The young man flushed, swallowed noisily, tried to grin, and then hurried on huskily, "Sir, I'm the repairman you asked for; I'm here to fix your swibble."
The facetious retort that came to Courtland's mind was one that later on he wished he had used. "Maybe," he wished he had said, "I don't want my swibble fixed. Maybe I like my swibble the way it is." But he didn't say that. Instead, he blinked, pulled the door in slightly, and said, "My what?"
"Yes, sir," the young man persisted. "The record of your swibble installation came to us as a matter of course. Usually we make an automatic adjustment inquiry, but your call preceded that -- so I'm here with complete service equipment. Now, as to the nature of your particular complaint..." Furiously, the young man pawed through the sheaf of papers on his clipboard. "Well, there's no point in looking for that; you can tell me orally. As you probably know, sir, we're not officially part of the vending corporation ... we have what is called an insurance-type coverage that comes into existence automatically, when your purchase is made. Of course, you can cancel the arrangement with us." Feebly, he tried a joke. "I have heard there're a couple of competitors in the service business."
Stern morality replaced humor. Pulling his lank body upright, he finished, "But let me say that we've been in the swibble repair business ever since old R.J. Wright introduced the first A-driven experimental model."
For a time, Courtland said nothing. Phantasmagoria swirled through his head: random quasi-technological thoughts, reflex evaluations and notations of no importance. So swibbles broke down, did they? Big-time business operations ... send out a repairman as soon as the deal is closed. Monopoly tactics ... squeeze out the competition before they have a chance. Kickback to the parent company, probably. Interwoven books.
A swibble. What the hell was a swibble? And he was on the in, industrially speaking. He read U.S. News, the Wall Street Journal. If there was a swibble he would have heard about it -- unless a swibble was some pip-squeak gadget for the home. Maybe that was it.
You can find this story in The Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick, Volume 4: The Minority Report.
Thoughtfully, he added, "In fact I'd say the real war was a war over swibbles. I mean, it was the last war. It was the war between the people who wanted swibbles and those who didn't." Complacently, he finished, "Needless to say, we won."