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Ripped-off consumer gives new meaning to ‘texts’ of Shakespeare

Generally, consumer protection advocates advise individuals who believe they have been scammed to report the incident to the proper authorities, not to take matters into their own hands.

-Britain Businessman BardAnd while that certainly is sound advice, that doesn’t mean we can’t find at least a little amusement in the story of the 24-year-old Englishman who chose the latter approach — with the help of William Shakespeare and his trusty Shakespeare iPhone app.

The Consumerist, a not-for-profit subsidiary of Consumer Reports and one of my favorite consumer news sites, carried a blog item today about a story that was first reported Tuesday in the Bristol Post.

Upset that he never received his PlayStation 3 console from an online seller after paying in advance with a direct bank transfer, Edd Joseph first contacted police in a bid to recover his money.

When police told him there was little they could do, Joseph decided to exact his revenge on the seller — one irritating text message at a time.

Finding a Shakespeare play on his iPhone browser, he proceeded to copy and paste it into the text function of his phone. Once he hit the send button, it began transmitting the complete play in bite-size bits of 160 characters at a time.

So what does that mean in terms of the number of texts per play?


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Apparently, the average Shakespeare play consists of roughly 22,600 words, according to the Post story, which translates into 792 text message for each of his works.

So far, Joseph has texted 22 of Shakespeare’s 37 plays — including “Hamlet,” the longest, at 1,143 texts — which breaks down to an eye-popping 17,424 text messages.

If he persists in transmitting the complete works of Shakespeare, all told, he will have delivered 29,305 unwanted texts.

And in case you are wondering, yes, he has an unlimited text package, so his act of revenge didn’t cost him a dime.

“I’m not a literary student, and I’m not an avid fan of Shakespeare,” Joseph told the Post. “But I’ve got a new appreciation, you could say — especially for the long ones.”