Radio WTF Presents!

Today's episode: "Quantity of Service", adapted for radio by Lorne Kates, from a submission by Lyfe

Links To Downloads

"Quantity of Service" on Soundcloud (192k, mp3, 41.3mb), ... Direct Download
"Quantity of Service" on Soundcloud (96k, mp3, 20.6mb) for dial up, yo!... Direct Download

Starring (in order of appearance)

  • Remy Porter... as Leif
  • Mark Bowytz... as Daryl
  • Lorne Kates... as various callers
  • Alex Papadimoulis... as Kevin

Featuring the voice of Paul Rousse of VoiceByPaul.com, and the songs "Slow Burn" and "Mining by Moonlight" by Kevin MacLeod of Incompetech.com.

Note: Transcript to follow later today.

And if you're nostalgic for radio of days past, last year's episode MAKE IT WORK is still online

Jump to comments

BONUS! OUTTAKE!

I know you all love the Ring Tones and Empty Threes and bits and stuff. So have fun with these:

Transcript

Scene: 1

NARRATOR
Radio W.T.F. presents...

SOUND: INTRO MUSIC STING

NARRATOR
The Daily WTF

SOUND: END OF INTRO MUSIC STING

NARRATOR
Today’s episode, "Quantity of Serivce", adapted for radio by Lorne Kates, from a submission by Lyfe.

NARRATOR
The year is late nineteen-ninety something. Business is booming at Initech Personal Computers, a low cost, high volume retailer of end-user PCs. They had a shop in every town, an ad during every commercial break, and a toll-free number open 24/7 ready to take your order. Sure, they weren’t actually called "Initech Personal Computers", but you know who I mean. I bet you can still remember their jingle-- and now that I’ve reminded you, it’ll be lodge in your skull on an endless, incessant loop for days. Yes-- THAT Initech Personal Computers.

They dominated the PC market with extremely low prices. Surprisingly low. Or, as Leif would come to realize during his tenure as head of 2nd level support-- "lowest bidder" low.

(DURING THE HEYDAY, JUST AS THE FALL BEINGS. IN LEIF’S OFFICE)


SOUND: LOTS OF PEOPLE. RINING PHONES IN BACKGROUND. BUSY

SOUNDING. LEIF’S PHONE RINGS.

DARYL

(ON PHONE)
Hey, Leif. Can you take a support escalation?

LEIF
Sure thing, Daryl. What’s the problem?

DARYL
The problem is the call’s taking WAY too long. It’s really effecting my average time to call completion.

LEIF
I meant, what’s the customer’s problem? What’s wrong with their computer?

DARYL
No idea. None of my techs can get anything from him. I even tried, but he won’t follow the troubleshooting script.

LEIF
Did you at least get the serial number?

DARYL
He can’t even figure that out.

LEIF
Oof. Okay, send him through.

DARYL
Great, I’ll transfer the whole ticket to Customer Service. Thanks, that guy was just killing Support’s clearance rate.

SOUND: SFX PHONE RING

LEIF
Initech Personal Computers support, Leif speaking. How can I help you, Mr. Berry?

MR. BERRY

(ON PHONE)
I don’t want to hear one more minute of that damn on hold music! If you put me on hold again, I’mma coming down there and put my foot through your tape deck, then up the ass of whoever picked that loop!

LEIF
I’ll relay your feedback on our hold music to the appropriate department. I apologize for the wait time, Mr. Berry, but I’m here for you now. Let’s see if we can address your problem.

MR. BERRY
This computer’s a piece of crap that doesn’t even turn on!

LEIF
I’m sorry to hear you’re experiencing problems. Let’s look into that together. Can I first ask for the serial number, please?

MR. BERRY

(SNORTS)
"look into it"-- no one there actually knows how to fix computers, do they?

LEIF
I’m trying to help you now. I just need the serial number to start the process.

MR. BERRY
Why, so you can also pretend the number’s "not in the system", and pass me off to the next schmuck like last week’s bong water?

