Hello, Carl? Yes, I’d like to buy a duck
Aspen accountant Carl Linnecke knew something was wrong recently when someone called him to buy a duck.
It didn’t take him long to discover his telephone number was erroneously listed as a contact in a summer brochure being mailed to thousands of tourists interested in Aspen.
Linnecke’s 925-1040 number was mistakenly printed in the brochure’s calendar of events. People were directed to call him for more information about Fourth of July activities and the Ducky Derby. The Aspen Chamber Resort Association meant to print its own number, 925-1940.
“It’s likely when you’re printing something of this magnitude, a mistake is going to happen,” said ACRA Public Relations Manager Patti Hecht.
The summer brochures are ACRA’s main summer marketing material. They have 32 pages of information about Aspen along with 10 pages about tourist accommodations.
Numerous numbers are listed throughout the piece. Linnecke’s number was one of several listed. Nevertheless, the number has been given good exposure.
Hecht said about 11,000 of the brochures were mailed out with Linnecke’s telephone number. Fortunately, the mistake was caught before all 65,000 were spread across the United States.
Linnecke said he learned of the mistake when somebody from out of town called him to buy a duck for the fund-raising Ducky Derby. He said his initial response was, “Oh shit!”
He was aware that a wrong number had been printed on Ducky Derby material in a prior year. “It’s kind of a dog-and-pony show over there,” he said of ACRA.
Linnecke’s number is being blotted out of the remaining 54,000 brochures and the correct number is being written in by ACRA staffers, Hecht said. People who have been sentenced to perform useful community service through a program at the jail have been enlisted to help.
“I’ve got to tell you, they were excited about our project,” said Hecht.
She’s not worried about the helpers scrawling in dirty messages like “Visit Vail” because they would just get stiffer sentences.
The PR manager said she felt bad about the mistake in the brochure because she had personally checked scores of telephone Hecht said she wouldn’t blame Linnecke for being upset.
“These are two big events,” she said of July Fourth and Ducky Derby. “I think we’re rectifying it the best we can.”
The ACRA will pay for a router to be installed at Linnecke’s office. When a call comes in, voice mail will say press one number for Linnecke’s office; press another for information on Fourth of July activities and Ducky Derby.
If Linnecke’s office needs another line or some type of work by U S West to make the system work, the ACRA will pay, said Hecht. The ACRA is also paying for postcards to be mailed to Linnecke’s customers to explain what to expect if they call.
The chamber isn’t considering any other compensation for the accountant’s inconvenience, Hecht said.
Linnecke said perhaps they should. He hopes to negotiate that issue with chamber officials.
“I don’t really think that them paying for the router is enough,” he said. There will definitely be an effect on his business from the calls – a slight inconvenience at the least, he said. But, Linnecke also joked that a multimillion-dollar lawsuit can probably be avoided.
ACRA board of directors chairman Don Sheeley called him to apologize for the mistake and offered to make Linnecke and his wife the grand marshals of the July Fourth parade.
“That’s punishment,” cracked Linnecke. Unless, of course, they allowed him to have the only supply of water balloons and soaker guns, he added.
Sheeley also offered a free membership in the chamber to Linnecke’s accounting firm. He’s not a member and he declined the offer.
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