Thursday, December 15, 2016


Dumbed Down World
By David K Scholes

Canberra, Australia

I had experienced my share of the increasing product and service failures that were part of our way of life. Meekly accepting this was how things were.

Yet when I started to have problems with my shiny new hand held short distance teleporter it really stuck in my craw.

The marketing hype had hailed this product as the greatest thing since base telepathy. Which itself had experienced all sorts of problems. Everyone knew the gap between marketing claims and actual product and service delivery had become a gaping maw and was growing ever larger. Though for reasons not apparent to me people didn’t seem to be doing anything about it.

My teleporter wasn’t the most expensive on the market but it did work, sometimes, and after a fashion. I once teleported 5 clicks which was way less than the advertised 50 clicks maximum range. Though even then it was in the opposite direction to what I intended.

I had gotten well used to the fact that the huge numbers of product and service failures were no longer anyone’s fault. I mean nothing was anyone’s fault any more was it? There was always a reason for the failures and it was never actually any real person’s fault. Sometimes it would be a system failure or not uncommonly fault would be attributed to a low level robot or droid or even a cyborg. Always these “scapegoats” were re-assigned to even lesser duties and the matter promptly forgotten.

I am a meticulous person and I kept very detailed notes on the assorted failures of my teleporter unit. I presented the manufacturer ACME teleportation services with all of these details by direct mind insertion to their 101 board members. Yet despite this highly direct approach I still ended up being dealt with by low level androids from the vexatious complaints department. The responses given me were so bland and so general as to bear almost no relationship to my complaint.

The media were my next resort since I was old enough to remember a time when this avenue of complaint could be effective. To my chagrin they took pleasure in my misfortune. Poking fun at me and somehow painting me as the clumsy culprit.

Despite friends warning me against it I lodged a complaint with the under-resourced Consumer Affairs Tribunal for Teleportation, Telekinesis and Telepathy products and services. Which, at that time, was still in existence.

Possibly not coincidentally, it was around this time that that I received a visit from two unnamed real persons and two back up droids warning me to withdraw my complaint to the Tribunal. I had thought the two humans to be only holograms but certain physical actions accompanying their threats made me realise they were very definitely flesh and blood.

Shocking though these actions were, what ultimately left me even more dismayed was the Tribunal’s sinister decision.

Finding against me in every aspect of my case I was ordered to pay all legal costs and to undergo a consumer expectations re-education course!

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The author has written over 170 speculative fiction short stories, many of which appear in his seven published collections of short stories. He has also published two science fiction novellas (all on Amazon). He has been a regular contributor to the Antipodean SF, Beam Me Up Pod Cast, and Farther Stars Than These sites. He has also been published on 365 Tomorrows, Bewildering Stories, the WiFiles and the former Golden Visions magazine. He is currently close to completing a new collection of science fiction short stories.

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