I love frogs, always have. A tall shelf supported by a large stone frog adorns my living room. One of my old email addresses is simply “Kafroggy.”

I was therefore charmed to learn about this cute little plastic aquarium, which comes with two frogs, one plant and one snail with special gravel. You feed the snails two pellets of food each, twice a week. This is a perfect little biosphere. As long as the numbers are followed.

You know I love frogs, so I bought one, from the Company that Shall Remain Nameless.

Last week, my snail died. This is not a good thing, since the snail keeps the slime off the plexiglass and gravel. So, I called and was asked for a description of the snail.

Employee: “What does it look like?”
Me: “It looks like a dead snail.”
Employee: “Are you sure it is dead?”
Me: “It is laying on its back and has not moved in hours. If I poke it, it floats around the tank. It is a dead snail. It is not a sleeping snail, it is a dead snail. (A scene from Monty Python comes to mind).

Employee: “How do you know it is dead?”
Me: “I was raised in a tropical fish store; I know a dead snail when I see one. It really is dead.”
Employee: “Okay, do you have your receipt?”
Of course I do; I put it in a safe place. Where the hell is my safe place?
Me: “I cannot find the receipt.”
Employee: “I will have to charge you for a snail then. The snail is $5 plus $8 shipping.”
Go online to credit card site, find date and number of receipt, give approximate time of purchase.
Employee: “I will call you back.”

A few minutes later, Employee calls back. He has found the receipt. He does not have to charge me for the replacement snail. He wants to charge me for shipping; the biosphere animals are guaranteed for one month. I tell him the warranty terms, and he agrees he is not going to charge me for shipping. I am told I MUST be home when the replacement snail arrives. I peer into the tank at my dead snail; it is busy sucking away on the plant.

The day for new snail delivery is Tuesday. I stay home. At 5:25 p.m. I call Company that Shall Remain Nameless. “Oh, you ordered that over the weekend; it has not been shipped yet.” Supervisor states they have been having problems with the supplier. It should be shipped today or tomorrow, maybe. I ask who delivers said snail and am told FedEx. Okay, they deliver before 11:00 a.m. I know how long to wait for Super Snail. Am told I will get a call when the snail is shipped and a new day of arrival.

Yesterday, a plain white truck drives up. It looks like it was a survivor of a suicide bombing attack. A man, also looking bedraggled, runs up to my door and puts a box between the storm and front doors. Charlie is barking his head off. Oh, great, I am the target of unknown packages being delivered by unknown assailants. I open the door. Gee, I didn’t get my phone call and that was no FedEx truck. I open the box. Inside is a packing list, a hot gel pack marked “Uline Cold Pak” and a plastic bag filled with water. The water is cloudy, it is not something that should be containing a live creature. However, there is a live creature. It is shedding its skin and is causing the water to be cloudy. Skin? Snails do not have skin; snails have shells. Snails do not shed. Packing list states:

Message 1: ****THIS IS NOT A BILL****
Item #636084 REPLACEMENT FROG 0006

Yes, I now have three frogs, one zombie snail and one plant. I place the frog into the tank. This is not a happy biosphere; the frogs do not have enough oxygen since it is a 4-by-6-inch tank. The formerly dead snail is floating around the aquarium. Its foot is flopping, its head is hanging out. The snail really is dead now. I know that; I took it out of the tank, and it is on a paper towel on the kitchen table.

I call yet again. I explain what happened (without telling her about the zombie on the kitchen table). Employee #4 says: “Oh, I see the packing list. I am so sorry. I am ordering a new snail for you. I will not charge you the $8.00 shipping fee.” She is trying not to laugh.

I am waiting. What will I get this week?

When not amusing departments of customer service, Kathleen Rawlings calls herself simply “a 62-year-old wife, mother and grandmother,  40 years married.” She lives in her lifelong hometown of Philadelphia, at least until one of her two children or her five grandchildren can build that house in her true home of Maui, Hawaii.

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  • brittney May 12, 2012 at 12:32 pm

    You had me howling with laughter.Thank you I needed that.I had to share it with my Chris.It just sounds like one of those things that would happen to us.