LEIF
I assure you I won’t do that. I just need the serial number so I can look up your computer’s configuration. It’s the only way I can help you troubleshoot. The serial number’s on a red or green tag on the back of the computer.

MR. BERRY
I know where it is, you jerks have had me read it enough times. It’s W43325-TF-1.

LEIF
Um-- that’s-- that’s an odd format. My apologies, but can I have you double check the number?

MR. BERRY
It’s the number on the back of the computer. I’m not a moron!

LEIF
I’m not saying that, Mr. Berry. Sometimes there are multiple numbers on the back of the computer. That may be the power supply, or the video card. It would be a huge favor to me if you could just check again. Do you have access to the back of the computer right now?

MR. BERRY

(ANNOYED)
yes, fine, whatever...

SOUND: SFX SCUFFLING BEHIND COMPUTER

MR. BERRY
I’m staring right at it-- back of the computer. Red sticker that says Serial Number. W43325-TF-1! It isn’t the power supply, it isn’t the video card, it isn’t a tap-dancing dust bunny. It’s the computer’s serial number! Red sticker on the blue faceplate.

LEIF
That is strange, our serial numbers start with IPC-- wait, did you say BLUE faceplace?

MR. BERRY
Yeah, the one covering the ports. Blue, like the buttons on front.

LEIF
Blue buttons? The computer isn’t just solid black or beige? There’s blue on it?

MR. BERRY
Yes, of course there’s blue on it! The case color was the main selling point for me.

LEIF
ooo... uh, the front of the computer-- are there any other buttons or markings?

MR. BERRY
The power button, the reset button, the CD ROM, and the Fruits logo.

LEIF
The-- Fruits logo? It isn’t a stylized "IPC"? Sir-- is this even an Initech Personal Computer?

MR. BERRY
No, I bought it from Tech Town PC.

LEIF
....!!! Sir, I can’t support another brand of computer!

MR. BERRY
Why not?

LEIF
This is the Initech Personal Computer support line! We only support Initech Personal Computers

MR. BERRY
Well, that’s just blatant false advertising! Your newspaper ad CLEARLY says you offer 24/7 Computer Support!

LEIF
FOR OUR OWN COMPUTERS!

(REGAIN COMPOSURE)
Sir

MR. BERRY
Well then, maybe you should rebrand your phone line to Initech ONLY Computer Support.

LEIF
That’s a-- suggestion.

MR. BERRY
So you’re refusing to fix my computer?

LEIF
I-- I can’t--

MR. BERRY
I bet you expect me to buy a new computer from you, huh? That’s your scam, isn’t it? Bait and switch!

LEIF
No, sir, not at all, but maybe if you called the store you bought your computer from--

MR. BERRY

(INTERRUPTING)
Oh, so now you expect me to start all over again on hold with THEM because you’re refusing to help me?!? What a waste of my time, and it’s all your fault! I’m going to file a formal, written complaint. Expect it along with my phone bill for the time you’ve wasted. Thanks for nothing!

LEIF
Have a nice d--

SOUND: PHONE HANGING UP ON OTHER END

LEIF
-- day sir.

SOUND: SOUND FX LEIF HANGING UP PHONE, SITTING BACK IN CHAIR

LEIF
Wow.

SOUND: LEIF STANDS UP, WALKS TO SUPPORT. SUPPORT FLOOR SOUNDS GET LOUDER. DARYL IS ON A PHONE CALL, HIS VOICE GETS LOUDER AS LEIF APPROACHES

DARYL
(SPEAKING WITH A LOUD, OVERLY CHEERFUL "PHONE SUPPORT" VOICE) Yes, ma’am. Start - Shutdown - Restart. Uh-huh. Yes, it IS silly that you click Start to Stop, hahahahaha.

(HIS LAUGHTER IS SACCHRINE SWEET)
The reboot and update can take up to half and hour, so I’ll let you go. Please call back and the next tech will guide you through the rest of the install. Have a great day and thank you for calling Initech Personal Computers.

