Desk waited, but not patiently. The screen displayed the 'connecting' image, a picture of a tranquil mountainside with a mirror-like lake reflecting snowy peaks and emerald pines. It did nothing to calm him.
“Come on, come on,” he growled.
The image stubbornly remained present, the spinning arrow icon informing him to wait his turn. Eventually the connection was established, the image transforming into the view of a customer service cubicle, staffed by the obligatory pretty blonde, dressed in casual clothes, her t-shirt emblazoned with the Coresoft logo. The girl smiled sweetly at Desk, ignoring his obvious frustration.
“Hi, welcome to Coresoft customer service, my name's Sandy. Can I take your customer reference number?” she reeled off in an enthusiastic tone.
“3526060,” Desk said through gritted teeth. He knew the number off by heart; he'd had to relay it to four different people already.
“Thank you very much,” sang the blonde girl, her Handroid limb replacements plugging into her computer console, the soft outer shell breaking open, miniscule tendrils leaping out of her fingers, connecting with computer. “What seems to be the problem Mister Tenth?”
At last, Desk thought.
“My Handroids have broken and I need an emergency repair.”
“Could you detail the nature of the accident to me?”
“It wasn't an accident, it was a product malfunction,” Desk snapped.
“Mister Tenth, I must remind you that I can block you from contacting Coresoft customer service if you are in any way insulting or aggressive,” retorted the girl patronisingly.
“OK, OK. I'm sorry,” said Desk with frustration.
“That's fine Mister Tenth,” replied the girl with saccharine sweetness. “So, what happened to your Handroids?”
“I was working online and a cancer cell infiltrated my computer. I tried to stop it but the cell had already infected most of my system.”
“I'm afraid Coresoft can't refund or repair any damage caused by a third-party – ”
“No, that's not the problem,” interrupted Desk. “When I realised the system was overrun I tried to disconnect before the cancer cell made its way into my Handroids, but they wouldn't disconnect. I literally had to rip myself away.” He raises his arms into view, showing the girl the buzzing stumps where his cyborg-hands had once been. The girl's face turned an ugly pale shade.
“Mister Tenth, are you sure you're alright?'
“Yeah, I turned the pain receptors off before I did it,” Desk said impatiently. “How quickly can you send someone with a new pair?”
The girl regained her composure. She studied her computer screen. Desk waited, tapping one of his stumps on the surface of his workstation.
“I'm sorry but because the problem was caused by a software malfunction, your warranty doesn't cover a free replacement.”
“The disconnection program that syncs the Handroids is out-sourced from Delitech. The warranty you took out only covers issues pertaining to Coresoft products. I can reconnect you to Delitech customer service if you want, but to be honest, I don't think they will – ”
“You have got to be joking,” Desk said incredulously.
“No Mister Tenth,” the girl replied seriously. “My contract strictly states that I am not allowed to joke.”
“I was never made aware that I wouldn't be covered in this type of situation,” shouted Desk.
“Did you sign the terms and conditions?” asked the girl.
“Well yes, but – ”
“Did you read them?”
“I probably skimmed over them, but – ”
“I'm sorry Mister Tenth but section three point two, paragraph six of the silver class warranty terms and conditions clearly states – ”
“Alright, alright,” spat Desk.
“Mister Tenth, I don't want to block you but if you continue to behave in this manner, I'll have no choice.”
“OK. I apologise,” replied Desk in defeat.
“Thank you. Would you like me to put you through to your local store so you can purchase a replacement?”
“Doesn't look like I have much of a choice,” he said, looking gloomily down at his broken stumps. “Can't do much without any hands, can I?”
“I'll just reconnect you Mister Tenth,” smiled the girl. The mountainside reappeared on the screen and Desk prepared himself for another long wait.