Plugged In for Dysfunction

Posted by Kathy on Apr 26, 2011 in Thoughts from ME |

I admit it.  I am one of those people who resists the new electronics.  I have mastered my computer – kind of – with the help of:

~ several patient strangers halfway around the world (“Look – it’s important for you to know I’m a complete idiot about these things.  Don’t use any big words”), and

~ my husband (“NO, I DON’T NEED YOUR HELP AND NO, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR HOW GREAT YOUR COMPUTER IS COMPARED TO MINE, STOP IT! STOP IT! STOP- OK, yes I would like some help please, Sweetheart.”)

I never want a kindle, a nook, or even a cranny for that matter.  I don’t want a smart phone.  I’ll stick with my bright-enough phone.  That’s about as much as I can tolerate.  And I wish stores and business would not rely so heavily on their electronics.

At least, I felt that way until recently.

Last week, I had a craving for rye bread.  I phoned (OK, yes, I used a cell phone, I never promised you I was an electronics virgin)…I phoned a local café/bakery and asked if they had any rye bread left.  Yes, I was told, but only one loaf and it was the large size.  Their large size loaf is about the size of the Titanic, but I caved in and asked them to hold it for me.  An hour later, I was at one of their many cash registers.  The teen behind the counter greeted me by asking “Do you have a rewards card with us?”  Actually, it was more like “DOYOUHAVEAREWARDSCARDWITHUS?!?!?!”  Huh?  Well, yes, but what’s wrong with a simple hello?  I mean, we’re about to share a moment over my rye bread purchase.  We got past that awkward beginning (which included her asking me again if I had a rewards card and once I produced the damn thing, she slid it four times into the card pad before it registered) and she finally rang up my purchase.

“$3.14,” she said.

I looked at the register.

“No, it has to be more than that.  It’s a large rye.”

She poked more keys on her computer/register.

“$3.14,” was her response.

I told her that was not possible – three times – explaining why each time.  I knew that was the price for the small size.  She insisted it was the price.  She read off what she had keyed in.

I finally paid and left.  The register had won and there was nothing to be done about it except make toast.

Some days later, I needed to return a pair of shoes to a shoe store at our local mall.  I had paid $29.99 for them.  I couldn’t find the slip, but I knew what I paid, the tags were all there, I knew I’d just get a store credit, which would be fine, and shoebox in hand, I went there.

Twenty minutes of conversation later, including a phone call to her store manager, and much arguing from me, the cashier had credited my credit card with the full amount of the purchase.  That all sounds fine, except – I had told her many times –I’d been given a 10% AAA discount when I purchased the shoes.

“I know,” she said, “but I have to credit you the full amount.”

“But I didn’t pay that much,” I insisted.

“My manager said I have to put the whole amount onto your card.”

I couldn’t believe this.

“But you’re giving me more back than I paid!” I could feel my voice rising.  “You’re getting cheated.”  All because of that stupid machine that doesn’t allow for human brain function any more, I thought.

“I know.”

Again, I tried to make sure she understood the concept.  The concept of an error.  In my favor.  Which I didn’t feel good about.  Which she couldn’t do anything about.  Again, she explained to me that this was (electronically) the only way it could work.

I am definitely buying a lottery ticket today.

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