Five Things That Really Piss Chuck Bartowski Off
It had been nearly twenty minutes since Chuck got in the shower. Twenty minutes that he had just stood there underneath the hot water, mindlessly listening to Kevin and Bean as KROQ poured out of the waterproof radio hanging from the showerhead.
Finally, he turned off the water. Reluctantly reaching out of the shower into the comparatively cold bathroom, he grabbed a towel. He dried off, and then wrapped the towel around his waist, heading into his bedroom –
To find Sarah Walker and John Casey standing there.
"Goddammit!" he shouted. "What is the matter with the two of you? Do you have no respect for my privacy?"
Casey raised an amused eyebrow. "I have your bedroom bugged, Chuck. You have no privacy, remember?"
Chuck squinted at Casey, less than amused. "Yes, but I can't SEE the bugs, Casey. I can see you right in front of me."
Casey rolled his eyes. "Get over yourself, Bartowski. Grab some clothes and get dressed. We have a mission brief –"
He paused, and looked over at Sarah. Chuck followed his gaze, to discover that Sarah's eyes were fixed on him and seemed almost glazed over.
"Jesus, Walker, close your mouth before you start drooling," Casey snarked. Sarah snapped out of her trance – and immediately turned bright red.
Chuck grinned. THAT was certainly ammunition…
The American Telephone & Telegraph Company
Sarah walked up to Chuck, arms full of bags, and looked at him incredulously. "You're STILL in line?" she asked, disbelief in her voice.
Chuck turned a gimlet eye on her. "It's the new iPhone, Sarah. It's worth it."
Sarah shook her head. "In the time you've been standing in line, I've been to Victoria's Secret, BCBG, Coach, and Bloomingdale's, spent half my paycheck, and you've done what? Moved forty feet?"
Chuck sighed and turned to Sarah. "Yeah. Now, imagine if we'd gone to the Grove or the Beverly Center instead of coming to Sherman Oaks. I would've moved twenty."
Sarah rolled her eyes. "Fine," she sighed. "I'm going to go put the bags in the car. I'll be back in a moment."
Chuck nodded, and even though he was slightly annoyed at Sarah's lack of understanding, he couldn't help but watch as she walked away. She had him wrapped around her pinky finger, and he knew it.
A moment later, he reached the front of the line. He was practically bouncing when the Apple associate walked up to him. "Good afternoon, sir, my name is Dustin," he said. "Here for a new iPhone?"
"Sixteen gig white one, yes indeed!" Chuck replied with a grin. Dustin smiled. It was clear that he saw this repeatedly every day.
Chuck sat down at the counter and waited for Dustin's return. A moment later, he came back out, iPhone package in hand. "Alright," Dustin began. "So, are you a new AT&T customer?"
Chuck shook his head. "Been with them for nearly four years," he replied. "I have a first generation iPhone."
"Good," Dustin said, nodding. He got Chuck's phone number, the last four of his social security number, and his ZIP code, and put them into his handheld checkout device. Then he frowned.
"According to the system, you're not eligible for an upgrade, Mr. Bartowski," he said.
What the deuce? Chuck thought. "Really?"
Dustin shrugged. "Let me give the help line a call, see what's going on."
Five minutes later, he sighed and handed Chuck his phone. "They're switching over to AT&T customer service, so we can figure out what's going on."
Chuck was not amused, but he really wanted the 3G iPhone, so he took Dustin's phone, and proceeded to sit and wait for the next five minutes while on hold. As he was holding, Sarah came in, and sat down next to him, a questioning look on her face. "I have no idea what's going on," Chuck told her.
Finally, a customer service rep came on the line. Chuck explained what was going on, and the rep started to look into it. "Alright… so, you've been with us since October of 2004, is that correct, Mr. Bartowski?"
"Yes, that's right," Chuck replied.
"Okay, so I'm not sure… oh, wait a moment…"
Chuck didn't like the sound of that.
"For some reason, the computer thinks that you've only been a customer since October of 2007, which would keep you from being upgrade eligible until April of 2009."
Chuck's jaw dropped. "What the hell?!"
Sarah looked daggers at him. "There are small children around, Chuck," she said, sotto voce.
Chuck gritted his teeth. "Okay, so how do we fix it?"
"Well… I'm not sure that we can, Mr. Bartowski."
"The problem is… you changed your phone number last fall, correct?"
"Yeah, I changed it from an 818 number to a 323. So?"
"Well, the thing is, when that happened, it looks like there was some sort of data error in the computer. I don't have a way to fix it myself. What we can do is create a case file, send it to be investigated, and get things fixed that way."
"Okay, how long is that going to take?"
"It could take up to five business days."
"WHAT THE F-"
Sarah's hand clapped over Chuck's mouth, keeping him from completing the sentence. "SMALL CHILDREN!" she hissed.
Chuck sighed, and tried to regain his composure. "That is completely unacceptable," he growled. "Get a supervisor on the phone. Now."
The supervisor came on the phone. The supervisor told Chuck that the quickest they could resolve things would be twenty-four to forty-eight hours.
Forty-eight hours later, there was no resolution. Chuck told AT&T that he considered his contract with them breached. "I'm taking my happy ass on over to Verizon," he informed the corporate vice president who called him to explain the situation.
