OSAKA, JAPAN—Following Dayton, OH resident David Cinelli's purchase of a CLT-A230M cordless phone from his local Best Buy, electronics manufacturer Sanyo was plunged into chaos Monday over fears that Cinelli might attempt to redeem the $40 rebate coupon that came with the phone.
Executives at Sanyo—which employs more than 85,000 people worldwide—said they were initially overjoyed that someone had actually purchased one of their products. The celebration was short-lived, however, as it soon dawned on board members that their organization would face financial ruin if forced to honor Cinelli's rebate.
"Christ, I hope he loses that card," CEO Seiichiro Sano said during an emergency meeting of high-ranking Sanyo executives. "If he sends it in, we are really screwed. That $40 is a drop in the bucket to him, but do you have any idea what losing $40 will do to us? Oh, God, please, please don't let this happen."
"Maybe he'll accidentally mail it to Sony and they'll deal with it," Sano continued. "No, that's crazy. Could we possibly postdate the check by a couple months? Or maybe 'forget' to sign it or something? Come on, people, think!"
When asked whether Sanyo could simply hold onto the initial capital obtained from Cinelli's purchase and portion out his refund from that, Sano replied that the money was "long gone."
"We spent it before we got it," he said.
Company sources reported that a series of tense, late-night meetings have failed to determine the best course of action should Cinelli claim his $40 rebate. Strategies that are reportedly still being considered include putting Sanyo on a monthly payment plan with Cinelli; moving the company's headquarters to Mongolia; or, should Cinelli inquire, telling him that they never received the form and then falsely promising to send him a new one in order to buy themselves some time to think.
"Things get lost in the mail all the time, right?" executive vice president Koichi Maeda said.
According to Maeda, several fail-safes have also been explored—including "moving a few things around in the air conditioner division"—but nothing has provided a solution to mitigate the fiscal devastation that would be caused by refunding Cinelli the $40.
"We can probably stall him for a couple extra weeks if we make him fill out a customer survey before he can get the money," Maeda said. "But if that lady in Orlando finally gets around to mailing in the rebate for her digital camera, then we're right back at square one. This is really, really bad."
Company accountants have determined that Sanyo would need to sell at least two more phones or six RM-6860(XE) AM/FM clock radios to offset the devastation Cinelli's rebate would cause. The financial equation has been compounded, though, by news that Cinelli also purchased a three-year warranty for his cordless phone.
"Who is this guy?" junior executive Nobuyuki Nakane said. "I can tell you one thing, anyone who buys a warranty on a goddamn $95 Sanyo phone is sure as hell the kind of person to send in his rebate coupon. That's a goddamn guarantee."
"And if that thing breaks before…well, I don't even want to think about it," Nakane continued. "Fuck. Fuck!"
Despite holding the fate of a Fortune 500 company in his hands, Cinelli has proved surprisingly indifferent to mailing in the form.
"I'll probably send it in soon, but postage just went up so I have to get some of those two-cent stamps," Cinelli said. "They forgot to include the extra rechargeable battery with the phone, too, so maybe I'll ask for a free T-shirt or something."