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The Telemarketer
by Eric Suhem

There was a stir of excitement in the office as the double-doors opened and Marge walked in. “Marge is here!” said one of the telemarketers as Marge strode toward her cubicle, and the office manager looked on indignantly, as her cubicle was much larger than his office. Marge’s cubicle was lined with gold trim and filled with lavish accoutrements, Minions ran in and out of her cubicle, receiving instructions. “Get me a cup of coffee,” commanded Marge, and a junior telemarketer named Phil hurried off to the kitchen area. On his way back to Marge’s cubicle, Phil tripped on a power cord and spilled the coffee on the grey nylon carpeting. “Do I have to do everything myself?” sighed Marge as she went to the kitchen area, prepared the coffee, and then returned to her cubicle.

“Sir, may I interest you in a set of double-paned windows?” asked Marge on her gold-plated headset during a sales call. The man on the phone replied that he lived in a basement and didn’t need windows. “You need to show more gumption and stick-to-itiveness!” commanded Marge, who often took it upon herself to make a difference and whip people into shape. She just knew when the customer on the phone line was slacking. “Lift yourself out of that basement and make something happen! Initiative starts with ‘I’, think about it!” urged Marge. The customer eventually agreed to buy the windows, and it was another success for Marge.

Marge called the junior telemarketer Phil into her cubicle. “Well Phil, you failed at retrieving my morning coffee, but I have another assignment for you.”

“Yes Marge, I want to do whatever I can to further the goals of Acme Window Company.”

“That’s good to hear, Phil. Now this company has a vision, and the vision is through a window. I’ve decided to reassign you to the window-washing team, and I would like you to make detailed observations of our customers as you wash their windows, and then report it all to me.”

“Isn’t that spying, and doesn’t this have to be approved by our manager?”

“Don’t worry about him, and no, we’re simply gathering data needed for improved customer service,” said Marge. “You won’t regret this Phil, it’s going to lead to new opportunities for you here at Acme Window Company.”

Over the next few weeks, Phil washed windows and peered through the glass, viewing inhabitants engaged in various levels of corruption. Tawdry affairs, embezzlement of funds, infliction of bodily harm. Phil took note of the activities, and then reported it all to Marge. “Marge, what are you doing with all this surveillance information?” Phil asked her one day.

“Don’t worry about it Phil, it’s just customer research,” said Marge. Later that night, she was back on the phone, squeezing money out of the people Phil had observed, the blackmail financing her latest cubicle decoration plans.

Eventually, Phil put two and two together, realizing that he was being used as a pawn in Marge’s twisted blackmail schemes. He reported everything to the office manager, who immediately called the police. Within minutes, the police were in Marge’s cubicle and she was arrested. 

As Marge was taken away in handcuffs, the office manager said, “Marge, we all admire your work ethic, and we’re sorry to see you go.” He then smiled and removed the masking tape label ‘Property of Marge’ from her stapler, thinking about converting her cubicle into a kitchen area extension or a coffee nook.