"Screw AT&T anyway."
grind grind grind grind grind
Chuck sighed and leaned his forehead against the steering wheel of the Herder. Why the hell was this thing not starting?
grind grind grind grind grind
He opened the glove compartment and pulled out the maintenance log. According to the manual, it had had a thorough down-check less than a month before. Not even fifteen hundred miles had been put on the Herder in that period of time.
grind grind grind grind grind
Casey came out of his apartment, and heard the motor of the Herder trying to turn over. "What seems to be the problem, Chuck?" he asked as he approached.
"Car won't start," Chuck grumbled.
"Sounds like you've got an air-fuel mixture problem," Casey suggested. "Pop the hood?"
Chuck did so. Casey lifted the hood and propped it up, and then popped open the air filter box. "Here's your problem right here, Bartowski!" he called.
Chuck stepped out of the car. Casey was holding up an air filter that looked like it had spent a day at the beach. "Holy hell," Chuck muttered. "There's no way that was replaced within the last month."
Casey shook his head. "No, there most certainly is not. Do me a favor, try to start it?"
Chuck nodded, and reached inside the Herder. He turned the key – and it started right up. "Exactly what I thought," Casey mused. "Okay, turn it back off."
Casey bent over and smacked the air filter against the ground, knocking a good portion of the dirt out. "That should do you until you can get a new one put in," he explained, putting the air filter back into the car. "Start it up again."
Chuck got into the car and turned the key – and everything went dead. Console, lights, everything. He sighed and leaned his head against the steering wheel. "I just can't win."
"Chuck Bartowski to guest services please…"
Chuck sighed and stepped out of the Nerd Herd booth. He hated working on Saturdays, because more often than not, he ended up pulling the manager on duty shift.
And now, he had one more annoyed and most likely annoying customer to deal with. He dreaded being called to guest services, because he usually ended up feeling worse than he did after leaving a gas station.
Oh well. At least Morgan was going to have to deal with it with him. Big Mike had assigned Morgan to "the Hole" for two weeks for screwing up a big sale that Casey had been making.
The instant that Chuck stepped into the guest services booth, though, he knew that this guy was going to be a problem. He just looked like a great big bag of douche.
His hair was slicked back with way too much gel. He had applied so much man tan to himself that his skin almost looked orange. He was wearing Dolce & Gabbana sunglasses and an Armani shirt that was only halfway buttoned. To top it all of, he was wearing jeans that looked like they had been through the Iraq War and had probably cost approximately the same amount as a Mercedes Benz.
"Good morning, sir, my name is Chuck. I'm the manager on duty… how can I help you?"
"Yeah, I need to get some gift cards," the guy replied.
Chuck nodded. "Okay, sir, not a problem." He cast a sideways look at Morgan, as if to say, Why the hell did you drag me over here for gift cards? He turned his attention back to the customer. "And how did you want to pay for those?"
"Alright," Chuck replied. "We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover."
The customer shook his head. "No, no. My credit. Personal line of credit. With you guys."
Oh. Now Chuck understood why Morgan had called him over. "Uh… I'm afraid we don't do that kind of thing, sir."
The douchebag looked back at Chuck, seemingly not comprehending. "How do you not do it? I get gift cards on my credit, you bill me."
Chuck raised an eyebrow. "It's store policy, sir. We accept credit cards, we accept traveler's checks, we accept personal checks, we accept cash. We only extend pre-approved lines of credit on large purchases – certainly not gift cards."
The customer lowered his sunglasses. "Listen, Chuckles. I'm gettin' some gift cards. Make it happen."
Chuck did his best not to laugh in disbelief. "I'm sorry, sir, but I simply cannot do that. You can either pay for your gift cards like everybody else does, or you can take your business elsewhere."
The guy's jaw dropped. Chuck wasn't sure anybody had ever spoken to him like that before. "Alright, fine, then. You go right ahead, refuse my business. I'll get this place shut down."
And with that, he turned and departed the store, leaving Chuck to mutter, "What the fuck ever," at his departing form.
Online Forum Moderators
Chuck grinned as he logged into Mighty Big TV. He had some interesting comments to make about the latest episode of Mad Men.
He pulled up the forum for the episode, hit "Quick Reply," and then typed in his comments. He hit post –
And got a message. THIS ACCOUNT HAS BEEN BANNED.
Chuck's jaw dropped. "What the FUCK?!"
Chuck cringed as Sarah's voice reached him. She had been working on him to stop cussing ever since he had moved in with her a month ago. "I'm not going to kiss you ever again until you clean up that mouth of yours," she had told him.
"Does that mean that if I clean it up, you'll kiss me again?" he had shot back.
She had smiled mischievously, and Chuck had been able to clearly read the Yes in her eyes, but it was a coy, "Maybe," that came out of her mouth.
And while that was a damn good incentive to get him to stop cussing, sometimes it just came out. Like right now.
You were condescending and rude to the other posters, the explanation said. Even if you had been right – which you WEREN'T – enough is enough. You're banned.
The moderator who had signed the ban note went by the handle MBTV Bayliss. "Well, screw you too, Bayliss," Chuck muttered.
He looked at the post. It was in the Torchwood forum. Chuck had used a quote from The West Wing – "Post hoc, ergo propter hoc" – in an attempt to inject a bit of levity into a post trying to help clarify spoiler rules.
Not that he could do anything. Once an account was banned, MBTV rarely reinstated them. Chuck sighed, and logged out. "New account, here I come," he muttered.
Author's Note: Mighty Big TV used to be a real website. It is now known by a different name. I'm sure most of you can figure out what the current name is.