SOUND: CLICK OF PHONE HANGING UP, THEN DOUBLE CLICK OF MOUSE

DARYL
And call closed!

LEIF
But isn’t the case still open?

DARYL
Sure, but the metric is "call completion", not "case completion". How did that escalation go?

LEIF
About that-- did you actually get his serial number during your call?

DARYL
Yeah, sure, but the number he gave was invalid. I couldn’t proceed with an invalid serial number.

LEIF
But didn’t you recognize the number format wasn’t IPCs?

DARYL
Sure, but an invalid number is as good as no number. The script’s only choices are for him to call back later, or escalate.

LEIF
If you knew it wasn’t an Initech number, did you even think to ask him if he was calling about an Initech computer?

DARYL
Of couse I knew it wasn’t and IPC computer. But the script doesn’t have that question to ask.

LEIF
Then ask the question anyways! Sometimes you have to go off script!

DARYL

(SHOCKED, TRYING TO KEEP LEIF’S VOICE DOWN)
Whoa whoa whoa... shhh... close my door.

SOUND: DOOR CLOSING, OFFICE NOISE FADING AWAY

LEIF
I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to attack your script-- I know it’s your baby-- but troubleshooting is a problem solving skill. Having a best practice guide is good, but maybe you need to encourage your techs to-- think critically.

DARYL
This isn’t about my script being a pet sacred cow. This is about the pile of gibbering helldesk morons out there being biologically incapable of coherent thought! I wouldn’t trust them to walk a customer through complex troubleshooting without a script telling them exactly what to say and do. Hell, I’m surprised they can walk without a cue card telling them "left, right, left, right".

LEIF
That’s a horrible thing to say about your team!

DARYL
But it’s true, Leif. I know you haven’t been with IPC long, but surely you’ve noticed the company’s main competitive advantage is "lowest cost". That attitude isn’t limited to the computers we sell. What caliber of worker do you think a "lowest cost" salary attracts? Idiots. I’m pretty sure that red-head in the front row is legally brain dead. Like, if Safety and Standards every inspected, we could be charged with improper storage of a corpse! I wouldn’t let them handle a computer without guidance. I’m shocked we let them have sharpened cutlery in the lunch room.

LEIF
That’s just a training issue! Have a troubleshooting primer. Have new techs shadow experienced ones for a while. Run educational Lunch and Learns on new techniques. It takes so little effort for such a massive return on the quality of support.

DARYL
No no no. A "lowest price" company isn’t concerned about quality. It’s quantity. Volume. Amounts. The bosses aren’t looking for the best technical catch, or the smartest troubleshoot. They’re looking at calls per hour, which really means cost per call.

LEIF
But the customers...

DARYL
"Lowest cost" products attract the sort of customers who BUY the lowest price commodities. Idiots. Drooling, gibbering morons. They can’t handle advanced troubleshooting either. They can barely handle breathing and controlling their bowels at the same time. It’s a miracle if a day goes by without a "drink holder tray" call. If I let customers and techs have their way, they’d tie up the line all day turning computers off and back on again. That’s why my script is the first, last, and only way of doing tech support. It’s fine-turned perfection at achieving Support’s goals.

LEIF
It doesn’t achieve that goal! It couldn’t even diagnose a simple problem that we had just now!

DARYL
And that’s just it. Solving the problem ISN’T the goal. They can have their problem solved, or hang up, or demand a refund. I really don’t care which, as long we achieve Support’s one and only true goal-- {let the gravity of this line sink in} getting the customer off the phone as quickly as possible.

Scene 2

NARRATOR
After a couple months at Initech, Leif got used to handling all the calls that the support script couldn’t handle-- or wouldn’t handle. Even with a sizable support team, the department could barely keep up. For each call completed, two more were waiting on hold. Since Leif was the escalation desk, and effectively autonomous from support, he adhered to achieving his own personal support goal for customers sent his way: actually solving their problems!

NARRATOR
But, as Leif would discover, having a reputation for solving problems meant that others would have an expectation for him to handle impossible problems of their own making...

