"Mr. Smith, we're not sure why you came to see us."
"I need help and you fellows at Bait and Switch Advertising are my last hope."
"Last hope for what?"
"To find a true American hero of course."
"A hero? Mr. Smith, we’re an advertising firm."
"I know that, but I need a hero. I have a full line of discount, slightly dented, barely used, furniture and I have to plan my advertising and sales for the full year. I got caught by the Columbus Day fiasco and I won't let that happen again."
"Exactly what happened?"
"I had a whole ad program put together around Columbus and the Columbus Day sale and I had to scrap it all at the last minute."
"I couldn't have a genocidal monster as the symbol of my used furniture could I? Why, someone was sure to be offended. I'm a business man."
"Sure, he started the whole process of killing off the Indians and stealing their land. Why, if it wasn't for Columbus, the Indians would still own all of this land."
“Have you had any Indian groups protest your ads?”
“A few, but mostly it was those angry political womens groups from the college. Whoa, they’re scary. They warned me that using Columbus as a symbol for used furniture sales on Columbus Day would not be viewed favorably by women.”
“What did Columbus ever do to women?”
“I’m not sure, but I’ve been warned. He’s the one who came here, stole the land and started the extermination of the New World.”
"Mr. Smith, surely you don't believe that no one else would have tried his trip. Besides, why can’t you just celebrate Columbus for the bravery and skill of his trip across the ocean? Celebrate him as a scientist and explorer? When he set sail, people thought that when you reached a certain point that you would fall off of the face of the earth. The maps read — Beyond this point there be dragons. Think of the courage it took to take that step."
"Sure, he was brave, but then he wiped out all of the Indians in North and South America."
"I don't think he can be blamed for all of that. Besides, there are still a few around."
"The Indians are using him as a symbol of European imperialism."
"Well then why isn’t it just as correct to use him as a symbol of courage, exploration and progress — the good parts of European expansion into the new world?"
"Because it's not politically correct. There are no parts of European expansion that are viewed as good. Look, I'm not gonna argue about this. I got caught once and I don't intend to get caught again. I need ad campaigns and I need heroes, politically and socially acceptable American heroes."
“Do you have a lot of Native American customers?”
“What difference does that make?”
“Well, why should you care if they are upset at a local store if you don't have any Native American customers? What are they gonna do, mail their complaints in?”
“Are you guys new at this? I don't have to have a single Indian customer and a tribe of busy-body, do-gooder European descendants will still show up at my store to raise hell on their behalf.”
“I think I see your point. Memorial Day is coming up. We can build a campaign around military heroes — Grant.”
“Nope, a drunk, an incompetent president, and he smoked.”
"Okay, how about George Washington? He was a general, he led us to our freedom and was the father of our country."
"No way, he was a slave holder.”
“Slave holder and I don’t even want to get into Jefferson’s relationship with his slaves. They’re still fighting over that whole Sally Hemings mess."
"But that was the custom at the time.”
“Jefferson and Hemings, the custom at the time? Are you sure you want to go there?”
“I meant slavery. Of course we know it was wrong now. We probably knew it was then too but, at that time, all large southern farms were run through the use of slave labor. It was common, legal, and even constitutional."
"It doesn't matter. If I use Washington or Jefferson as a symbol of my slightly dented furniture, the buyers will judge him and me by today's morals and philosophy. They won't look at Washington as the father of our country or Jefferson as one of the greatest minds in history. They'll just be another couple of rich white oppressors. They'll look at them and my store with 21st century eyes. They'll see me using slave owners as symbols to sell my recliners and I'll have everybody from Jesse Jackson and Spike Lee to those silly Baldwin brothers picketing my store. I can't afford that."
"Well, if we can't do the usual Columbus Day, Thanksgiving, Washington, Jefferson birthday sale advertising, how about Lincoln?"
"He did work to free the slaves, but he waffled a lot on the slave issue. I also read where he was a soldier in the Blackhawk Indian wars and told racist jokes. We may have the same problem we have with Columbus. It's just not worth the risk."
"Mr. Smith, you've obviously studied a lot of history."
"I'm a furniture salesman and these days a small business man has to study history, politics and current 'feel good' social fads or lose his business."
"Maybe we can use some modern figures like Eisenhower."
"Too Republican, too white, and too boring. Besides, 8 out 10 young adults today wouldn’t even know who he was. "
"Same problem. Besides, too arrogant, rich and militaristic."
"He was a womanizer. I run a family store."
"You didn't even let me tell you which Kennedy."
"Does it matter?"
"I see your point. Why don't we just get away from politicians all-together. How about using sports figures?"
"Million-dollar cry babies hooked on drugs and women? I don't think so."
"Last chance — how about Mother Teresa?"
"Not bad, but she wasn’t American and I think she was a little too Catholic?"