Support vs. Sales

Credits

Erin Lillis – Allison Baxter
Carl G. Brooks – Paul Ellis
Coral Baxter-Ellis – Tal Minear
Randolph/Randall – Eric Perry
Phone tree – Jacque Dear

Written by David S. Dear
Opening music “Coffee” by Cambo
Closing music “Life Illusion” by Ketsa


ALLISON

You haven’t put a coat of wax on your car since you’ve had it. Oxidation is not a style, you know. It’s not like the car version of ripped jeans.

PAUL

Not true. I always use the wax setting at the car wash.

ALLISON

Okay, one: as cheap as you are, I find that hard to believe. And two: Spraying a layer of cheap wax on it is not the same as rubbing a nice solid coat onto the finish.

PAUL

Then if I acquiesce and agree to let you splurge on a buffer does that mean you’ll wax my car for me?

ALLISON

Absolutely not.

CORAL

Guys… we’re recording.

ALLISON

Oh. Why didn’t you tell us?

CORAL

I just did.

PAUL

Okay then. I suppose we’ll have to do an episode on this, see what the audience thinks is the best method for waxing your car.

ALLISON

Perhaps, but in the meantime we have decided on a different topic. So I’ll kick it off so we don’t go all tangential with this wax business again. Ready?

PAUL

Ready.

ALLISON

Okay… Hello everyone and welcome to Deconstructing Criticism-

PAUL

Deconstructive.

ALLISON

I know, Paul. Deconstructive Criticism.

PAUL

You said Deconstructing.

ALLISON

No I didn’t

PAUL

Yes you did.

ALLISON

No, I said Deconstructive.

PAUL

Coral?

CORAL

You said Deconstructing, Mom.

ALLISON

I swear I said Deconstructing.

CORAL

You just said it again.

ALLISON

Deconstructing? It’s Deconstru- damn it, I did didn’t I?

PAUL

It’s Deconstructive.

ALLISON

I know, Paul. I just said I messed it up. Maybe you can write that down in your little book or something. “Allison was wrong for the fourth time this month”.

PAUL

Fourth? This month? You give yourself a lot of credit, don’t you.

CORAL

Parentals! Please stop! Oof, we haven’t even started the show and you’re already at it! Can we try to get through an episode with you two trying to be civil? See what it’s like, maybe?

PAUL

I think Allison can do that.

ALLISON

Paul…*groan*

CORAL

(heavy sigh)

I’m about to walk out…

ALLISON

Wait, Coral. We’ll try.

PAUL

We can get through this.

CORAL

Thank you. Now go. And BE NICE!

PAUL

Alright. Continue Allison.

ALLISON

Okay. Welcome to De-con-struc-tive Criticism. Deconstructive Criticism. I’m Allison-

PAUL

And I’m Paul. Nicely done, Ally.

ALLISON

Thank you, Paul. And we’re the show that talks about the things you do and don’t need in your life.

PAUL

Such as a vacuum. And I don’t mean that awful silence at the dinner table…

(cracks himself up, but only he laughs)

Or during a podcast episode. I’m talking about the device used for picking up dirt from rugs and carpets.

ALLISON

That’s right, Paul. And this is your chance as our listeners to vote on which we should keep.

PAUL

Now I like the trusty walk-behind vacuum that you plug in and push across the floor.

ALLISON

And I like the little robotic vacuum that does it all for you.

PAUL

Yes. So I’m going to make my case for the Harrel Ultra.

ALLISON

And I will make my case for the BotVac 360.

CORAL

Can I say something? I probably shouldn’t jinx this but you guys are sounding great! I’m hoping you can keep this up for the rest of the episode.

PAUL

Who’s the parent here?

CORAL

Sorry, just wanted to say that. Keep going.

PAUL

Alright. So let me tell you about the Harrel Ultra. This thing is a solid vac. It’s a bagless upright vacuum with optional hose and attachments. One of the best vacuums I’ve ever used, very powerful, and best of all, only one hundred fifty bucks retail. Of course if you know where to find the best deals like I do you can get it for much less. I managed to pick this up for only eighty-nine dollars. How much was your vac-bot, Allison?

ALLISON

It’s called the BotVac, I’ll have you know, and before I just dive right into the price tag as that’s not always the most important thing to consider when buying something, I would like to talk about its features. Unlike your fifteen year old duct-taped vacuum where using it is not unlike plowing a field, the BotVac runs itself. It’s a completely autonomous vacuum that runs with no human interaction. It cleans your floors while you’re at work or a movie or a football game. I mean, who wants to be chained to housework when you have a device that can do it for you?