SOUND: SOUND OF SUPPORT MIXED WITH SOUNDS OF PACKING. LEIFS PHONE RINGS

LEIF
Morning, Daryl. What’s with the packing?

DARYL

(ON PHONE)
Support’s relating to the office area downstairs. Something about it being closer to the fire exits. I think the bosses just want to save the cost of heating the upper floor come winter.

LEIF
Isn’t the downstairs office area, like, half the size?

DARYL
The term is "cozier". Or-- {hushed voice}-- half those desk just won’t get unpacked. By no coincidence, the month-end numbers will be in before the move is complete. {back to normal voice} Anyways, there’s an escalation ticket waiting for you. check your email.

SOUND: EMAIL BEEP

LEIF
Thanks, I’ll take it.

SOUND: DOUBLE CLICK.

LEIF
Okay, Mr. Wedgewood.

SOUND: DIALTONE, DIALING. RING.

WEDGEWOOD

(ON PHONE)
Yes, hello?

LEIF
Hello, this is Leif from Initech Personal Computers returning your call. I understand you’re having some OS issues?

WEDGEWOOD

(IS A VERY STRESSED, FRAZZED CALLER)
Please tell me you can help me! I just bought this computer last year and I can’t afford a new one. I’m just trying to run Aquarium Serenity 98 on my PC. Fishes are the only thing that keeps me relaxed, and I can’t afford real ones. Not like I could keep them in my apartment anyways. You gotta help me man!

LEIF
Certain. I see here in the case notes you’re trying to run Aquarium Serenity, but you have...

WEDGEWOOD

(INTERRUPTING)
No, it’s Aquarium Serenity 98. The new version, with the Malawi Cichlid. The blue/orange contrast is therapeutically relaxing.

LEIF
My apologies, Aquarium Serenity 98. I see in the case notes that unfortunately, you have Windows 95, and that program requires Windows 98, so...

WEDGEWOOD

(INTERRUPT AGAIN)
Yes, yes, yes I know I have to upgrade but no one will sell me the upgrade I need!

LEIF
That’s unusual. I’m certain we stock upgrades to Windows 98, and if we don’t then surely--

WEDGEWOOD

(STILL INTERRUPTING)
I can’t afford the full Windows 98 upgrade, and no one will sell me Windows 96.5!

LEIF
Sorry-- 96.5?

WEDGEWOOD
Yes, obviously! I explained this all to Kevin, the nice man who sold me the computer last year-- and he said you could charge me for half an upgrade, just enough to get Aquarium Serenity 98 running. He understood I couldn’t afford going from Windows 95 all the way to 98, but he said you techs could upgrade me halfway to Windows 96.5. But now no one will actually do the upgrade for me!

LEIF
I-- uh-- are you sure that’s what was recommended?

WEDGEWOOD
Yes, absolutely. Half an upgrade is the only upgrade I can afford. I need my fish!

LEIF
Uh-- can I put you on hold while I look into this?

WEDGEWOOD
Oh-- okay, yeah. That’s fine. Your music is very serene.

LEIF
Sure.

SOUND: ON HOLD MUSIC

LEIF
Oh boy.

SOUND: GETTING UP, WALKING TO SUPPORT-- NOISE OF PEOPLE ON PHONE, SHUFFLING EQUIPMENT, ETC. ON HOLD MUSIC FADES. TRY TO SOUND MORE FRAZZLED IN SUPPORT

LEIF
Hey, Daryl, do you know where I can find Kevin in Sales?

DARYL
Sure, corner cubicle. Can’t miss him. And hey, on your way back, can you grab me back a coffee.

LEIF
Huh? Um, okay.

