You DON’T screw with my little friend!

This is a tale of traditions, true friendships and hardships, of tears shed, of promises made, struggles endured, defeats suffered, of personal triumph, points proven of loving, grateful smiles  and the best birthday present ever.. But first and foremost, it’s a story about mobile phone socks.. This story is gonna require a bit of a back story, so bear with me, starting with the definition of a mobile phone sock:

“What, pray tell, is a mobile phone sock?” would probably be the first reaction of the guys in the audience, and I can’t say I blame you. Because it is, inherently, a girl thing.. A mobile phone sock is, essentially, a knitted protective cover for a mobile phone taking he shape of something we’re all familiar with: A sock!

They come in a variety of shapes, colors and with or without decorations, company logos and what have you. They’re small, cute, and pointless, so needless to say, my little friend and sidekick has been a fan for years. I remember her for a long time sporting a red model not unlike one shown in the image above and while I thought that was all fine and dandy, it just wasn’t very exciting, so at some point in my life, I took it upon me to find her a better alternative. Yeah, I get crazy ideas every now and then, so bear with me.

Anyways, so I was looking for a new mobile sock for Tina and incidentally, I was also looking for a bottle of Jägermeister for us.. Err.. On account of Jäger shots being another one of those really strange yet meaningful little things that Tina and I share together. I’m not even gonna attempt to explain or justify this, it’s just something we do as part of our adventures together.. Hey, I love Jäger shots and I love cute blondes, who can blame me for wanting to combine those two things? As luck would have it, though, I ran right into a bottle of Jäger on sale which came bundled with a Jägermeister branded mobile phone sock and I was sold – or well, the bottle was.

As is my tradition, I wrapped up the phone sock beautifully, and presented it to her on a trip to Copenhagen last summer and believe you me, she was ecstatic! I know I have recently been giving Tina a lot of flak for being a spoiled little girl on here, and while she arguably is, it’s my own damn fault for loving to spoil her, and as such I guess it’s only fair I now take a time-out to mention that despite all the playful teasing going in, Tina actually is very low maintenance and very easily pleased as well as genuinely grateful for those little things being done to her – which is what makes spoiling her so appealing because given the right thought and execution, she’ll literally beam with joy and appreciation for even the smallest effort.. There, I’ve said it, there goes one of my great attacks in our constant bickering wars.

Anyways, Tina loved her phone sock, she really did. Partially because it was a phone sock, partially because it had to do with Jägermeister, and partially (I’d like to believe) because it was a gift from me with a specific meaning and importance.. Which are the main reasons, I think, why all hell was lose some six months later when, strangely enough, on another trip to Copenhagen, the phone sock was lost as she accidentally left it behind during an unexpected shift from one train to another.. I mean, really, the poor girl was devastated.. As we were making our way through the new train, her face literally contracted in horror as she cried “I forgot my sock!”, then her shoulders slowly sank and you could literally see her heart breaking to a point where tears were nearly swelling in her eyes before I couldn’t take it anymore and did the only thing I could think of which was to pull her close, hold her and stroke her hair – the only thing that usually works when she gets all teary eyed and, as such, the only reasonable thing to do at the time, as well as to assure her that “Don’t worry, baby, I’ll find you a new sock just like it, I promise!”

Luckily for Tina, I’m a man of my word and would rather face spending an eternity in hell listening to Lady Gaga’s greatest hits than ever break a promise to her.. Rather unluckily for myself, I had absolutely no idea how hard this promise would be to keep and how much hard work and trouble it would end up sending me through.. Of course, I’ve also been known to state that I would do anything for Tina, so I guess now became the time to prove it. And by now, I mean the six odd months from December 2009 through May 2010..

And so the hunt began.. The first step was, of course, to contact the Danish State Railroads, not that this did a fat load of good because naturally no one had seen a Jägermeister phone sock, let alone turned it into lost and found.. Figures.. And as such, the search continued. I looked high and low, nationally as well as internationally for another novelty bottle of Jägermeister with a phone sock bundle, I checked several different versions of the Jägermeister website and plowed through their store, I really did my best, for months on end, to no prevail, I was even starting to somehow lose hope and fear that I would have to tell my little friend that I had failed her.. Something I REALLY didn’t want to do and as such something that inspired me to look even harder. I don’t think Tina really had any idea of what I went through, I think she just kinda figured I’d done my best and then given up.. But no.. Did I ever mention I can be stubborn as fuck all? I kept looking, I kept going back and re-trying old options and I kept asking around..

Finally, after some five months of searching, I was re-trying one option in form of the international online Jägermeister store when much to my amazement, I stumbled right upon what I’d been looking for for so long: A Jägermeister branded mobile phone sock! Incidentally, this came right around the time that I was looking for a birthday present for Tina, so the timing really couldn’t have been much better, and I couldn’t have been much happier. So I proceeded to order the EUR 4.95 accessory, blatantly ignoring the EUR 16 international shipping fee and went to check out.. At which point I was met with the message that the minimum order limit had not been reached.

“Whoring goddamn son of a bitch motherfucker!” I called out into the n early vacant office space along with a few other not so minor obscenities. “Wha.. Wait.. What?” came the reply from my drowsy co-worker Torben.. “Goddamn profit seeking, capitalist bastards trying to capitalize on my friend’s misery and my own predicaments,” I ranted on for a while before settling down a little and telling Torben the entire back story up until the point of the minimum order limit trying to keep me from keeping my promise. “Well, your little lady friend deserves her sock, no doubt,” Torben reasoned, “put me down for one as well.. That way you’re closer to minimum order limit and just need to find something for yourself to justify the purpose.”

