You'd think the foot-in-mouth disease was mine, but it wasn't. Today, we had the carpets cleaned. About an hour before the guy was due to show up the phone rang -- it's the plumber, he's come to fix the sink -- no, wait, wrong joke; it was the carpet cleaner guy.
Before we get much beyond "hello", he starts reaming me out about how I just turned his technician away and owed him $99 for an emergency visit. I calmly explained that he must be mistaken, since no one has come to the house yet.
He doesn't listen, and continues yelling at me that "Yes, 3 guys just left there, and you owe me $99, whether or not the carpets were cleaned, since it was an emergency call". I calmly explained again that he was mistaken, since he was not due to my house until 11:00 and we have been looking out the window waiting for him.
He insistently tells me that "Yes, we were there, the lady of the house turned them away and I've got measurements of your entire house -- all 2700 square feet of carpet. And you owe me $99 bucks." I'm thinking: if you can find 2700 square feet of carpet in my house, you're a magician.
At this point Mrs. Nod who had been listening to me on the speakerphone is about ready to blow her top and give the man what-for. Now, Mrs. Nod generally does NOT blow her top at vendors and servicemen; kids, maybe, but not strangers. She doesn't mind mistakes, but she hates it if you won't listen. Yelling at the service man is usually left to me, not that I enjoy it.
However, I'm genuinely amused, because I know exactly what happened: he got his previous customer mixed up with his next call, which happened to be me. I stay cool and polite, using words like "sir" and "mistaken". It just takes all the wind out of the sails of angry people when you refuse to answer in kind.
I say, "My 2700 square foot carpet? At what address?". He tells me somewhere I've never heard of; I tell him my real address.
This guy suddenly feels like the biggest heel ever. Three apologies later -- one over the phone, one from the home office, another one in person -- he shows up for his real appointment at my house. I make him apologize to my wife, while I just look on amused.