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Flushing Nemo.

The following phone conversations took place last summer. Roto-Rooter has received more than ninety such calls since the release of the animated film Finding Nemo, in which a pet fish reaches the ocean after being flushed down a drain.

ROTO-ROOTER: Good morning. This is Margie. I can help you.

CUSTOMER: Um, hi, how are you?

ROTO-ROOTER: Oh fine, thank you. How are you doing?

CUSTOMER: Well, we had a little incident this morning.

ROTO-ROOTER: Oh no. What's wrong?

CUSTOMER: Well, my daughter flushed her fish down the toilet, and she's crying because I told her that it's gone and not coining back.

ROTO-ROOTER: Oh, how sad.

CUSTOMER: You can't do anything, can you?

ROTO-ROOTER: Um, no, I think it's gone.

CUSTOMER: Yeah, I know. I told my daughter I would call to check to make her feel better.

ROTO-ROOTER: Oh, I'm sorry. Why did she flush the fish down the toilet?

CUSTOMER: I think she thought she was setting him free. We went and saw Finding Nemo the other day.

ROTO-ROOTER: Oh, I haven't seen it. Is it good?

CUSTOMER: Yeah, it was fun for the kids.

ROTO-ROOTER: That's what I heard. I have been trying to take mine to go see it.

CUSTOMER: Oh, you should, they really loved it.

ROTO-ROOTER: Okay, well, is there anything else I can do for you?

CUSTOMER: No, that's it.

ROTO-ROOTER: Okay, well thank you for calling Roto-Rooter, and I am sorry about your fish.

ROTO-ROOTER: Thank you for calling Roto-Rooter. This is Ryan. I can help you.

CUSTOMER: Hi. I was wondering if there is anything you can do about a fish sent down the toilet.

ROTO-ROOTER: Um, like retrieve it for you?

CUSTOMER: Well, I don't know. Do you think it's dead?

ROTO-ROOTER: Unfortunately, yes. The flushing would have damaged it, and there isn't exactly fresh water in your drainpipes.

CUSTOMER: That's what I thought.

ROTO-ROOTER: We do have a camera that can locate it in the pipe if you'd like.

CUSTOMER: No, no, that's okay. I am sure it's gone to fish heaven.

ROTO-ROOTER: Yeah, it's in a better place now.

CUSTOMER: Okay, well thanks for your help.

ROTO-ROOTER: No problem. Thank you for calling Roto-Rooter.

ROTO-ROOTER: Thank you for calling Roto-Rooter. This is Sheri. I can help you.

CUSTOMER: Hi. My little sister put her new fish in the toilet. She only flushed it a few minutes ago. Do you think the fish is still alive? Can you get it back?

ROTO-ROOTER: Oh, I'm sorry, I think it's too late. Once it goes down, there is not much we can do.

CUSTOMER: Oh no ... [to her sister] You're gonna be in trouble. I am going to tell Mom. [Customer hangs up.]

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Title Annotation:Customer Service
Publication:Harper's Magazine
Date:Oct 1, 2003
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