PAUL

Okay, for one you don’t need an oxen to pull a vacuum, so bad analogy.

CORAL

Ox, Dad.

PAUL

No, actually it’s pronounced oxen.

CORAL

That’s true, but it’s only one so it’s an ox. More than one ox is oxen.

PAUL

As in “Olly Olly oxen free”, right? Not “Olly Olly oxen arm and a leg” like your mom’s robot vacuum cost. For two, mine is simple to use. Press the power button and go. No need to recharge it or program it or set any schedule.

ALLISON

I’ll have you know it’s not that complicated. Just like your sucking dog frightener, mine has one button to turn it on and off. I have it right here as a matter of fact, and I’ll show you.

CORAL

Mom, you know listeners can’t see it, right?

ALLISON

I know, I just want to show your father how much simpler it is to use than even his ancient artifact. See? That’s the power button. You just turn it on and let it go, like this…

ALLISON presses the button but nothing happens

PAUL

Works great, Allison.

ALLISON

Just be quiet, Paul. Hold on…

Still nothing

CORAL

Mom, it’s not working. Are you sure you-

ALLISON

Hold on, I said!

CORAL

Is it charged?

ALLISON

Yes, it’s fully charged! The charge light is lit up. See?

CORAL

I can, but the listeners can’t.

PAUL

And listeners, that’s why the Harrel is a superior piece of equipment. You don’t need to-

ALLISON

Shut up, Paul! Damn it! Why does it have trouble coming on?

CORAL

Have you had problems with it coming on before?

ALLISON

Well, on an occasion…

PAUL

You’re going to have trouble making your case if-

ALLISON

Paul!

CORAL

Dad, please… just hold on.

PAUL

I’m just saying…

CORAL

Dad! Okay Mom, did you follow the troubleshooting steps in the manual?

ALLISON

Yes, I followed the troubleshooting steps in the manual. I’m not happy about this. This thing is practically brand new. It shouldn’t be having this problem!

PAUL

Especially for as much as you paid for it.

ALLISON

NOT NOW, PAUL!

CORAL

Dad, can you give it a rest? Mom, let’s call their tech support. I have the number here on their website.

ALLISON

Yes, thank you dear.

Sound of ringtone

RECORDING

Thank you for calling Botology, makers of BotVac and BotView-

ALLISON

(talking over recording)

What’s BotView?

PAUL

Something really expensive that you don’t need, I’m sure.

ALLISON

How do you know I don’t need it when you don’t even know what it is?

PAUL

Well judging by the vacbot, whatever it is it’s probably hella expensive.

ALLISON

BotVac, Paul. It’s called the BotVac!

RECORDING

For customer service, press one. For sales, press two. For technical support, press three. To hear more options, press the star key.

CORAL

You guys, I’m trying to hear the voice tree.

ALLISON

Sorry Coral.

Sound of a key pressed

RECORDING

Please wait while I transfer your call.

Bad hold music

RANDOLPH

Thanks for calling Botology. This is Randolph. How may I help you?

ALLISON

Yes, hi. I’m having problems with my BotVac. It’s fully charged but I can’t get it to turn on.

RANDOLPH

Well I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble with your BotVac, ma’am. What seems to be the issue?

ALLISON

Well, like I said, I’m having trouble turning it on.

RANDOLPH

I’m sorry to hear that. Have you tried charging it completely?

ALLISON

Yes, it’s fully charged.

RANDOLPH

I’d recommend you try that first.

ALLISON

It’s fully charged. The light shows it’s fully charged.

RANDOLPH

Very good. Now try the power button.

ALLISON tries the button again

ALLISON

It still doesn’t work. I haven’t done anything different since before I called you.

RANDOLPH

I’m sorry to hear you’re having trouble. What model BotVac is it?

ALLISON

It’s the uh… the… 360.

RANDOLPH

Oh that’s a great unit.

PAUL

I might beg to differ.

CORAL

Dad, do you mind?

ALLISON

Yes Paul, do you mind?

RANDOLPH

How many people are on this call? Is this one of those party lines?

CORAL

No, we’re recording a podcast. We can take calls and record them on my computer.

RANDOLPH

So basically this call is being recorded for quality purposes.

CORAL

Well, that’s not why I’m recording-

RANDOLPH

No, you reminded me that I forgot to say that. This call is being recorded for quality purposes.

PAUL

So is this one, buddy.

CORAL

Dad, please? I’m sorry sir, never mind him.

RANDOLPH

Okay, well… so you have the 360, you said?

ALLISON

I’m pretty sure…

RANDOLPH

Did it come with the pet sensor feature?

