A customer enters a dealer?s showroom.
?I wish to complain about this notebook PC, what I bought not half an hour ago from this very boutique.?
?Oh yes, the Big Blue. What?s wrong with it??
?I?ll tell you what?s wrong with it. It?s dead, that?s what?s wrong with it!?
?No, it?s, er, saving its battery.?
?I know a dead PC when I see one, and I?m looking at one right now!?
?No, no, it?s in suspend mode.?
?All right, then, I?ll make it resume.?
The customer shouts at the PC, pounds the keyboard, bangs the lid up and down, and finally elbows the hapless machine on to the floor.
?See? This PC is no more. It?s had its chips. It?s closed its Windows. Its disks have flopped. It?s dropped its cache and lost its memory. It?s booted its last. This is an ex-PC!?
?I would replace it, but we?re right out of notebooks.? (The customer bristles). ?I?ve got a tamagotchi.?
?What the ?ell is that? Some kind of Scottish hat??
?No. It?s a pocket-sized electronic pet from Japan. No mess, no embarrassing odours, no vets? bills. They?re all the rage with sad, lonely bastards, nerdy children and people who are allergic to cats.?
?Sounds pretty fishy to me.? (The salesman is about to make a feeble, finny pun.) ?Don?t even think about it! Oh, all right, I?ll take it.?
A few days later, the customer is back.
?I wish to complain about this tamagotchi, what I bought not a week ago from this very boutique.?
?Oh yes, the Setting Sun. What?s wrong with it??
?It?s dead, that?s what?s wrong with it!?
?No, it?s pining.?
?But it?s a glorified pocket calculator. How can it pine??
?That?s the point. You have to take it out and press its buttons and pretend to feed it and tickle its tummy. Otherwise it pines away. You?ve neglected it to death. Now what did I do with the RSPCA?s phone number??
?No, wait! Can?t you bring it back to life??
?Weeelll... It?s a skilled job. The training?s expensive, and there?s a skills shortage. But we happen to have a Certified Tamagotchi Engineer on the staff. Wayne!?
A weedy youth shambles up to the counter. The salesman distracts the customer?s attention, while Wayne raps the tamagotchi sharply on the counter.
?Reave me arone, you rout!? squeaks the tamagotchi.
?Tammy!? coos the customer, tearfully. ?How can I ever thank you?? He leaves, fondling the tamagotchi fondly.
A few days later...
?Don?t tell me, sir, you wish to complain about that tamagotchi what you purchased...?
?No, I need help. This thing is driving me mad. I keep having to get out of the bath, hang up the phone and interrupt my coitus to press its buttons, or it screams the place down. My wife is convinced I?m having an affair with it!?
?Have you considered a tamagotchi-sitter? Like a baby-sitter. If you?re too busy to take care of Tammy, or you and the missus want to pop down the Indian on a Friday night, you can pay someone to look after him.?
?You?re having me on!?
?No, straight up. Everyone uses them in Japan. ?Course, it?s a skilled job. The training?s expensive, and then there?s the skills shortage. But we do happen to have a Certified Tamagotchi-Sitter on the staff. Wayne!?
A week later...
?Don?t tell me, sir, you wish to compliment us on our tamagotchi-sitting service.?
?No, I wish to complain about him! He?s left cigarette burns on the rug, drunk all the beer in the fridge, and now he?s having an affair with my wife.?
?Sorry about that, sir. We?ll have to take a closer look at Wayne?s CTS documentation. I?m afraid there?s no alternative at present. However, I?m told that someone in Japan has invented a mechanical tamagotchi-sitter and is trying to get it into production in time for Christmas.?
?I kid you not, sir. It has a microchip, and a series of arms driven by electric motors for pushing the tamagotchi?s buttons. You just program it with your normal care pattern, and Tammy will never know the difference. It?s like the bit in The Wrong Trousers where the Techno-Trousers take Grommit for walkies ? except that it actually works.?
?So someone?s invented a machine for owners who are too busy to look after another machine, which they only bought because they were too busy to look after a real pet. What a lot of sad bastards. (Pause.) They haven?t got a version that can look after children, have they??
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