Freudian Slips: Bazooka Joe

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Location: Irony, New Jersey, United States

Life takes us many places. It's a box of chocolates and a Hansel and Gretal trail of candy wrappers. I have filmed as an actor in The Happening, Invincible, The Lovely Bones, The Bounty Hunter, The Greek American, Bazookas, Limitless, TV's Its Always Sunny in Philly, Outlaw, New York, The Warrior, The Nail, Game Change, Cold Case, & commercial work includes The Philadelphia Eagles, Septa, Coors, Turbo Tax & Carnival Cruises. Freudian Slips spotlights irony in short story format.

March 02, 2006

Bazooka Joe

In this day and age, electronics products sell for a fraction of the cost, bulk, and weight of their predecessors. Electronics are so inexpensive that some products are throwaways in this consumer driven society. In the 1980’s, however, the first camcorders to hit the market were pricey contraptions the size of an infantryman’s bazooka. It cost me a whopping $1200.00 for my first camcorder. I was happy to pay for every penny. Little different than a bazooka, I cocked the camcorder on my shoulder to shoot flawless cinematography. I felt like a junior movie producer of my own home movies. A couple years of heavy use later, the camcorder broke down. I could all but hear the director of my own life yell, “Cut.”
I made a phone call to the manufacturer. I was instructed to mail the product back to a regional repair center. In a seemingly unrelated matter, we put our twin home up for sale. Weeks passed. I initiated many calls to the manufacturer about the repair of my bazooka. I was told to be patient. They were reloading it.
The house sold relatively quick. Cardboard boxes soon inundated the house. As we were towards the end of packing up to move, I noticed the camcorder had not been returned. I called but information on its status or whereabouts was not forthcoming. We finally got the word.
“We delivered it.” stated a customer service representative.
“What?” I fretted. “My wife and I both work. I hope you did not leave it on the porch.”
“Sir, our records reflect a delivery. Are you sure it didn’t arrive?”
“Strange.” answered the representative. “Our drivers are instructed not to leave packages without somebody signing for it.”
“Then where is my camcorder? Neither my wife or I signed for it at this address.”
The only thing certain was that the tracking system indicated a delivery. They checked with the deliveryman but he did not remember the package. That is equivalent to recalling the size of the eye of the needle in a haystack. Weeks passed. I was instructed to submit a damage claim. I argued mightily for a replacement camera but the shipper was responsible only for reimbursing a cash value. After a consumer rights campaign, they promised to issue me a check for $1200.00. Leaving nothing to chance, I gave them our settlment date and the forwarding address.
On the day that I received the check in the mail, I had just returned from shopping for a new riding lawnmower for our home that was almost built. Sears had a sleek Craftsman riding lawnmower. Before my walk to the mailbox, I had convinced myself that it was too expensive for our household budget to absorb the cost of the luxury mower AND all that goes with moving into a new house. Money is a great seducer. I take great pride in lawn care so the addition of the lawnmower felt like a guilty pleasure. It was like adding a Rolls Royce to a long driveway. The home movies would wait.
Literally days before our move, I received a telephone call from our realtor. Over the last couple of weeks, office staff have been tripping over a package with my name on it. Could I please come pick it up? I went to pickup what I imagined to be a manila envelope with legal papers. A secretary lugged a large box across the floor.
“Just what I need another cardboard box.” I said sarcastically for nobody’s benefit but mine.
I left their office carrying a package containing my fully repaired camcorder. I suppose that the deliveryman saw the Sold on the realty sign and with nobody answering the door he assumed that we moved. The quick thinking deliveryman stopped at the realtor office up the street and dropped shipment. Who would have guessed?
No stranger to irony even back then, one of the first things that I did was take some streaming video of my new riding lawnmower. Yep, good as new.



Blogger Maja said...


2:34 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

I have been getting emails ever since I posted this story. Many readers are asking if I returned that check. Mums the word. That wouldn't be a good ending to the story now would it?

7:10 PM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Joe, my theory would be "returned WHAT check?" :)

Good for you! Glad you got the camcorder back AND your new riding mower.

And you're right ... those old camcorders were SO cumbersome!

9:43 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

And by the time I converted all of my home movies to VHS, DVD's came out.

6:40 PM  
Blogger E said...

Awesome customer service!

11:01 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

It gave me the ride of a life.

12:29 AM  

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