ALLISON

Um, I don’t know…

CORAL

No, it doesn’t have the pet sensor feature.

RANDOLPH

Just making sure you don’t have the 720. The 720 is the one that comes with the pet sensor.

CORAL

It’s not the 720.

RANDOLPH

Ah then that means you have the 360. The 360 is a really really nice base model but it doesn’t have the pet sensor feature. With the pet sensor feature that comes with the 720, the unit will shut itself off if it senses a pet in its proximity so the pet won’t be inclined to chase it and cause damage to the unit.

PAUL

It appears there’s already damage to this unit.

ALLISON

Yeah this doesn’t have that. This is the 360.

RANDOLPH

Another thing the 360 doesn’t have is the extended vacation feature.

ALLISON

Oh. What’s that?

CORAL

Mom…

RANDOLPH

Oh, the extended vacation feature is a must-have! It ensures the device continues to go into a low power mode and functioning only periodically while you’re on vacation, as you’ll have much less dirt on your floors while you’re gone, but still runs to pick up dust that can accumulate-

ALLISON

Hmm…

CORAL

Mom-

PAUL

Oh you know that thing has got to cost an arm and a leg.

RANDOLPH

No, actually it’s not much more than the 360. But to avoid a huge initial outlay you can always make monthly payments to upgrade to the 720 for-

CORAL

No, we don’t need the 720. We need you to help us figure out what’s wrong with the one we have.

RANDOLPH

Well, I can’t do that.

CORAL

Why not?

RANDOLPH

This is sales. If you want help troubleshooting your 360, the base model that has not nearly the number of great features as the 720, you’ll want tech support.

CORAL

Of course we want tech support, Randall!

RANDOLPH

Actually it’s Randolph. Common mistake as they sound a lot alike. But-

CORAL

Please transfer us to tech support, Randolph!

RANDOLPH

Can do. But before I do you might want to consider the 720’s ability to-

CORAL

NOW!

RANDOLPH

One moment.

Bad hold music again

ALLISON

I may have to find out more about the 720. It has features I might like.

PAUL

No, no, no Allison. You need to worry about fixing the one you already have.

RANDALL

Tech support, this is Randall.

ALLISON

Wait, aren’t you the guy we just talked to?

RANDALL

No, you were speaking with Randolph. This is Randall. Yeah, we both sound alike. Yeah, our names sound similar. Pretty weird, right? People get confused all the time. So your 360 giving you fits?

ALLISON

Yes, it won’t power on although it’s fully charged.

RANDALL

Well, I’m sorry to hear that. Did you follow all the troubleshooting steps in the manual?

ALLISON

Er… yes…

RANDALL

I’m sorry to hear that. Not that you followed all the steps, but that they didn’t work. You’ll have to send the unit in for service.

ALLISON

Wait… I have to send it in to you guys?

RANDALL

Yep.

ALLISON

But I just got this thing!

RANDALL

We have a 30 day manufacturer’s warranty on the BotVac. Looks like you purchased it 32 days ago.

ALLISON

Son-of-a…!

PAUL

Great! More money out of pocket.

RANDALL

Is this a party line?

CORAL

No, we’re recording a- never mind.

Hangs up

ALLISON

Why did you hang up?

CORAL

Because it will cost as much if not more for them to fix it as it will to just get a new one.

PAUL

Which you won’t need to do as we have a perfectly good vacuum. Oxen not included.

ALLISON

Oy.

PAUL

We might as well put it to rest now, babe. You’re aggravated because you hate vacuuming, don’t you?

ALLISON

I despise vacuuming.

AFTERWORD

CORAL

Okay, so there you have it. Mom bought a BotVac because one: she loves gadgetry of all sorts, and because two: she hates vacuuming. To be frank, she hates cleaning and she’s always looking at ways to get out of it. They’ve agreed to split the very few tasks they have between them… that is, they give me the majority of the housecleaning tasks and she tries to find ways to avoid hers. Admittedly I think the BotVac is pretty cool but it shouldn’t just give out after we just got it not that long ago. Gods know Paul will duct tape that Harrel together and run it as long as he can, although it’s already fifteen years old.

Is it stuff like their views on spending money or on splitting chores that are fundamental factors in the state of their marriage? If they could see eye-to-eye on these two things would they be on the road to repairing their relationship, or are those just symptoms of deeper issues? I’m hoping this show can flush some of those out.

So here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to ask if mom should shell out the money to fix the BotVac, if she should get a new one, or if we should stay with the old Harrel that my dad won’t admit is falling apart? Go to dcritpodcast.com to vote. And we’ll see you next time. Thanks for joining us.

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