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Janis Jaquith
janis@radioessays.com
554 words

NO-GUILT ICE CREAM

Oh, I am so happy. I just went to the mailbox and now I'm holding in my eager little hand our bill from the phone company. I love it when the phone bill arrives.

When I see that friendly, coffee-colored envelope snuggled patiently among the harsh, white credit-card statements, I cannot help but smile.

Forgive me, but I'm gonna open it right now. Wait, where is it? Oh, here it is: That familiar mint-green slip of paper - it's a coupon for one free pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream.

I defy anyone to be clutching a coupon for a free pint of ice cream and NOT be smiling like an idiot.

Very clever of this phone company to push my ice-cream button every month. The company is Working Assets, and I am ridiculously loyal to them.

Just yesterday, I got a call from AT&T, trying to entice me to change my long distance company.

As if.

When I told the guy I had no interest in switching companies, he said, "Do you know what you're paying now for long-distance service?"

Now, I have no idea what I'm paying. Could be a nickel a minute, or a dollar a minute - I could care. So I said, "Uh...I don't know...but they give me ice cream, I know that!"

The guy laughed a little, and said, "No, really, do you know what your rate is? Because we will send you a check for a hundred dollars just for switching to AT&T."

"I'm serious," I said. "With every phone bill, Working Assets tucks a coupon for a pint of Ben and Jerry's ice cream in with the statement. It's great. It's like a birthday card from my grandmother - only every month. I love getting my phone bill."

Undaunted, the guy said, "Well, a hundred dollars would buy you a lot of ice cream..."

Hm. He had me there. I paused for a moment to reflect, then said, "Well, if you gave me a hundred bucks, I'd have to DECIDE whether to spend some of the money on ice cream. When I get a coupon, that particular decision has already been made for me. It's like my phone company is saying, 'Go ahead, dig in! It's already paid for.'

"If I don't redeem it for ice cream, it'd be like tossing money out with the garbage. I mean, it would be sinful NOT to redeem it for a pint of Wavy Gravy or whatever."

There was a brief silence. Then he said, "Uh...okay ma'am. Have a nice day." And he hung up.

I bet you're wondering: Do I feel foolish today, knowing that I passed up a hundred bucks for a pint of ice cream?

Hell, no.

Now, I'm glad we've had this little chat, but I have to run to the grocery store.

Oh, by the way, if AT&T wants my business, they'll have to do better. How about TWO pints of ice cream?


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