Man: I really need some news, it’s an emergency
National News Service Adviser (NNSA): Certainly sir, just take a seat
Man: It’s really urgent
NNSA: I understand, we’ve got an excellent reputation for giving people the news urgently. Just take a seat and someone will be with you
Man: Oh, OK. Thanks.
An hour passes
Man: When will I be able to get the news?
NNSA: Oh, very soon, don’t worry
Another hour passes
Man: Can you tell me what the delay is?
NNSA: A lot of people want the news at the moment, and it’s a weekend so we’re short staffed.
Man: I see. I don’t want to be an inconvenience it’s just that I didn’t know I’d need the news in advance and from what I understand, everyone wants the news all the time, regardless of what day of the week it is.
NNSA: That’s true.
A day passes
Man: Is there anywhere else I can get the news.
NNSA: Of course, there’s a place just over the street.
Man: Oh, that’s great. I’ll go there.
NNSA: They’re very nice and you won’t have to wait at all for the news.
Man: I’m going right now.
NNSA: Just one thing, to get the news across the street will cost you an entire year’s salary.
Man: What! I can’t afford that. Who can afford that?!
NNSA: Virtually on one, that’s why there’s no wait.
Another day passes
Man: So when can I get the news from you? Can you check?
NNSA: Well, I can but they don’t like it when I do.
Man: That’s ridiculous. You can’t find out when you can provide the service you’re paid to from a colleague who is also paid to provide that same service?
NNSA: The problem is that it’s not just me asking. There are a hundred rooms like this, with a hundred people like you asking a hundred people like me to call and ask when they can have what they want. We don’t just give people the news here you see.
NNSA: No, we also publish every magazine on the planet along with every fiction and non-fiction book ever written. We also have a vast list of new writers we’ve signed up, plus lots of magazine and newspaper projects. We’re trying to give everyone what they want all the time for nothing, so if I call someone up and ask when I can give someone something they want, you can understand how annoyed they get.
Man: Why don’t you just not do all of that. Nobody needs it and if they want it they can just pay for it can’t they?
NNSA: Oh no sir, the man who created NNS said it had to be this way and so we can’t change it now.
Man: Where on earth do you get all the money to do all that anyway?
NNSA: When I said 'for free' what I actually meant is that you’ve been paying for it all your working life, just like everyone else has. But even that’s not enough money to do everything we want to, hence the current situation.
Man: So in trying to give everyone what they want, when they want it, all the time you, end up giving hardly anyone what they want, ever?
NNSA: Everyone gets what they want eventually sir, although some people wait so long for it they end up dying before we can get them it and then they become the news.
Man: Well, as I’ve been here a while, and it’s really urgent that I get the news, can you at least move me up the list?
NNSA: Well, er, no actually. You see we’ve only got one printing press, in use that is. We’ve actually got hundreds of the things but no one to operate them. You might think you need the news urgently, but there are lots of other people that we think need it more urgently than you do, so they get first priority, so you might have to wait much longer than you initially thought to get the news.
Man: If this isn’t a free service and I’m paying for it, I wan’t to make a complaint.
NNSA: That would be a very good idea. You can do that after you get the news. We encourage everyone to tells us about any difficulty they’ve had getting the news so we can pass it on to our bosses. Then they’re forced to improve things.
Man: Has that ever worked in the past?
NNSA: Not so far, no. But it’s always worth trying isn’t it?
More hours pass, slowly
Man: I’ve been here days now, I’m very tired, I’m just going to take a nap.
NNSA: Please do, but we will have to wake you up just as you’ve dropped off to check your date of birth and give you a tiny bit of news you won’t care about.
Man: I think I’ll just go home then and come back tomorrow.
NNSA: You can’t. The problem is, that the sort of news you want means you have to stay here until you get it. And you can’t eat anything until you do either.
Man: So I’ll be tired, hungry and desperate for the news until you decide I deserve to have it, even though I’ve paid to have the news all my life but I’ve only ever wanted it once or twice before.
NNSA: I can’t fault your logic sir.
Man: You’re so nice and polite and kind, I can’t be angry at you, but I’m seething inside.
NNSA: That’s good of you but you really shouldn’t bottle things up inside you know, it can be very bad for you. Luckily we have an excellent health service in this country, they’d soon sort you out.