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To call 911 or not to call 911

The economy continues to spiral downward with the stock market and home values competing for biggest loser honors. Unemployment is nearing double digits in some parts of the country. Yet, through it all, there are people out there who are able to cope with these disconcerting issues by focusing on really important problems such as missing Chicken McNuggets, improperly prepared cheeseburgers, and the devastating failure to offer lemonade with one’s meal. In fact, each of these seemingly mundane occurrences prompted the alleged “victim” to call 911 for emergency assistance.

Apparently, there are some of us who don’t grasp the concept that “911” is for emergencies that fall within the purview of police or rescue personnel. Instead, we have a Florida woman calling 911 to report that the fast food establishment to which she placed what she thought was a simple order would not comply with her instructions as to the preparation of her “Western Burger.” She was fortunate—no police responded to her request for assistance.

Not so lucky was the man who called 911 because his eatery of choice didn’t have lemonade available to compliment his meal. The police did respond and arrested him for “misuse of 911 communications.” Most recently, a Florida woman called 911 because she ordered and paid for Chicken McNuggets, only to find that they were unavailable. To make matters worse, she was told she could substitute another meal, only to find that it would cost more than the aforementioned chicken tidbits. Appalled by this apparent “bait and switch,” she refused the alternate meal and asked for the return of her money. When that request was shunned, she apparently surmised her only choice was to call 911—no less than three separate times. The third call was the charm. The local police responded to her request and proceeded to arrest her.

So be leery of using 911. The police will protect and serve—just not hamburgers, Chicken McNuggets, or lemonade. It’s probably not a good idea to call 911 because you’ve locked yourself inside your car, or because your toilet is broken, or because you lost your scraper and can’t get the ice off your windshield. These are all examples of events not quite falling within the realm of a 911 emergency—unless, of course you’re attacked by that cheeseburger you didn’t order.

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