“It’s Davey from Blockbuster in Ramsgate: store code 260116. I’d like to place a large stock order, please.”
It’s a Thursday morning, rain is pouring over Ramsgate and I’m on an early shift at Blockbuster Video. I’m really miserable: I’ve had a terrible night with very little sleep, and I’m on my own for the first hour of the shift. The sky is dark, people are running up and down King Street trying to get out of the rain and there’s even a few rumbles of thunder suddenly being thrown into the mix.
The store lights are flickering, but the place is empty. Apparently, even the soaking wet customers are avoiding us now…
The girl on the end of the phone, a customer rep from T.H.E. (our stock catalogue suppliers) is tapping away on a computer and muttering something, but I’m pretty sure she’s talking to another guy in their office.
“Okay,” she says, eventually. “Go ahead, please.”
“35664. 1 copy.”
“35664: that’s Scream on DVD, 1 copy. Go ahead, please.”
“53677. 2 copies.”
“53677: that’s I know What You Did Last Summer on DVD, 2 copies. Go ahead, please.”
“76452, 1 copy.”
There’s a pause. Then:
“Can you repeat the number please?”
“I’m not getting that one: can I have the title, please?”
“Yes: it’s – er – oh, hang on: bloody hell: it’s the Eat Shit and Die Boxset.”
“Say that title again?”
“Sure. The ‘Eat Sh*t and Die’ Boxset?”
Another pause. Then: “Is this a joke, Sir?”
I look down at the catalogue page, but it looks the same as all the others in the book. I even flick backwards and forwards through the catalogue, in case I’m suffering some sort of hallucination…but it’s THERE.
“No. It’s no joke, but – wow – I know what you mean: I just can’t believe it’s called that!”
“Did you say ‘The Eat Sh*t and Die Boxset?’ Is that what you actually said?”
“Yes. It’s right here in your catalogue. No. 76452.”
“That definitely doesn’t exist, I’m afraid. I’ve searched under ‘Eat Sh*t’ and there are no variations on that title.”
“Sorry. I’m really not trying to make your job difficult: it IS in here, I swear.”
“Okay, but still…”
“Forget it. Can we skip that and go on?”
She’s trying not to laugh now, but I feel like a complete idiot and, even though she can’t see my face, I know I’m going red in the cheeks.
“53632, 1 copy.”
“53632: that is Labyrinth on DVD, 1 copy.”
“84622, 1 copy.”
A terrible pause. Then: “Nothing under that one. Can I have the title, please?”
I trail down the catalogue page, and I’m horrified when I find the title. In fact, I almost can’t say it.
“I don’t believe this. I can’t actually say it-“
“It’s – oh wow – it’s Nine Inch P*nis: The Return.”
“Nine Inch -?”
“-P*nis: The Return.”
“I think somebody in your store might be having a joke at your expense. These titles are definitely not on our system and I certainly don’t think we would stock them.”
“Er – yeah, totally. I’m so sorry: this is really embarrassing. I’ll call back.”
“Shall I go ahead and order the other titles?”
“Yes, if you would. Cheers – I mean thanks.”
I put down the phone, and it’s then that I notice – for the first time – that the entry has been made with a meticulously printed sticker, exactly placed beneath the last line of each order batch in the same font at the rest of the catalogue.
It’s at this point that the assistant manager arrives with a ridiculous grin on his face. He says: “Did you manage to order those films?”
You Want to Order WHAT? was originally written by Davey Stone in 2014.