Orange: a dramatic segment

Scene: a High Street in a major Devonian city. The entrance to a mobile phone shop. An elderly gent (say 56 going on 57) approaches a youthful salesman. He is carrying a mobile phone he has purchased from the said shop only a few weeks earlier.

Me (for it is me): Hi. I bought this phone here not long ago. It’s not working.

Salesman: What’s wrong with it?

Me: The battery doesn’t hold its charge. Every time you switch it on, it switches back off. I’ve tried taking the battery and the SIM card out, and cleaning it, but it doesn’t make any difference.

Salesman: Well, you’re past the 28 days. Give it here. (He opens it.) It’s the battery. It’s been in some water.

Me: It hasn’t. It hasn’t been near water. In fact it’s hardly been used.

Salesman: Look. Look at this battery. It’s been in water.

Me: No it hasn’t. And incidentally – what date is it? –

Salesman: Don’t you know the date?

Me: Would I be asking if…

Salesman: It’s July 12th.

Me: Well in that case, I’m not past the 28 days. I bought it 26 days ago.

Salesman: 28 days! That makes no difference anyway. This battery’s been in water.

Me: It hasn’t! It’s hardly been out of its box!

Salesman: Look, it isn’t for me to say whether or not you think it hasn’t been in water. I’m just telling you that this battery’s been in water. Look, you see the bloke behind the desk. Ask him. I won’t tell him. You just see what he says.

Me: 28 days…

Salesman: Makes no difference, mate. You can send it off, and it’ll come back after a week, and it’ll say ‘This has been in water’.

Man from desk arrives.

Salesman: Look at this battery. What would you say?

Man from desk: Well, that’s hard to say. Looks like, looks like there’s been some condensation. Humidity, probably.

Salesman: See?

Me: What are you talking about, humidity? It’s just Not Working.

Salesman: That’s because of the water. Or condensation.

Me: Are you telling me, that, despite my having bought this 26 days ago, and having hardly used it, that it’s defunct?

Man from desk: Well, we could send it off for a week.

Salesman: But they’ll send it back saying it was water damage.

Me: But – it – hasn’t – been – near – any – WATER.

Salesman: So you say.

Man from desk: They’re very fragile, mobile phones. It’s just bad luck. Here, look at mine. See that mark on the battery? Condensation. It hasn’t got long. I was just lucky.

Me: So what you’re saying is that I come in with a faulty piece of goods, within 28 days, and you won’t replace it. Can you think of any other item of equipment of which that’s true?

Salesman: It’s not faulty, it’s damaged.

Man from desk: It happens. But you could send it off.

Me: What do I do this week when I need a mobile phone?

Man from desk: We haven’t got a loan system. You’ll have to buy a new one. Or wait for the phone to come back …


Some animals may have been murdered in the making of this script. Any resemblance to any real people, dead or alive, is entirely uncoincidental.


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