-law's 13 cell phones. It rings. And rings. The phone picks up. There are some random noises.
Me: Hey, Dad!
Tony: Mikey! Baby! Oh boy, we gotta get that little girl of yours over here for some dinner and...
There is some fumbling. I assume he is on the Outerbridge Crossing, with a coffee in one hand, the phone on his shoulder, a different phone in the other hand with which he is cursing at Comcast Cable, and driving with his knees.
Tony: ...and uh, stuff her full of food, and...
He trails off.
Tony: Yeah...what a, what are you doing?
Me: Hey, yeah, I'm actually at the barbeque place right now and I just -
Tony: What barbeque place are you at?
Me: Barbeque World, on 75th and Jackson.
Tony: The one on uh, 75th and uh... Jackson Avenue?
Me: Yes. The one you told me to go to.
Tony: Barbeque World?
Tony: What place are you at? On 75th?
Me: Yes. Dad, so uh, I asked for your grill cover and they don't have anything here waiting for you, and the guy said -
Tony: Let me talk to the guy.
Me: Oh. Ummm, actually, do you remember who you spoke with, because -
Tony: Put the guy on the phone.
I am valiantly attempting not to put Jim in the position of talking to my father-in-law over the phone.
Me: Well there's a couple guys here, so if you remember who you spoke with, maybe one of them -
Tony: Maybe you can uh, put the guy on the phone and I can talk to him.
I hand the phone the Jim, giving him a sheepish, "Good luck -- this one's outta my hands now" look. He looks at me confused.
Jim: Uh, hello?...yes...uh huh...Barbeque World...ummm, on 75th and Jackson...yes...Barbeque World...okay...yeah.
Jim walks to the back room on my phone. I aimlessly walk around the store, pretending to look at grills. Then I move towards the back of store to find out what's going on.
Jim: Okay, does your grill have red buttons?...Like, red buttons for igniting?...Yes, your grill...But does it have red buttons?...Okay...Yes...Barbeque World...uh huh.
In the background I whisper loudly to Jim that the grill has three black burner knobs. He nods his head at me and gives me a grateful thumbs-up.
Jim: Alright, well we only have two covers for that kind of grill, so let me ask you this...Yep...Lemme just...Uh huh...Okay, is your grill flat on top, or does it angle upwards?...Yes, the top of the grill...I mean, is it flat on top, or does it like, angle upwards?...Okay, yeah...I mean, if you put something on top of your grill, will it fall off?
In the background I whisper loudly to Jim that grill cover is flat on top. He nods.
Jim: Okay, so no...yeah...okay, I know what grill cover you need, so I'm just going to...yeah...okay...okay...okay.
Jim is desperately trying to hand me back the phone, but each time as he's about to hand it to me he brings it back to his ear and says "okay" to appease my father-in-law, who is still talking. Finally he just hands it to me and walks away briskly. My father-in-law is still talking.
Me: Da-Dad, hey.
Tony: Mike? WHAT? I wasn't finished talking to him. I don't know, I just...I wasn't finished talking to him. Mike?
Jim walks past me back towards the register holding a box that contains the grill cover.
Tony: Mike, listen -- what does the grill cover look like?
Me: I don't know, Dad. It's in a box.
Tony: Oh. Is the box flat?
Me: Uh, yeah, the box is flat.
Tony: What color is the grill cover?
Me: What color is it? I don't know. It's in a box.
Jim overhears me and whispers loudly to me that it's black.
Me: It's black, Dad. He said it was black.
Tony: It's black? Okay, good. It should be black. It's black?
I see Jim scan it and the price loads to the register.
Me: And it's $39.95.
Tony: WHAT? Noooooo. Thirty-nine ninety-five? No. Tell him he's gotta do better than that.
Me: Uh, really?
Tony: Can you see if he can do better than that?
Me: Ummm, do you want me to negotiate for the grill cover?
Tony: Let me talk to him.
I have given up. I hand the phone back to Jim. He winces.
Jim: Hello?...uh, okay...uh huh...ummm...well, I guess I could give you the "fireman's discount"...10% off?...yeah?...okay...okay.
Jim does the thing again where he tries to hand the phone back to me, but can't.
Jim: I'm just gonna..hand the phone back now...to him.
I take the phone, unsure whether or not my father-in-law just told Jeremy that he was a firefighter.
Tony: Yeah, Mike. I got the discount.
Me: I know.
Tony: It's gonna be 10%. That's okay, for now.
I am unsure whether this means that he will attempt to get additional discounts upon his return, but do not doubt it.
Tony: Okay, so uh, I hope that the grill cover fits, because if it doesn't, I'm sorry but I'm gonna need you to return it. Because, ya know, it uh, it needs to fit on the grill.
Me: No problem. I'll test it out this weekend, probably tomorrow.
Tony: It's just because, it needs to fit.
Me: Yes. I'll try it tomorrow.
Tony: Okay. Is that all?
Me: Yep, I think that's it.