Thursday, January 31, 2013

Red mist in the phone shop

The year 2012 will be remembered for many things. The Olympics, the Jubilee, other stuff too quite possibly.

2013, thus far, is shaping up to be a little more prosaic. But it may at least go down in history as The Year We Got A Mobile Phone Upgrade.

Oh the excitement. Dixon Junior’s mobile, bust past redemption, can at last be replaced with a model that is not only faster and shinier but also equally inexpensive.

So it’s off to the mobile phone shop. Not mentioning any names, but it's the one that used to be named after a flavour of marmalade, but is now named after what a Yorkshireperson says just before they say “Bah gum!”

Even early on a Saturday morning, the queue stretches almost to the door. Staff member one is deep in conversation with two customers. Staff member two  is energetically dashing in and out of the storeroom. Staff member three is handling the transfer of customer funds from an offshore haven in the Caymans to a Swiss deposit account by way of a trust fund in Jersey.

There is no staff member four.

The Blitz spirit breaks out in the queue. Doughty Brits, united in adversity, suck their teeth as staff member two vanishes once again, and tut disapprovingly as the funds are delayed due to fluctuations in the inter-bank lending rate.

At last we reach the front. Yes, says staff member two  –  still breathless from his adventures in the storeroom – we are eligible for an upgrade. Well, we did sort of know that.

So please can we have the shiniest phone known to man, with Android and infinite texts? At no extra cost to the Bank of Dad?

Of course you can, says staff member two, and disappears into the storeroom once more to get one.

And we wait, and we wait, and we wait. And as we wait, a customer approaches and asks us if there are any staff about. Get to the back of the queue, mate, and you’ll find out sooner or later.

Staff member two returns, panting and apologetic. We could certainly have that phone, he says, were it not for one problem – it’s out of stock.

Leaving aside why it’s on display when it’s not for sale, this can only mean one thing: we have to go home and call marmalade central to order one.

Staff member one’s quiet conversation reaches the half-hour mark, as intense and as apparently unending as when we first walked in.

The red mist descends.

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