SOUND: WALKING SOUNDS, DOWN STAIRS, GOES INTO ANOTHER OFFICE-- IT SOUNDS ALL NICE AND HUSH AND QUIET AND THERE’S NICE MUSIC, AND HE’S WALKING ON CARPET RATHER THAN CONCRETE

LEIF

(RADIO WHISPER TO SELF)
Never been here before. Swanky. {sniff sniff} Is that fresh roast? Focus-- okay, corner cubicle--

KEVIN

(ON PHONE, BOISTEROUS SALES PERSON)
... no, of course our computers are top of the line. You’re a smart guy, your kid could spill grape juice on the laptop, something could happen. So I’ll just get you that extended warranty, right. Yeah! So you just call support and you’re their number one priority! Pleasure doing business with you, and congratulations again for being an Initech Personal Compter owner. Bye bye

SOUND: KEVIN HANGS UP PHONE

LEIF
Hi, I’m Leif, head of Customer Service.

KEVIN
Nice to meet you, Lem. Ah-- I bet you’re looking to take advantage of that employee discount, are we? Get you a coffee while we look at laptops? The new models are beautiful.

LEIF
No thanks-- wait, you guys get a coffee maker? Never mind. I’m just here to talk about a customer. He was sent to tech support looking for an OS upgrade. Mr. Wedgewood?

KEVIN
Yes, charming man. Sold him his computer last year, and he was so happy with it he just called me back looking to do an upgrade.

LEIF
Yes, exactly. Somehow, he must have gotten confused about the upgrade, and called back to tech support looking for a "half upgrade" to Windows 96

KEVIN
Yes? And?

LEIF
.... and, I just wanted to know what you actually told him.

KEVIN
Well, that is what I told him.

LEIF
What? How can you tell him that?

KEVIN
How couldn’t I? Mr. Woodworm is a good customer of mine, I know y’all boys in tech support would take care of him great!

LEIF
But what you told him is impossible!

KEVIN
Aw, look man, it’d be a big favor. I know he can’t afford the whole upgrade, so just charge him for half and tune him up to 96.5. All he wants to do is see his silly dolphins.

LEIF
They’re fish.

KEVIN
Dolphins aren’t fish. They’re mammals.

LEIF
That-- ahh! No! There isn’t such a thing as Windows 96.5. There isn’t such a thing as a "half upgrade"! That isn’t how computers work!

KEVIN
Son, how computers work isn’t my department.

LEIF
But selling them is!

KEVIN
Yes? And?

LEIF
And you have to have some knowledge of what you’re selling! You have to understand what your customer’s technical needs are, and which are the best quality components!

KEVIN
Nah. All I need is the weekly spreadsheet with base costs, and to memorize the silly techie buzzwords with the highest profit margins. They need a cheap computer, and whatever bits and rams cost the least-- well, those sell the most. There’s a reason I’m #1 in sales by quantity every quarter...

LEIF

(EXASPERATED, DEFAEATED. STAGE WHISPER TO SELF)
There’s a reason we have so many support calls...

KEVIN
... and a #1 sales rep takes care of his customers, so I really hope you’ll do right by my man Walter Woods.

LEIF
There’s nothing to "do right" by! You promised him something that doesn’t exist, for half the price of the thing he actually needs! What do you expect me to do, upgrade him to Windows 98 at half price?

KEVIN
Well, heck, he’ll be thrilled at that! I appreciate it, Lem.

LEIF
Are you serious?!?

KEVIN
Absolutely. I’d never be able to sell something like that at a loss.

LEIF
But you expect me to?

KEVIN
There’s a reason your department is a cost center, while my department gets a coffee maker. Either that, or I guess you’ll just have to flush Mr. Wigglewood’s fish down the virtual toilet.

LEIF
... ugh.

KEVIN
It was a blast talking with you Larry. Stop by again when you want to buy that new laptop, alright? And-- grab a coffee on your way out.

Scene 3

NARRATOR
Over the next six months, Leif watched the support department get moved into smaller and smaller offices, and then finally into a converted room under the stairs in the basement. Initech’s dramatic drop in sales was a well known secret. Cost cutting measures were implemented across the company, hitting every department-- but missing the root cause of the problem entirely. Leif was under pressure to avoid replacement whenever possible-- and refunds altogether. He knew his decisions would be under scrutiny-- but until that one day, he had no idea to what depth.

