LENGTH: 977 words
THESIS: Buying washing machines is dreadful
WHAT BUYING WASHING MACHINES IS LIKE: Ordering wine, "discussing chemical weapon formulae," getting kicked in the shins, "a loveless relationship," "slowly losing the will to live"
WHAT IT IS NOT LIKE: Buying a mobile phone, buying puppies, "dying in a nuclear inferno"
REFERENCES TO THE CIA, THIRD REICH AND KAFKA, RESPECTIVELY: 1, 2, 1
REASONS TO BE THANKFUL: "some phones have the decency to look ugly, thereby simplifying the decision-making process"
HOW TO GET CUSTOMER SERVICE ATTENTION: "I went on Twitter (yes, bloody Twitter) and angrily compared the Currys electrical retail chain to the Nazis"
Someone needs to go further and launch a chain called Shambles, where all the familiar shortcomings are actively promoted as part of the "experience". The staff wear ironic dunce caps and vulture costumes; if you want to actually buy something, they walk to a stockroom 10 miles away in a neighbouring county to check its availability, methodically harass you into taking out five-year cover using a subtle combination of CIA "extraordinary rendition" psychological techniques and unashamed sulking, then arrange for it to be delivered at 7am by a surly man who'll arrive 10 hours late on purpose, deliberately bring a BD4437BX instead of the BD3389BZ you ordered, attach a magic hidden "hobbling" device that causes it to malfunction immediately before the next bank holiday weekend, screw your partner, scare your kids, wreck your life, and break wind on your doorstep as he's leaving. All of which is heavily advertised as an integral part of the service.