Freudian Slips: Redemption

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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.

April 04, 2006


In 2005, I received an unsolicited New Jersey Energy Choice Shopping Guide pamphlet in the mail. Since I consider myself an informed consumer, I naturally began to shop for natural gas suppliers over the telephone. Nothing seemed cost effective enough to warrant changing my current supplier until I found a company that was so hungry for new customers it was offering a free Carnival five day cruise. It seemed fishy to me so I looked for the catch. They offered a competitive price per thermal unit but new customers had to sign up for a minimum of eighteen months. My wallet has always been slow on the draw so the year and a half obligation seemed as cautionary a tale as a green light turning yellow. The salesman’s sales pitch soon got off his product and settled on his promotion, the free cruise. Before long I visualized myself wearing nothing but Bermuda shorts doing a middle age man’s rendition of Leonardo DiCaprio impersonation off the front of the ship. My mind drifted. After he reeled me back in, I agreed to change gas suppliers.

A short transition period of firing the old gas supplier and hiring the new one followed. My new gas supplier mailed out my new contract along with my free cruise prize redemption letter. I immediately called the travel agent listed on the prize redemption letter. I inquired about pricing and availability. I should have realized that something was wrong when the agent bragged that I could go almost anywhere in the world. The agent seemed duly motivated in accommodating my choice of beachfront destinations. I had my sunglasses all but packed when I learned that the free prize stipulates double occupancy in small 6 point invisible ink on the back page of the redemption letter. A Buy One Get One Free cruise deal still seemed worth changing suppliers. Heck, I was toying with the idea of taking my wife on the vacation anyway. However, the price quotes were astronomical. The ballooned prices exceeded the regular price for two strangers who had just met walking into a run of the mill travel agency with no coupon and bad credit. Not counting my sunglasses, the deal seemed shady. I less than graciously told them to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine. I ripped up the prize letter, which offered no redemption, and summarily considered myself duped. It took me nearly a year to lodge a complaint to my new gas supplier about the bogus cruise giveaway. When I did, my comments weren’t complimentary.

“Enough about the cruise to nowhere.” I changed subjects. “Here is the real reason I called you. I want to find out how many more months I have with you jokers?”

He gave me a future point in time, which seemed an eternity away.

“That long? What is the penalty if I cancel now?”

“Foolishness.” he labeled.

“What did you say?” I piped. “I want your name. Did you just call me a fool?”

“Listen, I know you’re sore about the cruise thing but that business arrangement was made with an independent company. We don't have any control over their price structuring. If I can get back to talking gas supply for a moment, the terms of your contract locked you in at a ridiculously cheap fixed rate for 18 months. You must know the price of natural gas has skyrocketed. You haven’t noticed that your gas bill hasn’t gone up?”

“Maybe. Maybe not.” Cruise or no cruise, I held my ground like the fool he made me out to be.

“Sir, by signing on with us, you are paying over $1.32 LESS per thermal unit than the competition. You are saving hundreds of dollars this winter alone. Now, do you really still want to cancel us?”

It was time to look the gift horse in the eye. “I can somehow see beyond my anger now. Forget I even called.” I gassed. “You guys are great.”

Sometimes redemption is not what you think it is.



Anonymous et said...

My neighbor fell for the same type of sale's pitch, (no cruise deal) just cheaper gas bills and no "lock-in-price" She was on the budget payment schedule and had no idea (for a year)that her gas meter was spinning out of control,cha-chinging her life's savings down the gas pipe! The balance bill came in at the end of her year,$$$$$$ mucho dollars! When she complained to SJ Gas Co. they said the same thing, SJ Gas has no control over the pricing, "the independents can charge whatever"
This is a horse with no teeth, but it still can nip you in the!

9:00 AM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

This was a little bout of naivety that worked out in my favor.

4:48 PM  
Blogger Weary Hag said...

Great little story, Joe. As ever, your writing skills are superb.

I wouldn't be too disappointed about the cruise thing. As Ed always tells me "Cruises always look so inviting, until you realize they let other people get on the boat too."

12:23 PM  
Blogger Joe Tornatore said...

guess I need a yacht then.

3:03 PM  

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