August 18, 2010

News & Opinion: This Is Mr. Elliot Speaking

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 7:15 PM – Filed under: The Company

One of our very best customers is not actually a customer at all. His name is Mr. Elliot and, judging from his voice, he is an older gentleman. Mr. Elliot has been leaving a message in our voicemail system every day for 15 to 20 years. Yes, that's years. Roy has transcribed one of the messages he received.
Hello... hello this is Mr. Elliott speaking. Here is what I’m looking for then: Coyote Waits… The Dark Wind. Stories by Tony Hillerman. Might these items be available? Please return my call when you can. Good Bye.
He always asks "Might these be available?" He's very kind, and it's all very proper and gentlemanly. The problem is, Mr. Elliot has never once—in two decades of leaving us a message every day—left a phone number for us to return his call, or given us an address to mail his books to. He has never even given us his first name. And, after all these years of placing orders, he's never—not once—actually bought a book from us.
But he goes on "ordering" books every day, sometimes two or three times a day. Until the last two days, that is. We're legitimately worried that Mr. Elliot hasn't called. We've never placed a physical order for him, never actually done any business with him, but he is a part of this company. We talk about him at meetings and, whenever we hire someone new, we forward them a few of his messages. Like going to dinner at Conejito's, it's an initiation rite at our company.

We have a lot of questions, though. The obvious one is "Who is Mr. Elliot." Does "Mr. Elliot" really exist, or is it a friend of the company carrying out one of the greatest ongoing pranks in customer service history? If he really does exist, is he just bats in the belfry crazy? Simply bored? An overzealous dadaist? Where is he calling from, and why does he call every day. More importantly, why has he not called the last two days? This is Dylan speaking, and here is what I’m looking for then: information about Mr. Elliot. Might this information be available? We're all very worried about him. Please let us know when you can.