Lowell House Roebuck
Cabbages & Kings
If there is anything really worth deploring these days it is certainly the disappearance of Bert Scursey. The telephonic waggery of this inspired prankster, immortalized by Thurber, once drove an innocent Mr. Connor both to of New York and his senses. But now outdoing Scursey, a group of sophomores are capitalizing on a curious accident that has made their room phone number the dial image of Sears Roebuck's.
This coincidence keeps the phone pretty busy with imperious voices demanding different Sears departments. So busy, in fact, that the occupants had just about taken to answering with, "This is not Sears Roebuck, you have the wrong number." Happily, however, they decided on a different tack and in official voices began to greet callers with "Sears Roebuck, good morning." Above the phone they pasted a list of different Sears departments through which to shuttle the unsuspecting caller.
The biggest catch so far has been a lady buyer who called one day, long distance from Providence. "Give me Frank Forrest in the shipping department," she demanded briskly.
"Hardware department, Mr. Morrison speaking," came back the equally crisp reply.
Unshaken in her purpose, and as yet sound of mind, the buyer once more demanded Frank Forrest and shipping.
"Just a minute, madam," came the apologetic response, "I'll connect you immediately with Mr. Rhinchart of baby supplies."
And thus with a deft courtesy and in a manner almost inconceivably frustrating to the highly ordered world of any lady buyer, she was led for fifteen minutes from paint supplies (Mr. Abercrombie) to the farm store ("that completely kills them") to ladies' lingerie ("They begin to catch on here, our falsetto is not so good.") The tour winds up in the automotive department (Mr. Chrysler speaking) and with the buyer, incoherent with rage attempting to get the operator.
Exam period is a tiresome ordeal but their Sears tour has done small wonders for the room's occupants. They are thinking now of taking the store's orders. It seemed, after all, a shame to disappoint the eager man who called up one day and barked: "Cut the nonsense and give me the automobile department quick. I want to order. . . "
"Just a minute, sir, and I'll connect you. . . " interrupted a suave and delighted voice, its owner aware that the field is yet barely explored and its possibilities endless.