I had the rare pleasure the other day of being outnumbered by a group of southpaws at the checkout desk of the Rockport Library. Two people taking out books and one staffer were left-handed; the other staffer and I were not. I know someone will say you could go to a convention for left-handers and be vastly, not just barely, outnumbered. But how much fun would that be?

Amazon has shot to the top of my good-guy list. After weeks of bare-fisted battling with the organism, made even more frustrating by the fact that it is impossible to reach any department other than what is known as — laughingly, I’m sure — customer service, I had to call to find out why an order had been canceled. As has been true of all my interactions (don’t you just love that word? It covers such a variety of situations and fills so many needs), it started out definitely in the aggressive-to-hostile range. Then, for some reason, the rep, a lady with a very strong Southern accent and, as it turned out, an even stronger sense of the absurd, and I reached a plateau of civility.

So when she asked me, after she had taken care of my complaint, if there was anything else she could do, I refrained from telling her what I thought she and Amazon could do and said instead that at several points in my recent interaction (See?) I had been promised a $10 Amazon credit to make up in a teeny tiny little way for the aggro and not seen it to date. Well, she slapped that credit right on my account — I saw it pop up on my account page — and then, since the canceled order I had called about had meant I couldn’t buy an item for about $80 less than it cost at other emporia, she added an additional $90 of credit. And she apologized for having to add it in $30 increments, and for the fact that she couldn’t give me more (and all this time I am watching the credit pop up). And then she told me she would call me in a month to make sure everything was OK with Amazon and me.

And I expect to hear from her. Unless, of course, the call was being monitored and she has been let go for being too nice. In case that was happening, I did say — very loudly, so the listener (if there was one) could hear me plainly — that she had retained a very good customer and made her very happy as well, and that that was what customer service was all about. I mean it’s not every day that $110 just falls in your lap, even though it immediately went for a higher-priced edition of the item I’d wanted in the first place.

Then — and very much on the other hand — there was my recent interaction (I told you it was a useful word) with CreditMania (not a real company). I don’t remember when it was that some pooh-bah (perhaps, as so often, the government) ordered the three big credit agencies (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion — aren’t those wonderful names? Carefully chosen, I’ve no doubt, to instill confidence and a sense of belonging) to let people look at their credit reports once a year for free. In fact, there is a Web site (www.freecreditreport.com) that makes it so simple there’s no excuse not to take a shufti. (You could look it up.)

Now I, having labored in the belly of the credit beast, know there is a big difference between a credit report and a credit score. A credit report is sort of pap-ish: No one is trying to repossess your car; the bank is not foreclosing on your mortgage; no one is nosing around in your bank accounts — the kinds of things, in fact, that if you don’t know, your credit is probably already shot. What counts is the credit SCORE: the FICO, which was invented in 1958 by the Fair Isaac Corp. (you get the root of the word?) to apply a statistical analysis to a person’s credit history and rate his or her creditworthiness (thank you, Wikipedia). This is the real thing. When you apply for a loan or a credit card, it’s not your credit report the lender looks at but your FICO score, which ranges from 300 to 850 and instantly identifies you as a cautious borrower, a big spender or such a deadbeat that you probably don’t even get out of bed in the morning to face another day of rotten credit.

Looking at my credit report, I thought it would be fun to see what my FICO scores were. Trawling through the numerous credit companies that advertise on the site, I found one that offered a free 30-day trial period and a look at your FICO scores right off the bat. So of course I signed up, made a note of my scores (though I now can’t find the piece of paper I scribbled them on), greeted the e-mail CreditMania sent welcoming me to their happy family and, having gotten what I had come for, waited a few days to cancel the account.

After having scoured the site to find a way to cancel online — which of course there is none; they want a live body to harass — I called and said in my mildest voice, which is about as far away from hostile as I can get (though maybe I’m exaggerating), that I wanted to close the account. The rep (short for representative, of course, and the use not much liked in the industry because it is vaguely condescending. But there are account managers and there are reps, and this was a rep) asked me why, and I said, Why not? Actually, I said I was pretty sure my credit was fine and, now that I had my FICOs (wherever they are), I wasn’t the least bit interested in the services CreditMania offered. Well, the bull and the red flag aren’t in it. He was peeved — way more hostile than I have ever even thought of being. He lectured me about the advantages of knowing what shape my credit was in at all times, and he threatened me with the dire consequences that would ensue if something happened to my credit that I didn’t know about (unlikely, at the least).

And when I told him there was no use trying to threaten me, he said he was trying to retain me. Then he put me on hold for 10 minutes, which didn’t bother me in the least, as I was doing a lot of other things while I waited. When I finally hung up and called back, another rep (whom I threatened) told me the account had been canceled. That first rep was one sore loser.

But at least he had a job, though if he can’t do better at retaining customers than he did with me, he may not for much longer. Speaking of jobs, I am reminded of the day many years ago when I was enjoying the dubious delights of alimony and I got a call from my friend Bruce, who had taken time out from landscaping Yoko Ono’s new estate on Long Island to tell me he had found a job for me. A friend of friends wanted someone to do public relations for a book he had just published about his — let’s call it his occupation. What’s his occupation? I asked Bruce. Bodybuilding, Bruce said. Where is he from? I asked. Austria, Bruce said. What’s his name, I said with increasing uneasiness. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bruce said (with a straight face). So, Bruce, I said, let me get this straight. You want me to do PR for an Austrian bodybuilder named Arnold Schwarzenegger? I was laughing for a long time, but you know the rest of the story. And I haven’t yet told you about Jonathan Winters.

Carolyn Marsh is communications director for the Picker Institute in Camden.