Worker (Screenplay)

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Half-Baked (1998)

INT. RETAIL STORE – MID AFTERNOON.

A struggling franchise store, in a quiet shopping centre. It’s well lit, bright and features items you would see in a $2 shop, only slightly upmarket.

It’s Asiatic themed, and neat, tidy and well organised. It’s a store you see once, explore once and forget the moment you walk out. Despite it’s blandness, there are customers milling around.

At the register is WORKER. Average height, build and looks, he is bored and tired. Eager to go on lunch break. He stares aimlessly at customers, and shakes his head to respond to queries, too lethargic to open his mouth.

EXT. SHOPPING CENTRE

A couple storms through the empty centre. Mid-50s, belligerent and stubborn, the WOMAN is pulling the man along, her hand gripping tightly onto the RETAIL STORE’s bag. The MAN has a supportive expression. Of the pair, the MAN is clearly the meeker one.

INT. RETAIL STORE.

WOMAN

Excuse me. Hello?

WORKER

Hi, welcome to …

WOMAN

Look, so I bought this a while ago.

The WOMAN hoists the bag onto the counter in haste. She pulls it open to reveal a humidifier.

WOMAN

However it has stopped working. I’ve tried everything but just stopped.

WORKER

So …

WOMAN

Soo …. I want a refund.

WORKER

Do you have a receipt for this item?

WOMAN

Here.

The receipt is faded and barely legible. The only visible part of it is the logo at the top. No date. No record of the item.

Worse, the Worker hasn’t seen the item in over a year. Making it ineligible for a refund. He is, hungry, bored and tired. Vindictiveness and passive-aggressiveness is now his standard solution to these type of customers.

WORKER

I’m sorry Ma’am, but I cannot give you a refund.

WOMAN

Why not?

WORKER

Because this receipt it too faded.

WOMAN

It’s not my fault that your receipts fade quickly. I bought this humidifier, and that’s the receipt that came with it!

WORKER

There is no date on this receipt. Do you remember exactly when you bought it?

WOMAN

I do’t know. Like a couple of months ago?

The Woman looks back at the Man indignantly.

MAN

Yeah … a couple of months ago, for sure.

WORKER

Are you sure about that? Because I have not seen this item on our shelves in over a year. How did you get this item, if it has been out of stock for nearly a year?

WOMAN

No, no, no. I bought this from your store a couple of months ago.

WORKER

That seems very unlikely.

WOMAN

Unlikely? Excuse me?

WORKER

As I said, we haven’t had this item in over a year. I am quite aware of what is on our shelves.

WOMAN

Where’s your manager?

WORKER

am the manager.

WOMAN

Oh you are? Well I have to say your customer service needs a lot of work. So are you going to offer me a refund or exchange or not?

WORKER

I’m afraid I cannot offer you a refund or an exchange.

WOMAN

This is unacceptable! I bought the receipt, and the item is broken.

WORKER

Both the receipt and the item have gone past our warranty policy. I’m sorry but I cannot offer you a refund.

WOMAN

What is your name!?

The Worker pauses before answering. He decides to give a fake name.

WORKER

Ben Over.

WOMAN

What was that?

WORKER

Benjamin … Over.

WOMAN

Well Ben. I will be taking this up with centre management and your company. I want your company email address. This has been a disgrace. I will never shop here again.

The Worker scribbles nonsense onto a receipt page. He is clearly enjoying himself too much.

WORKER

There you are.

WOMAN

This is pathetic. I can’t read this.

WORKER

I can.

The Woman brings her husband over. She wants support. She won’t get it.

WOMAN

Can you read this?

MAN

Yeah I think I can.

The Woman sighs. Her husband is useless.

WOMAN

FINE. FINE. Thank you. You’re going to hear a lot from me soon. Ben.

WORKER

Okay. Thanks for coming by.

WOMAN

URGH.

The Worker watches as the couple disappear. Shaking his head, he smiles to himself and goes back to being bored.

Author’s Note

Inspired by numerous retail experiences.

~ Damocles.

 

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