Thursday, September 29

"Is Ted there?" or "Who owns Texas?"

Me:Good afternoon, [agency name], how may I help you?
Caller:Yes. Is Ted available?
Me:Ted? Hmm, we don't have anyone here by that name. Is there something I can help you with?
Caller:Maybe I have the wrong number. Is this [agency name]?
Me:Yes it is.
Caller:And you don't have a "Ted" there?
Me:You mean other than the Governor? No.
Caller:Isn't he your CEO?
Me:We don't have a CEO, we're a state agency.
Caller:So who is Ted Kulon ... Kulong ...
Me:Kulonogski? He is our governor.
Caller:Uhh ...

About that time I was sure I knew what was going on. I would like to state for the record that the folks at Dun & Bradstreet are astonishingly stupid. Mind-bogglingly so. So much so that one really has to wonder about the veracity of the reports they supposedly publish on the reliability of businesses.

So here's the scoop. A while back a federal government agency came to us wanting to use our services. Fine, we're happy to serve. But they couldn't pay us without a "DUNS" number from Dun & Bradstreet. Whatever - I guess we can do that. So one of my co-workers jumps through all the hoops and tries to apply for a DUNS number.


Many hours later, I overhear a phone conversation between my co-worker and D&B: (paraphrased for brevity - the call was painfully long and repetetive)

D&B:I need to get some information about your company. Who is your CEO?
Co-worker:We don't have a CEO, we're a government agency.
D&B:How can you not have a CEO?
Co-worker:We are a government agency. We don't have a CEO.
D&B:Well who runs your company?
Co-worker:The Legislature and the Governor, I suppose.
D&B:[clearly sounding confused] But who owns your company?
Co-worker:Nobody, we are a government agency.
D&B:But somebody has to own your company!
Co-worker:Well, I suppose you could say the taxpayers "own" our agency.
D&B:[sputtering] But who owns your company?
Co-worker:OK, let me try to explain this to you. Where are you?
D&B:Huh? Texas, why?
Co-worker:Who owns Texas?
D&B:... [silence] ...

The call went on for some time after that. I'm convinced now that they never did understand and just filled in the boxes like "CEO" with "Ted Kulongoski" even though most really did not apply. So now, several months later, our paperwork popped up because apparently we're not totally registered yet and they want to charge us for this DUNS number. She couldn't understand that, no I can't just make a $400 charge to a credit card for this little one-time fee. We don't have a "company" credit card to which we could charge it. She got stuck on, "how do you buy things?" I finally gave up and punted her to voice mail.



  1. Oh my gosh! And I thought I spoke to some clueless people at my job. Thanks for the laugh!

  2. Sweet Jebus, how do these mouth-breathers keep from drowning in the rain?

  3. This reminds me of when I got my first full-time post-college job. My mom, who's always worked corporate, asked how long until I get profit-sharing. I had been hired by a non-profit agency.

  4. dood, God owns texas. Duh.

    That's hilarious. That just defused all the stress from this last week. I'm still laughing.