Thus, enlisting the help of colleagues and all, I finally made the minimum order limit.. By something as seemingly pointless as ordering extras for Torben and a pair of shoes for myself (Hey, who couldn’t use a pair of Jägermeister sneakers for their festival needs?). I placed my order, punched out from work and went home all happy and fulfilled like. I’d put in a good fight and a decent effort and I was finally on my way to fulfilling my promise to my best friend. Of course, as could be expected with anything I do, things weren’t going to be quite THAT simple..

Well, things went well to begin with. I got an order confirmation from Mast Jägermeister AG and was getting all excited for Tina’s birthday and the prospect of presenting her present to her.. Then, for about a week, nothing happened.. Nothing at all.. Which, frankly, confused and worried me a bit. And as such, I decided to get in touch with the nice people at Mast Jägermesiter AG who had written on my order confirmation that they’d be happy to assist me with any questions I had, so in order to brush up a little on my business correspondence skills and make sure all was going to plan, I shot them an e-mail inquiring about my order number and its status.

The reply that I got back was all but a little confusing.. They informed me in very polite terms that unfortunately parts of my order was sold out and not coming back into production – yes, you guessed it, ironically enough the sneakers I’d purchased just for the sake of meeting the minimum order limit. As such, m order had (by standard procedure??) been canceled without my being informed.. Interesting, unsettling and slightly unnerving news which served to piss me off slightly. They also informed me that the only parts of my order they could send me were the mobile phone socks which would set me back so and so plus shipping. This was good because the socks were what I wanted in the first place and no so good because I couldn’t just reorder the socks through the website without wasting a lot of extra money on more expensive shipping options as well as taking a gamble on other items in order to meet the minimum order requirements. So more emails were sent back and forth..

After personally arguing with a lady at Jägermeister’s shipping department at DHL headquarters in Germany, (I’d love to think that my years of experience arguing with Tina came in handy here) I was allowed to place my order personally and without going through the webshop. As such, I managed to order only the two items I wanted, escaping the minimum order clause, and I managed to save a fair bit on shipping, getting my originally quoted shipping rate of EUR 12 rather than the substantially larger shipping charge placed on orders below EUR 30 (or however much it was).. But more importantly, I got a formal apology as well as a sincere request for understanding and forgiveness for the trouble endured. So Tina, baby, I talked to the nice people at Mast Jägermeister AG and they say they’re very sorry and begging your forgiveness and understanding.. Hah!

And this could have been the end of my hardships, really.. Of course by this time, Tina’s birthday was several days in the past, but our official celebration was coming up on Saturday, so there was still hope for a present getting there.. Had it not been for the fact that my order eventually, finally, went through on the day before Saturday and that I was informed by my personally drafted order confirmation and notice of shipment that it would take up to ten business days for the package to arrive! I really had no choice but to inform Tina that I was very sorry, give her a little overview of exactly what had transpired without going into details about anything, and asking for her understanding.. Which I of course got in around five seconds along with a note that she was very excited to see what I had come up with.

And, once again, that could have been the end of if! But wouldn’t you know? Of course things weren’t going to be that simple.. No no, because a few days down the line from this incident the Danish Postal service apparently decided that “Hey, wouldn’t it be fun if we lost Johan’s shipment? Y’know.. Just for shit and giggles!”

Or, they didn’t as much lose it as they tried to deliver it but ended up sending it back to the post office as they didn’t find me home at the time. This, in itself, wasn’t much of a problem.. If only they would somehow have informed me of the failed delivery. Which they didn’t! So, unknowingly I had Tina’s present waiting for me at the post office, days speeding toward the set date on which it would be returned to sender.. It really could have ended up a right mess, had someone from the postal service not noticed the cock-up and informed me of the situation, leaving a note in my post box to pick up the shipment – which I eventually did on Friday, fuming ever so slightly with penned up anger and frustration.. And that’s putting it mildly!

And so, after five months of searching and a month of actively struggling to get the damned thing delivered, I was finally standing there at the post office, Tina’s present in hand, feeling a strange mix of accomplishment and relief. I, of course, informed Tina right away and she was immediately positively ecstatic, demanding that I come by within an hour for a beer and a bit of relaxation as well as a present presentation ceremony. Or, well, she didn’t so much demand as she asked nicely with cute smiles, deep blue eyes, batting eyelashes and the works thrown in which, to me is essentially about the same because I’ve an equally hard time saying no.

So, not an hour later, I showed up at Tina’s front door, package in hand, beautifully wrapped in the shipping box plus some extra clear tape and was greeted with a warm hug, a loving smile and a “can I have my present now?” .. Well, of course she could, and of course she was positively excited as she attacked the anonymous looking box with scissors and great spirit.. And, of course she was positively thrilled, moved and nearly bursting with joy as she unwrapped her new phone sock.. And that’s without even knowing the trouble I went through to get it to her.. Once I related that part as well, she was nothing but smiles and hugs.. So, again, all jokes of her being high maintenance and a spoiled brat aside, she really is very easily pleased and very happy for whatever comes her way.. Even a EUR 4,95 phone sock with a thought and story behind it can become the best birthday present ever.

With the birthday present finally having been delivered and the entire story told, we grabbed a beer from the fridge and walked out to settle in the sun on Tina’s tiny balcony. As we walked, I felt a small tug on my arm and looked down “Y’know,” Tina said, smiling up at me, “I’m glad they managed to inform you before the package was sent back, I think otherwise heads would have started rolling.” – “You’re absolutely right, sweetie,” I replied, “You DON’T screw with my little friend!”

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