(NEED TO ADD BASEMENT ECHO. LEIF’S DOOR IS RUSTY AND CREAKY. THE ONE TECH SUPPORT VOICE IN BACKGROUND IS DEPRESSED AND ZOMBIE LIKE)


SOUND: INCOMING EMAIL

LEIF
What does Daryl want now?

SOUND: DOUBLE CLICK, READING

LEIF
Regarding Ms. Edna Germaine’s request for replacement of... What? Denied? Oh come on!

SOUND: SQUEAKY CHAIR, RUSTY DOOR, ECHOEY FOOTSTEPS

LEIF
Daryl? What-- where did he go?

TECH
He said he’d be in Sales, getting a coffee. {cough}

LEIF
What? Come on!!

SOUND: WALKING OUT OF DANK ROOM, UP SEVERAL FLIGHTS OF STAIRS, THROUGH HEAVY OLD RUSTY METAL DOOR. TO CARPET, SAME SOUNDS AS BEFORE IN SALES.

LEIF

(NOT HAPPY)
Why did reject Mrs. Germaine’s RMA for a mouse?

DARYL
Oh, just a bit of due diligence. The bosses asked me to rein in the staggeringly high cost of returns. She broke her mouse, that isn’t Initech’s responsibility

KEVIN
This is THAT case? She thought it was a footpedal! Now that’s funny.

LEIF
She bought an extended warranty!

KEVIN
That doesn’t cover accidental or intentional physical damage.

LEIF
Then goodwill it! It’s an off the shelf commodity mouse for a customer who just dropped two grand on a brand new computer.

DARYL
Profits margins are already razor-thin on PCs and accessories. I’m sorry, hands are tied here. But tell you what, if she wants to buy a new, more rugged mouse, I’ll authorize half-priced shipping.

LEIF

(SARCASTIC)
Gee thanks, she’ll love that.

DARYL
Great, another satisfied customer! And speaking of which, glad you came around-- Kevin has a very important customer! He’s got a new laptop--

KEVIN

(INTERJECTING)
top of the line!

DARYL
-- that’s having a technical issue. Just need you to authorize the replacement.

LEIF

(RECOMPOSING, STILL SORE ABOUT THIS)
Whatever. Just forward me the ticket, I’ll look at it back at my desk.

DARYL

(VERY MUCH NEED TO GET THE SOMETHING OUT OF THE ORDINARY / PULLING A FAST ONE VIBE)
Already have the case open here.

LEIF

(SUSPICOUS BUT NOT SURE WHY)
Reeealy? Let me see the case notes.

SOUND: TAKING THE KEYBOARD, READING

DARYL
See? I’ve already confirmed it, all you have to do--

LEIF
He has an "Imploding keyboard"?

KEVIN
Oh yeah! It’s a very common problem with laptops these days.

DARYL
Already verified by the customer’s IT people! But... I knew you’d need proof so I had him send a photo. Here, check it out.

SOUND: HAND OVER MANILLA ENVELOP, OPEN, PAPER OUT

LEIF
What is this? It’s all blurry and black and white-- did you print it out like this?

DARYL
That’s the photo he mailed us. Perfectly acceptable. About that RMA number--

LEIF
It looks like a squid wiped its ass with it!

KEVIN
Looks fine to me.

LEIF
No. This "picture" isn’t proof. And "imploding keyboard" sounds like something Kevin would just make up. I’m going to call the customer and we’ll clear this up.

DARYL
There’s really no need--

SOUND: SPEAKERPHONE, DIALING

KEVIN
He is an excellent customer, and just wants to be assured that we stand behind the quality of our laptops.

LEIF
Oh, so NOW you’re worried about quality?

KEVIN
I, uhh--

SOUND: FINISHES DIALING. RINGING. PHONE PICKUP, CUSTOMER "MR STRATTON" PICKS UP

STRATTON

(ON PHONE)
Joseph Stratton speaking.

