TECHIE: Tech Support, can I have your name and user address, please?
CALLER: My pen just died for the third time today—my case number is: 27000003425F, as in Frank.
TECHIE: Okay, I’m showing that your warranty is about to expire, Sir. Are you interested in a two-year extension, which would cover you for all future tech support calls, plus parts and maintenance?
CALLER: Jesus. I just bought this pen, what, last September?
TECHIE: August 28, Sir. Without the warranty, you’ll be charged $50 for each call to Tech Support. We strongly recommend the warranty extension for $360, tax included.
CALLER: (mutters profanities)
CALLER: Fine. Put me down for the goddamned $360. Can you just—help fix the pen?
TECHIE: Absolutely. Are you able to talk on the phone while troubleshooting the pen, Sir?
CALLER: Yes, it’s right here.
TECHIE: Great. Now, I want you to hold the pen by the flat end, and shake it rigorously, as you would an old fashioned thermometer. Three or four times should do it.
CALLER: This is what the last guy—okay, now it’s working again. I don’t believe this.
TECHIE: Is there anything else I can help you with today, Sir?
CALLER: Why does this keep happening?
TECHIE: What operating system are you using, Sir?
CALLER: Ummm… I just upgraded from Ink 4.5 to 5.0.
TECHIE: With what size ballpoint?
TECHIE: I can’t be sure, but that sounds like your problem right there.
TECHIE: The Medium ballpoint is incompatible with Ink 5.0.
CALLER: But you guys are the ones who told me to upgrade to 5.0 in the first place! I liked 4.5! I didn’t have this problem, I didn’t want to upgrade!
TECHIE: But you were having splotching problems, correct?
CALLER: Yes. Yes, I was.
TECHIE: Can I interest you in an early edition of Plain White Paper 2021? It’s compatible with all ballpoint Operating Systems and Ballpoint sizes, has built-in Easy-Fold and comes with unlimited Staple and Hole-punch capabilities.
CALLER: Is it flame retardant?
CALLER: Put me down for a ream.
TECHIE: You won’t be disappointed, Sir. Have a nice day. ❏
Photo by Scott Graham