Wednesday, January 26, 2005

What's in a Name?

By: L.A. Kohl
Jan. 18, 2005
(Published in the Wed. edition of the Northern Boone County Bullseye, Jan. 26 '05, Vol. 1, No. 14)
I grew up with a pretty common surname – Cox. I never had to spell it for anyone and lots of people knew someone else named Cox. “Oh, are you related to so-in-so Cox?” they would ask.

When I married Nate, that all changed. Kohl was not a name you heard everyday. Nobody knew a Kohl, unless it was Helmut, the chancellor of Germany. Oh, and it’s a name you have to spell out for everyone, since everyone wants to spell it C-O-L-E. You know, like Nat King. There have been different incidents over the years in regards to the fact that we are “Kohl’s," but today’s incident was probably about the funniest.

I was unavailable when the phone rang, so my husband answered it. Here’s what he told me about the conversation after-the-fact...

“Hello, is this Kohl’s?” a woman’s voice asked on the other end of the line.
“Yes it is,” replied my husband.
“Could you tell me where you are located?” she asked.
“Near Harrisburg,” was his simple answer.
“And is that around Columbia?” she asked.
“Yes, it’s northwest of there,” was his reply.
“And how far is that from the Lake of the Ozarks?” was her next question.
Okay, by now Nate was getting a little curious about who this lady was, but he still kept on answering her nosy questions about our location.
 He continued, “Well, about an hour and a half from there, I think.”
“Okay, well, that’s closer than Springfield, isn’t it?” was her curious next question.
“Uhhmmm...I suppose it is,” was the befuddled reply.
“So then, what’s your location, as in street address?” was the next question.
That did it – now it was Nate’s turn to ask a question. “Look, who are you anyway?” was his brilliant first question.
“I’m a customer,” she quickly answered.
“So, who do you think you’re talking to?” was my husband’s next question.
“Kohl’s department store...I’m just trying to find the nearest Kohl’s to where I live,” was her response.

And that was about the end of the conversation. Nate tried to explain that yes, we were Kohl’s, but no, we were not the department store – sorry for the confusion.

That was a first...having our backwoods home momentarily mistaken for a nation-wide department store. I’m now kind of curious you think we could waive the franchise fees by virtue of already having the correct name?

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