LEIF
This is Leif from Initech Personal Computers support calling about your laptop.

STRATTON
About time! When shall I expect my replacement?

LEIF
I’m just verifying the claim, but need a better photo of the damage. Can you resend it, please?

STRATTON
Excuse me, but don’t try to pull that on me. I went through EXTREME difficulty getting you this digital photo as requested. Don’t make me jump through more hoops. I’m looking at my copy of the photo, and it is as pristine as when I faxed it to office’s mail room.

LEIF
Wait, you faxed it to be mailed?

STRATTON
Of course I did, I’m not spending any more money on this laptop until it’s fixed, not even on a stamp!

LEIF
Then why didn’t you mail me the photo?

STRATTON
I’m not sending you my only copy of the photo!

LEIF
You can always print another photo if you needed a hardcopy.

STRATTON
You can’t PRINT a photo. Photos come from cameras! I was already developing this roll of film, so I didn’t mind that expense, but I was not paying for duplicates from the negatives.

LEIF
So this is a photo of the laptop?

STRATTON
Nice try, but no. Your tech support department specifically asked for a DIGITAL photo, and my camera is not digital. So I photocopied the laptop, since the Xerox is digital, and took a photo of THAT. And that is the digital photo you have. I’ve now provided a digital photo exactly as requested. Don’t try to pull a fast one on me.

DARYL

(STAGE WHISPER)
Leif, just authorize the request. I need this laptop replaced today!

KEVIN

(STAGE WHISPER)
He’s my best account!

LEIF

(DEEP BREATH, TRYING TO REGAIN CONTROL)
Okay-- okay-- Mr. Stratton, you have my sincere apologies for the confusion-- but--

(PAUSE, MOMENT OF TRUTH)
-- the moment you faxed the photo, it stopped being a digital photo and became a digital fax. I’m sorry, I can’t accept it.

DARYL

(STAGE WHISPER)
What are you doing?!?

STRATTON
Hmm. Yes, that makes sense. But the fact remains I have bought this very expensive laptop-- and I have no confidence in equipping my entire office with this model if I cannot be assured of it’s quality.

LEIF
A bulk order for your office? Ahh-- and there’s the quantity shoe dropping.

STRATTON
Pardon?

LEIF
Never mind. Look, Mr. Stratton, I could go through a whole rigirmoral of teaching you how to use a digital camera and email, but I think I know what I’d see from your "imploded keyboard". You’ve got a bunch of keys pressed inwards from a single spot, and cracks radiating out from that point. Right?

STRATTON
Yes, exactly!

LEIF
This is your first laptop, right?

STRATTON
Yes, it’s my very first one. And it’s been great, otherwise.

LEIF
They sure are. Don’t you love being able to just work anywhere with it?

STRATTON
Yes, it’s such freedom.

LEIF
Take it with you. Lounge on the couch with it.

STRATTON
So much freedom to work anywhere.

LEIF
Put it down, and get up for a nice refreshing stretch.

STRATTON
One must keep up their constitution when using these technologies.

LEIF
Forget that it’s on the couch, sit down on it--

STRATTON
Oh, it’s so easy to overlook-- I MEAN NO! No, not at all.

LEIF
Yeah, I figured. You broke it, Mr. Stratton, and that isn’t Initech’s responsibility. Unfortunately, your extended warranty doesn’t cover accidental or intentional physical damage. But if you’d like pay for the repairs, and a gesture of goodwill, I’ll authorize half-priced shipping.

STRATTON
Unacceptable! You owe me a new laptop! You’ll be hearing from my lawyer over this!

LEIF
Make sure not to sit on them.

SOUND: HANG UP OF PHONE

KEVIN
What did you do? We can’t afford to lose those sales!

LEIF
If you want to RMA it, do it yourself. I’m done being your cost center.

DARYL
But he’ll sue us!

LEIF
Let him. The quality of the suit is junk-- and low quality junk never stands up to actual scrutiny.

KEVIN
Initech can’t afford even a single lawsuit! It’ll be cheaper to give him a new laptop.

