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Summary: At this shop, you can purchase a new life in exchange for your old. This customer surprises the sales assistant by wanting something other than fame and fortune. Keywords: New life, consumerism, fame, conscience, selfishness, materialism, happiness.
Style: Lighthearted.  Duration: 7min
Actors: 2M/F Characters
Shop Assistant

Customer

Script

(The setting is a shop, Shop Assistant standing behind counter or table. Customer comes in and stands the other side of table. When the Shop Assistant points to each “life”, they should be on imaginary shelves behind him. The “model numbers” should be pronounced as decimals, eg. “eight point one”(8.1) or “two point nought” (2.0).)

Shop Assistant: Good morning sir, and how may I help you?

Customer: Hello, I saw your advert in the paper and you said I could exchange my old life for a new life this week.

Shop Assistant: That’s right - for this week only we’re offering free upgrades on people’s lives.

Customer: Well, I’m a bit fed up with my life at the moment. I’ve realised how self-centred and unkind I am, and I’m looking for a change.

Shop Assistant: So what model would that be that you’re returning?

Customer: (pulls receipt/piece of paper out of pocket and reads)… ah yes, it seems to be “Taking Care of Number One, Model 6.4”….

Shop Assistant: A vintage model, if I may say so, sir, a vintage model. I can certainly take that off your hands, sir. I won’t have any trouble getting rid of that one; selfishness seems to be “in” again at the moment. And what kind of new life would you be interested in? Perhaps I could interest you in this very new model, “Money-grabbing Materialist, Model 8.1.” Let me just read you the specification, sir: “Comes free with holiday homes in France and Italy, BMW Convertible and all the latest gadgets you could wish for. With this model, you can live your own life and not worry about anyone else. Runs with the usual triggers of greed, jealousy and pride. Terms and conditions apply, friends conditional on wealth and may be lost in the event of bankruptcy. Long-term happiness and fulfilment not guaranteed, but boy, will you have fun!” How does that sound?

Customer: I’m not sure - I’m really looking for something a bit less self-centred. You see, I’ve spent most of my life chasing after money and riches, and it’s not really made me happy in the long term. Have you got anything a bit less, well, materialist?

Shop Assistant: I have to say, sir, you’re the first customer I’ve had in here who’s not been impressed by that model. But perhaps I could interest you in “Z-list Celebrity, Model 5.8”? A very popular model, if I may say so. (reads) “Choose how you want to make it to stardom. Options include pointless reality TV series, selling your story to the Sunday papers or dating another Z-list celebrity; enjoy never having to do an honest day’s work again in your life, and spend the rest of your days appearing on celebrity specials of “The Weakest Link”, reading gossip about you and your chums in “Hello” magazine, and naming your children after random kitchen ingredients. Comes installed with vanity, laziness and leisure. Conscience and moral values not included; supplier takes no responsibility if fame and stardom prove short-lived.” Is that more up your street sir?

Customer: Not really. You see, I really don’t want to live a selfish life any more; I want to have a conscience, I want to love others as myself.

Shop Assistant: In that case, I don’t think I can help you, sir.

Customer: You can’t help me?

Shop Assistant: No; you see, all our models are geared towards the perfect selfish life, and none of them come complete with a conscience.

Customer: None of them?

Shop Assistant: None.

Customer: What about that one up in the top corner?

Shop Assistant: Oh that; that sir, is “Child of God, Model 2.0”, and yes, that does include a conscience, and it’s certainly not a selfish life! But you don’t want that one unless you want to become some sort of “Bible basher”, trust me, sir!

Customer: Why ever not? It sounds like exactly what I’m looking for.

Shop Assistant: If you take that model, people will look down on you, hate you, tell lies about you, and possibly put you in prison or torture you. No sir, I really wouldn’t encourage you to go with that one.

Customer: Read me what it says.

Shop Assistant: (reads) “With this classic model, you will be living as a risen child of God, and walking in the footsteps of his only son, Jesus Christ, learning to love others as God has loved you. It won’t always be easy- people may despise you, imprison you, persecute you” - see I told you so…

Customer: Carry on….

Shop Assistant: Where was I? ah yes… “… people may despise you, imprison you, persecute you, but God has sent his Holy Spirit to be with you and walk with you, and God promises that he will never leave you or forsake you no matter what happens (and God keeps his promises). And for those who acknowledge Jesus Christ as their saviour, there is the amazing reward of eternal life.” I’d forgotten that last bit. As you can see, sir, it’s not got nearly as much going for it as some of those other models I showed you, but it might be just the thing you’re looking for.

Customer: I think it is - I’ll take it.

Shop Assistant: Very good sir - would you like that gift-wrapped? You know the strange thing about that model? It sure doesn’t sound like an easy life. But with all the other lives I’ve sold - and I’ve sold a lot in my time here - I’ve had people coming back complaining, wishing they’d chosen a different one, asking to change; of course people have complained about this one, too, at times, sir, but when it comes to the end, I’ve never known anybody regret choosing this one…

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© Stephen Dilley, all rights reserved. This script may not be reproduced, translated or copied in any medium, including books, CDs and on the Internet, without written permission of the author.
This play may be performed free of charge, on the condition that copies are not sold for profit in any medium, nor any entrance fee charged. In exchange for free performance, the author would appreciate being notified of when and for what purpose the play is performed. He may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or, after June 2008, on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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