IT'S not just the license plates that try to be friendly...

Salmagundi

May 21, 1993

IT'S not just the license plates that try to be friendly in Pennsylvania. Bell of Pennsylvania, a cousin of our C&P, treats with special delicacy any customers whose service is cut off for failing to pay their bills.

A colleague called a young relative in Philadelphia recently, to be informed by a recording that the number had been changed to a "nonpublished" listing. In fact, the colleague learned on further investigation, it had been cut off for nonpayment.

Here in Baltimore the C&P doesn't openly label a defaulting customer a deadbeat, but it is less circumspect. Its recording says that service has been "temporarily disconnected," without elaboration.

Actually, according to a C&P spokesman here, the Philadelphians aren't as polite as it first seemed. The "nonpublished" message was probably a mistake. The practice there is to say the line is being "checked for trouble" or "temporarily disconnected."

That's very considerate, but we wonder what that does to the reputations of Philadelphia customers whose phones really are temporarily out of order for technical reasons? Sort of leaves a cloud of doubt over their heads, doesn't it?

* *

THE BALTIMORE ZOO has been spending so much time thinking about imaginative new ways to display its animal collection, we should forgive it a little absent-mindedness when it JTC comes to providing for human creature comforts.

We were a little taken a back to find the men's room at the zoo's main refreshment pavilion chock-a-block with urinals, all roughly 2 1/2 feet off the ground, none at a height a child could reach. If there's any bathroom in Baltimore that's going to be frequented by little ones, it's the facilities at The Baltimore Zoo. We were glad to see the management installed a diaper changing table in the men's room to reflect new sensibilities, but thought the contractor should be called in to lower a few urinals to better accommodate children. Either that, or provide a few soap boxes for standing on.

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