I used to always have my wall-to-wall carpets cleaned by a dude in a bright yellow van. Back during the dinosaur days, the company ran a TV commercial with a clever jingle I never forgot. A big, burly dude with a mop of unruly hair and a bushy mustache was the voice for the ad. It went something like, “If the van ain’t yella, ya got the wrong fella.” Geez, was that little ditty prophetic.

Several years ago, when we ditched a majority of our carpeting for lots and lots of tile, there wasn’t a huge need for the van’s services. Imagine my surprise when I tried to ringy-dingy their number last week and no one picked up. Hmmm. Perhaps the big yella van retired? Mr. Google came to my rescue with a few local carpet-cleaning solutions. I did my eeny-meeny-miney-moe thing and picked one. The lady setting up the appointment seemed to know what she was talkin’ about. I mean … she quoted a reasonable estimate for my one little room with minor issues. What could go wrong?

A few days later a young man wearing a black T-shirt with a heavy gold chain rang my doorbell. Upon entering over the threshold, I knew this was no ordinary carpet dude. I quickly attempted to tune my ear to place his accent. I finally decided it was something between Cajun and somewhere in the Ukraine area of the world. He was talkin’ a mean streak, but it wasn’t anything I could understand, except for a few words like “high-traffic area” and “deodorizer.” Every word in between was mangled. Strange fella. I believe it was Oprah who said to always listen to your inner voice when presented with a sticky situation. I shook it off. Perhaps this guy’s gift was cleaning carpets. I mean … everyone has a gift, right?

I led him to the small back bedroom where the dude’s ramblings became more animated. It was then I knew for certain we were not communicating from the same galaxy. Looking back, perhaps that was his point. However, I clearly did understand the price … 100 bucks OVER what I was quoted on the phone. The exchange quickly went plaid. Yep … like it stated in the commercial … I got the wrong fella.

I slowly began to retrace my steps, moving closer toward the front door and praying three Hail Marys and one Our Father that the guy would continue to follow. Then I firmly told the dude, with words and gestures, that he would be leaving. No carpets would be cleaned today. Unfortunately, he was not swallowing my bait, moving way too slowly and shrugging his shoulders. Clearly, he understood I was trying to get him to leave. But he refused to, as Daffy Duck would say, “exit stage left.”

Thank goodness the hubster was working from the house and came out of his office to see what all the commotion was about. I feel certain Rick hadn’t heard me talk that loud for a couple of decades. Not since the old days when the kids were little. Getting Ricky to exit his cozy bed on a school day was a bit of a challenge.

After the hubster took over, I thankfully retreated, wiping the pouring sweat from my brow with a large bath towel. The two dudes duked it out with escalating words and gestures. Rick followed him out to his car. That is when we noticed what “carpet-cleaning dude” was driving. Really? Carpet cleaning out of a clown car? It took several more minutes of shrugging and clearly pretending not to understand for the guy to back his miniature scooter out of our driveway.

So I’ve learned two things. Scammers are no longer limited to robo calling your cell phone. And I sure do miss that bright yella van. Any recommendations on professional, reputable carpet cleaners would be so very appreciated!

Dixie Frantz
Author: Dixie FrantzWebsite: http://www.lifesloosethreads.comEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Columnist
I am a long-time Houstonian in love with writing, blogging, travel, quilting and reading. I have written “You Gotta Laugh,” a humorous newspaper column, for the past 21 years. The columns showcase the funny, amusing and sometimes touching slices of life from the suburbs. My writing credentials include more than 430 humorous columns, features and travel stories for The Tribune Newspaper.

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