LEIF
Wow-- you guys will bend over backwards for one sales account-- but you couldn’t afford to replace a mouse. A single, bog-standard, off the shelf mouse. You’re both so blindingly obsessed with quantity, quantity, quantity! Well, you know what there’s a finite quantity of? CUSTOMERS! They’re a limited, and non-renewable resource. And they don’t exist in a vacuum. You think Mrs. Germaine is going to ever buy a computer from Initech again, when we screw her over a mouse? Nope. Never. BAM, one customer gone. And you think anyone SHE talks to is going to want to do business with a company that was more concerned over a tiny amount of money than a customer? Nope. Never. BAM BAM BAM! More customers gone. And the people they talk to, and the people they talk to. Each customer who gets a broken-out-of-the-box computer because you couldn’t bother to learn which motherboard is better manufactured? BAM! BAM! Each person whose call is "completed" without actually solving their problem? BAM BAM BAM!

Y’all love metrics-- but I can see them too. I know that our Dead On Arrival rate is an order of magnitude greater than the industry average. I know our incoming support calls to technician ratio is astronomic. The only thing I don’t know for sure is how close Initech’s costs are to being greater than the profit margin-- but judging from that phone call, I can make a pretty damn quality guess. And if there isn’t even going to be an effort to pilot this ship more ethically, then I don’t want to be here when it sinks.

I quit.

DARYL
Leif, I know you’re upset, but you can’t quit.

LEIF
I can. I did. And I didn’t even need a script to do it!

DARYL
Please-- I’m asking you to stay, as a favor to me. I’m understaffed, and you’re the best at support...

LEIF
I know, right? Total quality. Oh well. Bye.

DARYL
If you stay, I can get you a raise. Name it! What do you want?

LEIF
{beat} I don’t want this job. I don’t want your money. All I want is...

SOUND: SHUFFLING OF PAPER, GRABBING AN ENVELOP

LEIF
... this pre-paid mailer and... this!

SOUND: SFX OF MOUSE BEING GRABBED OFF DESK

KEVIN
Hey! That’s my mouse!

LEIF
Not any more. Now it belongs to...

SOUND: SFX SQUEAKY MARKER WRITING ON EVELOPE

LEIF
Ms. Edna Germain. I’ll drop it off at shipping on my way out.

Ending

NARRATOR
After Leif left, his position was eliminated entirely. The rest of the support department was replaced with an offshore team who could stick to a script, come in under budget-- and who performed with the exact quality you’d expect from a "lowest cost" support solution. Initech went under shortly after, and was bought up by their main competitor-- who also went bankrupt in short time and for the same reasons.

And as the 1990s drew to a close, so did the dynasty of low cost, high volume computer retailers. If you owned one of Initech’s PCs back then, Leif is truly sorry-- but he had no control over QC. Although he was powerless to effect change at Initech, his time there was an eye-opening lesson. Ever since, he’s dedicated his own career to ensuring that every job he does, regardless of the size, will always be of the upmost quality.

SOUND: OUTRO MUSIC

NARRATOR
For The Daily WTF, this was "Quantity of Service". In order of appearance, "Remy Porter" was Leif, "Mark Bowytz" was Daryl, "Lorne Kates" was Mr. Berry, Mr. Wedgewood, Nervous Technician, and Mr. Stratton-- and "Alex Papadimoulis" was Kevin. I’m your announcer Paul Rousse of "Voice By Paul dot com". Theme song was "Slow Burn", and on-hold music was "Mining by Moonlinght", both by Kevin MacLeod of incompetech dot com.

This has been a W.T.F. Radio presentation. After Credit Sting

(END CREDIT MUSIC FADES AWAY. ON HOLD MUSIC FADES BACK IN AND PLAYS FOR A COUPLE SECONDS. WE ADDRESS A PLOT HOLE)

WEDGEWOOD
.... uh, I hope they take me off hold eventually.

(MUSIC FADES AWAY. FIN.)