The latest work woes from fictional rep George Blaumquist.
George Blaumquist leaned back from his desk to cast a wary eye on the wall clock. It was 10:55 a.m., Monday. In five minutes, Hal Turner, George's biggest client, was due to walk through the door to sign papers for a seven-figure managed account that George had spent the past six months selling.
Six minutes later "Sorry I'm late, George. Traffic's bad all the way to your office. Could've walked here on the tops of cars faster."
"Oh well, you're here now! How 'bout some coffee while I get the papers together?"
"Thanks, but I've got a plane to catch. I'm afraid I've gotta sign and run."
"What time does your flight depart, Hal?"
"At 12:30. I should be there an hour early. Considering the 20 minutes to the airport from here, that allows me about 10 minutes with you. OK?"
"Sure, no sweat! We'll have you outta here in no time! Here, let's start with these. Sign right where it says Hal Turner."
Eight minutes later "OK, Hal! That's it! You're done in record time! Go catch your plane, and give me a call when you get back."
"Thanks, George, for expediting the process. If the management of this account goes as well as the opening, I'll be very happy."
"Thanks, Hal. I'm confident it will. Have a good flight!"
Three minutes later - Blaumquist answers the phone "Hello, this is George Blaumquist."
"Mr. Blaumquist, this is Debbie."
"Hi, Debbie, glad you called. I've got the papers for Hal Turner's ... "
"Mr. Turner is here in the lobby and seems to be very agitated."
"Agitated? How can that be? I just left him ... "
"I think it has something to do with the fact that the elevator down doesn't seem to be working."
"OK, so show him the stairs, Debbie. He's in a big hurry!"
Five minutes later - Blaumquist answers another call "Hello, this is ... "
"Mr. Blaumquist, it's Debbie again."
"Did you acquaint Mr. Turner with our stairs?"
"Yes, sir, but he's back up here again!"
"What's the problem?"
"I guess he can't move his car from his parking space."
"Is his battery dead?"
"No. There's a laundry truck parked right behind him!"
"I can't believe it! Who'd park right behind another car when you don't know when the other party is going out?"
"It's ABC Laundry, Mr. Blaumquist. You know, the outfit that does your shirts."
"Sure, and they do a great job! Where's the driver now?"
"We think he's in the elevator, stuck between floors."
"Are you sure?"
"This is a two-story building, Mr. Blaumquist. If the elevator is not on the first floor or the second, the list of other possibilities is pretty short."
"This is really insane!"
"And guess what?"
"This is being televised?"
"The laundry guy called earlier to say he had one special order here today. You need some shirts for a wedding this weekend?"
"Debbie, are you telling me that he's got my shirts?"
"Light starch, on a hanger, Mr. Blaumquist!"
"This is totally insane! My biggest client comes in to sign for a major piece of business, and he misses his plane because of my laundry!"
"Mr. Blaumquist, it's just one of those things that happen now and then. It's really nobody's fault."
"I'll explain that to Hal Turner as his missed flight passes overhead. I'm sure he'll be ecstatic that I got my shirts!"
"You don't have them yet, Mr. Blaumquist."
"You're right, Debbie. Get branch admin on the horn, quickly!"
Two minutes later "Good morning, this is George Blaumquist."
"George, this is Beatrice Taylor. I know all about the elevator fiasco and your client. All I can tell you is that we're handling it."
"So what does that mean, Bea? Are we talking this millennium? When will the magic doors open to let the laundry guy out so he and my client can get on with their lives?"
"I don't have a precise answer for you. We've contacted the elevator company, the police and the fire department. What more can I do?"
"Help me push the laundry truck?"
"It's too big, George. Some guys have already tried."
"How 'bout having the laundry guy squeeze his truck keys through some kind of opening or something."
"The doors won't open, George, and remind me not to recommend you for elevator repair school if the opportunity ever presents itself."
"Oh wow! I will never demand a clean, starched shirt for a wedding again."
"Why don't you call a cab for your client, George. He might still make that flight."
"Good idea, bye."
Two minutes later - in the lobby "Hal, my deepest apologies for this situation, but I've got a taxi coming in just a few minutes and you'll be on your way."
"Thanks, George, but I don't have several minutes! I need to leave now, what with traffic!"
"OK, Hal. Looks like I'm up!
I'll drive you! But hold on one moment. Debbie, do you have any gas in your car?"
Two hours later - in Blaumquist's office "Here are your keys, Debbie. And thanks for your wheels. We almost didn't make Turner's flight."
"You're welcome, Mr. Blaumquist. Glad I could help."
"So I see the elevator is working again."
"Yes, sir. Right after you left, the police showed up, went into the elevator room, hit some button and the elevator started up."
"Did anyone think to memorize what button to push? There might be a next time."
"Maybe we should just have your clients use the stairs."
"I'll bet the laundry guy does on his next delivery!"
"I dunno. He left your shirts in your office, but mentioned there would be a hazardous duty component to your monthly bill."
"Maybe we oughta move to the first floor. It might be cheaper. Did I have any calls while I was away?"
"Just your wife. She said she made a mistake on the date of that wedding you were supposed to attend this weekend."
"Yeah, it was last weekend. You apparently missed it."
"Maybe I'll go with heavy starch and folded next time, Debbie."