Aztec Tents: “We don’t sell #%!*ing camping tents”
As the pandemic continues to inspire a surge in outdoor activities across the country, the folks at Aztec Tents, one of the leading manufacturers of large scale event tents in the U.S., would like you to know that they don’t sell #$%*ing camping tents.
We sat down with Helen Melnyk, a 30 year veteran of the tent industry and a long time employee of Aztec Tents. When asked about the unusually high number of requests for camping tents coming into Aztec’s offices, Helen had more questions than answers, “I don’t understand why we are getting these calls. I mean, we don’t have a single camping tent image or description on our website, in print or on any of our social media platforms.”
Just then, the phone in her office rang.
Melnyk: “Aztec Tents, this is Helen, how can I help you?”
Melnyk: “Hi Brian, of course. I’d be happy to help. What tent do you own and what pole is bent?”
Melnyk: “When you say rain-fly…are y…are you talking about a camping tent?”
Melnyk: “I’m sorry, this is Aztec Tents, we make large event tents, we don’t make camping tents.”
Melnyk: “Umm…….No. We don’t have poles for camping tents either.
Helen: “Yes, I am quite sure.”
Helen: “No, I’m sorry Brian, I don’t know who else sells parts for your camping tent. Thanks for calling and good luck!”
“It’s like this day after day!”, explained an exasperated Melnyk who cut the interview short and bolted for the employee breakroom with an ill-concealed bottle of tequila and a straw.
In the front office, Claudia Garza has taken a lot of phone calls in her 30 years at Aztec Tents. When we inquired about the rise in calls for camping tents, she blurted,
“It’s like they don’t hear me when I say, ‘Aztec Tents, this is Claudia..’”.
Garza continues, “..and then they say, ‘Is this Camper’s Dreamtime Tents?’”
“and I’m like, ‘Camper’s what?...No…No, this is Aztec Tents.’”
At this point in the interview Claudia is looking at me but not really focusing on me. It’s as if she is looking right through me.
Trying hard to understand, looking…looking for answers.
She lets out a long slow sigh and forges on, “And then they ask me if we sell those 8” plastic yellow stakes because they accidentally forgot two of their 8” yellow plastic stakes at Three L’il Bears Minigolf and Campground last August.”
Garza drifted off and was not able to answer further questions.
In an effort to find out if this complete breakdown in communication was isolated to one company in the US or if it was potentially threatening the sanity of tent companies across the nation, we reached out to Jim Reyen, Jr., President of Eureka Tents in Binghamton NY.
When asked if Eureka Tent was also receiving calls for camping tents, Reyen replied, “Yes.”
When pressed for a possible explanation why Eureka Tent might also be getting calls for camping tents, Reyen offered this, “It’s probably because we make camping tents.”
In the case of Aztec Tents, we may never know why camping tent owners would call an event tent manufacturer for answers. We may NEVER know.
Just before going to press with this article we received an urgent call from Eric Christensen another sales team member at Aztec Tents.
Nearly out of breath as if he sprinted to the phone to beat the press deadline, Christensen pleaded, “Please, please! Can you let the world know we don’t make the tent for that one car? You know the car with the tent, from like 20 years ago? It’s the…ummm…it’s that Pontiac. Yeah, the Pontiac, Aztek! We don’t make that tent either. Please tell them!”