A lady goes into a pet store one day. “I’m really lonely,” she says to the clerk. “I need a pet to keep me company.”

“Well,” replies the clerk, “how about this nice parrot? He’ll talk to you.”

“Hey, that’s great,” says the lady. She buys the parrot and takes him home. The next day the lady comes back to the pet store. “You know, that parrot isn’t talking to me yet,” she says.

“Hmm, let’s see,” says the clerk. “I know! You buy this little ladder for his cage. He’ll climb the ladder, and then he’ll talk.” So off she goes with a newly purchased ladder. The next day she comes back again.

“Hey, that parrot still hasn’t said a word,” she says to the pet-store clerk.

He thinks a minute. “How about this little mirror?” he says. “You hang it at the top of the ladder. The parrot will climb the ladder, look in the mirror, and then he’ll talk to you.”

“Okay,” she says, and buys the little mirror and goes home. But the next day that same lady is back in the shop. “Well, I’m getting a bit discouraged,” she says. “That parrot still won’t talk to me.”

The clerk scratches his head. “Let me think. Aha! Try this bell. You hang it over the mirror. The parrot will climb the ladder, look in the mirror, ring the bell, and then he will surely talk to you!”

“All right, I’ll give it a try,” says the lady. And she buys the bell and takes it home. The next day the same lady comes back to the pet shop, and she is very distressed.

“What’s wrong?” asks the clerk.

“My parrot … well, he died,” she answers quietly.

“Oh my gosh! I’m so sorry for your loss!” exclaims the clerk. “But I have to ask you, did the parrot ever say anything to you?”

“Oh yes, he said one thing, right before he died,” she replies.

“Well, what did he say?” asks the clerk.

The lady replies, “He said, ‘Doesn’t that store carry any food?’”