Monday, March 5, 2012

Blood and Caulk

You know how some companies put a 1-800 number on products, so that you can call with questions?  Well, sometimes the operators are fantastic (yeh, Butterball hotline!), but sometimes they're just not prepared for, well, customers like me.

Because my lovely, adorable, brilliant and amazing niece is coming to visit, I decided that I needed to recaulk the bathtub.  Because that's the kind of dedicated and wonderful aunt I am, of course.  Unfortunately, uncaulking is quite difficult, and somewhere along with shattering two pairs of scissors and a putty knife, I must have given myself a shallow cut, the kind that bleeds a lot, but doesn't really hurt.  I only noticed that I was injured when I was finishing the caulking and saw the pink streaks in the white caulk.

Now this was super-amazing, one-hour drying caulk, so I was immediately concerned.  Not that I might give myself some kind of blood infection, but that I might have ruined the caulk.  So I found the 1-800 number on the caulk container and dialed.   After wending my way through the automated computer (by hitting zero again and again) I reached an operator, and the following conversation ensued:

Operator:  "You've reached the [company that makes bathroom caulk] customer service center.  How may I help you?"

Me:  "I'm recaulking my bathtub, and I just realized that I've accidentally mixed a certain amount of blood with the caulk.  Will that affect the seal?"

Operator:  "You mixed what with the caulk?"

Me:  "Blood." [pause]  "My blood.  I didn't kill anyone and try to caulk him to the tub or anything."

Operator:  "You mixed your blood with the caulk?  Your blood?"

Me:  "Yes, but it was an accident.  I'm not someone who does strange rituals with blood and plumbing products, ha-ha!"

Operator:  "Ha-ha?"

Me:  "And it's not in all of the caulk, only the part against the lefthand wall.  Do I need to redo that part, or will the seal hold?"

Operator:  "Could you hold on for just a minute?"

Me:  "Probably.  I'm not really bleeding all that much now."

[Really terrible muzak.]

Operator:  "Are you still there, Ma'am?"

Me:  "Yes, I haven't fainted from blood loss or anything!"

Operator: "Are you bleeding now?  Should I connect you to 9-1-1?"

Me:  "Oh, no!  I'm just being a bit of a smartass!  Spring is the mischief in me, you know.  Warmer weather, more sunlight.  No, no blood now.  Except in the caulk, of course."

Operator:  "Could you tell me which kind of caulk you're using?"

Me: "Sure, it's [name on the somewhat blood-smudged caulk label]."

Operator:  "Just wait one more minute, Ma'am."

[More awful muzak]

Operator:  "Sorry to keep you waiting, Ma'am.  My supervisor says that we have no actual information about the effect of mixing blood with the caulk.  However, if you give me a contact number, we would be happy to get back to you during business hours tomorrow after consulting with our research department."

Me:  "Wow, really?  Okay, my number is XXX-XXX-XXXX.  This is pretty exciting, stumping the customer service department."

Operator:  "Yes.  Exciting.  You're sure you don't need medical attention, Ma'am?"

Me:  "No, no.  But I'll be looking forward to the answer to my  question."

Operator:  "You have a nice evening, Ma'am, and try not to bleed anymore tonight."


Note:  the company actually called me back!  And it turns out that blood has no effect on the seal of the caulk in the "limited amount likely from a shallow cut that is not bleeding profusely."  However, "a slight color change in white caulk is likely to be permanent."  The company is not taking responsibility for this change, as "caulking with an open wound is not a recommended procedure."

So if, the next time that you buy caulk, there is some warning on the label about not caulking with an open wound, you know who's to blame.


  1. I fraking love this blog! Highlight of my day when you post :)

    ~Stacey L.

  2. Uh, Stacey? You need more excitement in your life if this is the best part of your day. Just FYI.

    Maybe you should try caulking something.

  3. Yep. This is the Natalie we know and love...the one who texts me at 3 am because of the latest crazy adventure (not always involving self-harm).