Remember This? COD – Cash on Delivery

codfish 003We’d just moved to another city. Change was everywhere in my life. Mom and Dad worked full time now to pay for our new, swanky mortgage, leaving me alone with lots of time on my hands.

That’s when I got into trouble.

“Send no money! COD. Order today!”

Send no money? Get free fish? Codfish? The white meat stuffed in our fish stick dinners?

Then I realized how cod would go bad, really bad, if someone sent it in the mail. Reading the COD magazine ads closer, they weren’t for codfish but all kinds of things, and things you didn’t have to pay for. Wow, how’s that possible? Who cares – what should I get first?

I tinkered with acquiring the incredible weather balloon offered on page eighty-seven. I couldn’t take my eyes off a photo of the tiny man standing next to a huge balloon in his yard. For only $2.98, plus tax, I could get my own balloon and never have to pay a dime in charges, tax, or postage. No wonder the tiny man looked so happy.

Then again, why should I get something so cheap when I wasn’t paying for it?

One Saturday afternoon a few weeks later, I heard footsteps on our front sidewalk. The mailman was here to deliver my package, care of the kind people at COD.

When I looked through the gap in the window curtains, it wasn’t the mailman, but somebody in a dark suit holding a suitcase. Oh, no. Somebody from school. What did I do wrong? Mom and Dad are home. They can’t know he’s here.

I ran to the front door before my suited caller could knock.

“Oh. Hello. How are you? Are you Master Michael Andberg?”

“Uh, no, I’m not.”

“You’re not Master Michael Andberg of 9218 Whitney Street?”

“I think that’s my father, but he’s not home.”

“Your father?”

“Mom’s not home either.

The man looked over at the two cars parked in front of our house.

“I see. Well, I’m from Miracle-ear, and what I have here was ordered by a Master Michael Andberg at this address for cash on delivery $39.95, plus tax.”

“But it’s COD. It’s free. There’s no cost, tax either.”

“May I speak with your parents?”

I wanted to say, “My parents aren’t here. They’re at the polio clinic,” but settled on, “No one here is deaf, sir.”

“Are you sure your parents aren’t home? Because I’d be happy to answer any questions they might have about the revolutionary Miracle-ear.”

“It must be for next door. They’re old.”

“You don’t have to be old, Michael, to use a Miracle-ear and reap the benefits that improved hearing brings for people of all ages.”

“We all had our hearing tests in school this year, and Mom and Dad are still young.”

“Well, I’m sorry to have taken your time, Michael. Perhaps another day soon when your parents are home, all right? Till then, good-bye.”

What if he came and Mom and Dad answered the door first? What if the police came, too, not to mention guys from the magazine? What would I say? “It wasn’t my fault. COD is false advertising. I thought COD meant free fish, free fish for our whole family to eat.”

It was time to cool it for a while, try and be a normal kid for a change.

Change, change, change. I’d need a miracle to get through it.

miracle-ear 002




Filed under Blog, Remember This?

5 responses to “Remember This? COD – Cash on Delivery

  1. jayni wilson-sickler

    How funny . . . I remember so well those back-of-the-magazine COD products that tempted me in my youth! I actually bought a few quirky gadgets, and, somehow managed to pay for them!! (And hide them from my parents.)

  2. Thanks, Jayni … COD: kind of a precursor to credit cards – order now, pay later (one way of the other you’re gonna owe somebody)

  3. Debra Marrs

    It must have been a coming-of-age thingy of our era, right? Because like you and jayni, I was swooned (and swindled) by those back of magazine ads too. I purchased a lifetime subscription to a stamp collecting fiasco that my dad had to get me out of. But not before, he “made” me keep the subscription to learn about collecting stamps for a few years. A big lesson for me because I hated it. Here’s a thought: imagine what kinds of things kids of the current generation find to buy with a simple click on the internet. Scary, huh?

  4. Alex V.

    This is a great story, but sorry, you got a freaking hearing aid instead of a weather balloon??!? Why didn’t you at least get a time machine or something?

    • Alex – only the mind of a twelve-year-old could explain the choice of ordering a Miracle-Ear over a weather balloon. Go figure. Perhaps I was afraid the balloon would be so big Mom and Dad would find out? I thought maybe I was going to go deaf? The thrill a Miracle-Ear was ten times as expensive – and risky? Or the outlook NEITHER would be sent and that COD was too good to be true!
      Thanks for responding. Did you ever think of secretly ordering a COD item?

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