Sunday, February 3, 2013

Coincidence vs. Contrivance

A lady rents a couple of movies one day in December. She has with her a gaggle of four children, their ages ranging from eight to three. The transaction concludes without conflict; she selects her movies, pays, and leaves. Hell, her kids didn't even do obnoxious things to the store.
About an hour after she'd gone, the phone rings.
-Ring ring ring-
Hello, Dominion of Movies.”
This is Indonesia Radula. I was just in to rent some movies.”
I wanted to get Men in Black 3 but instead you gave me Paranorman.”
Well, she certainly selected Paranorman as one of her rentals. Fernando digs through the rental slips to double-check that he hadn't done a stupid thing and given her the wrong movie.
Hmm...well, it seems that the tag I got was for Paranorman. That's no big deal, though. If you wanted to come down and swap it out, I'd be more than happy to.”
I'm not going back down there.”
Drat. Fernando fortunately has a second-string response to placate disgruntled customers. Sometimes Fernando fucks up. “Okay, then the next time you come in I can make Men in Black available to you, gratis.”
That's good.” Then she hangs up.
Three weeks later she returns, kids once again in tow. “Yeah, I called a while back about getting a free rental,” she informs Fernando. Her tone is condescending and waspish, but that cannot be allowed to rattle Fernando nor change the fact that he gave the woman his word that she'd be getting a free rental.
Indeed,” Fernando says. He happens to have a copy of Men in Black 3 in and he retrieves it for the woman's benefit. “Here you go.”
I want to get a different one.”
Well, one new release is priced the same as any other new release. “Sure thing.”
She throws down two tags, Frankenweenie and The Odd Life of Timothy Green. Fernando fills out the slip and fetches the movies for her. She pays for the one and leaves.
About an hour after she'd gone, the phone rings.
-Ring ring ring-
Hello, Dominion of Movies.”
This is Indonesia. It happened again.”
What did?”
You gave me the wrong movie.”
I did.” Fernando's tone is dry, and he retrieves her slip.
Yeah, you gave me Frankenweenie but I wanted Hotel Transylvania.”
I got the tag for Frankenweenie.”
Yeah. That's not the one that I wanted.”
That's the tag that I received.”
But you gave me the wrong movie.”
Nobody speaks for the span of ten seconds. Then the woman asks, “What are you going to do about it?”
If you'd like to come down and exchange them, that can be arranged.”
I don't want to come back down there tonight.”
Second verse, same as the first. Fortunately, Fernando possesses a measure of longitudinal awareness which extends back at least three weeks. “Ah. In that case, I'm afraid there's little I can do.”
These words are not taken well at all. “This the same thing that happened last time I rented!”
That is quite the odd coincidence, isn't it?”
I got a tag for Frankenweenie. How should I know that that isn't the movie that you actually wanted? Besides, this exact thing happened the last time you were in and that strikes me as a little weird.”
The lady hangs up on Fernando in a huff.

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