Sunday, April 03, 2005

Can I get the Giant Hurt Ball with extra hurt?

The following is a transcript of a customer service call once fielded in a call center in a galaxy far, far away.

OPERATOR: Good morning! Thank you for calling the Geonosis Spaceyards Customer Service Hotline. This is Operator THX-1138 speaking. How can I help you today?

CALLER: I am calling about a recent purchase I made.

OPERATOR: Are you reporting a problem with your purchase, sir?


OPERATOR: And may I have your Account Number, sir?

CALLER: It is UIY-2249.

OPERATOR: Thank you. Please wait while I bring up your account. (typing on keyboard heard) Ah, yes. I see you bought the Eludium-Q Spherical Space Habitat, and that you chose the Extra Armor Plating option. Very good, sir. Was there a problem with your Spherical Space Habitat, sir?


OPERATOR: Can you describe the nature of the problem, sir?

CALLER: It exploded.

OPERATOR: I'm sorry, sir. Did you say that your Spherical Space Habitat exploded?

CALLER: The destruction was complete.

OPERATOR: That's odd. Our Spherical Space Habitats are not supposed to explode. May I inquire as to what system your Habitat was in when it exploded, sir? If it was located in one of the Hazardous Systems as listed in the Instruction Manual for your Habitat, we are not liable for damages, as noted in Section 94, Volume 18, Paragraph 6-b of the Imperial Code.

CALLER: It was orbiting the planet Yavin.

OPERATOR: Yavin? Let me look that system up, sir. (more clicking of a computer keyboard) Ah, Yavin. Gaseous giant planet, but no known natural hazards listed on our database. Very odd...just a minute, there's another note here. Please hold.

(Music plays for about a minute.)

OPERATOR: Sir, I see that the planet Yavin was recently the scene of a battle between the Imperial Starfleet and the Rebel Alliance. Surveillance craft have reported a significant amount of debris in the system, and a large amount of residual radiation. I am going to have to get my Supervisor, sir. Please hold.

(More music plays as the caller is put on hold.)

SUPERVISOR: Good morning, Sir. I am Supervisor TK-421. I have just accessed the private information on your account, that your first Operator was unable to read. How are you today, Senator Palpatine?

CALLER: I am Emperor now, and I dissolved the Senate.

SUPERVISOR: Ah. I will change that information on your account, and may I say, congratulations on your promotion! Now, I am told that your Spherical Space Habitat experienced a catastrophic immolation event while orbiting the planet Yavin. Now sir, I have to ask this question for legal reasons: were you using your Spherical Space Habitat in any of the ways listed in the Instruction Manual as being unrecommended?

CALLER: I didn't read that page.

SUPERVISOR: Ah. Senator, I mean, Emperor, you really should read the instructions on all major purchases before use. On Page 9,842 of the Manual you will find a list of Unrecommended Uses for a Spherical Space Habitat. Such uses include: Transport Vehicle for Performing Popular Musicians, Transport Vehicle for Dangerous Creatures, Hunting Lodge, Space Slug Attractor Device, Spice Smuggling, Temple for Hutt Worship, and Intimidating Battle Station. Can I assume, sir, that you attempted to use your Spherical Space Habitat as an Intimidating Battle Station?

CALLER: I did.

SUPERVISOR: Ah, I see. Now, the good news, sir, is that we have recently completed design work on our Spherical Space Habitat 2.0, which can be used as an Intimidating Battle Station.

CALLER: Are all the thermal exhaust ports fully shielded now?

SUPERVISOR: They are, sir. That's the main difference. That and the chairs are cushier. Since you are a preferred customer, I can offer you a special discount on a Spherical Space Habitat 2.0, complete with Green Ray of Death Blast Cannon. And since you're one of our better customers, I am prepared to offer you, free of extra charge, an Intimidating Throne Room atop a high tower with a commanding view of your Space Habitat's surface, and Demon-Drop Bottomless Shaft overlooking your Habitat's Reactor Core. Can I interest you in that today, sir?

CALLER: Yes. I will take one.

SUPERVISOR: Excellent! And to what system would you like that delivered, sir?

CALLER: Endor.

SUPERVISOR: Excellent choice, sir. Let me type this all in. (more typing goes on) And how will you be paying for this, sir?

CALLER: Paying?

SUPERVISOR: Yes, sir. As I noted, your use of your Spherical Space Habitat 1.0 as a Battle Station voids your warranty, and you are not eligible for free replacement.

CALLER: My discount will be one hundred percent.

SUPERVISOR: Now sir, I can't do that, I'm sorry to say.

CALLER: My discount will be one hundred percent.

SUPERVISOR: Sir, as I said, I cannot authorize that.

CALLER: Oh, really?

SUPERVISOR: I'm sorry, sir. But I am offering you a substantial discount and…er…ack…sir, I am having trouble breathing.!...can I please...get...ACCCKKK!...another...operator...GASSSSPP! (sounds of unintelligible wheezing, followed by a crunching of bone and something large slumping to the floor)

SUPERVISOR #2: Ummm...hello, sir. I am Supervisor TK-422. Let me just review the information my predecessor put in for you. (whispering to someone else) Get him out of here before he smells! (to CALLER) Uh, sir, you know what, it wouldn't have been that hard for us to throw in shielding for those thermal exhaust ports on the first one. I apologize for the inconvenience, and your new habitat is on us. Will that be all right, sir?

CALLER: For today, yes. Don't make me call you for a third one of these.

SUPERVISOR: We won't, sir. And you know what, since you've been such a great customer, I'm going to throw in for no extra charge an energy shield that we will put in place around your new Spherical Space Habitat 2.0 while we are building it. Trust me, nothing will get through and threaten your new Space Habitat 2.0! You can live by the Geonosis Guarantee.

CALLER: I hope so...for your sake.

(Click as call ends)

LESSON: The customer may not always be right, but he just may have the ability to choke you to death from the other side of the Galaxy.

(EDITOR'S NOTE: Yes, there will be a lot of gratuitous and geeky stuff like this between now and the end of May.)

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