Just forget the words and sing along

Friday, August 01, 2008

Modern Technology and People Who Don't Know How to Use It

I know there are those who lament that I don't write stories about my life on this blog anymore, and for that, I make no apologies. I know my bosses read this blog and there's just far too many stories about people getting fired over stuff that was written on their blogs. So I just decided a long time ago that it's better safe than sorry.

But, last night, I ran into something that was at such a level of ridiculousness that I have to write about it.

Yesterday afternoon, I was catching up on my correspondence. I sat down and wrote letters to friends cuz I'm like that. Now, I also wanted to include a recent picture of myself. My printer's been acting silly lately, and I don't have any high quality glossy photo paper, so I loaded my pictures onto a flash drive, and decided to head on down to the store.

I'm sure we've all seen these by now. Lots of stores now have these digital photo kiosks. You can plug in your flash drive or your memory card and print off your pictures. I find them quite nice, because the quality usually is better than my printer, I save on ink, and it's usually only 25¢ per picture. Here in Athabasca, there's two: one at the Rexall Pharmacy, and one at that wretched hive of scum and villainy, Extra Foods. So I was off to Rexall!

When I arrived, I found a couple of little old ladies crowded around the photo kiosk, trying to figure it out. I hung around the store for a little bit, waiting for them to finish. A clerk came over a couple of times to see how they were doing. I looked at my watch. It was 4PM. Since I had some other things to do in downtown Athabasca, I decided to go do my other things and then come back. I returned to Rexall at 4:30 to find those little old ladies still fussing over their photos and trying to get them just right before they printed them off. Exasperated, I decided to come back after supper.

At 7:30PM, I decided to head back to Rexall and try again.

Those little old ladies were still there -- three hours later!

They had pulled up chairs to the photo kiosk!

"Oh, I still don't like it. Let's try it again."

"That's not the original picture. That's the one we printed an hour ago! Where's the original?"

"Maybe we should go back to what we doing before."

I rolled my eyes and walked out of the store. As I really wanted to get my letters in the mail the next day, I really wanted to get this done. So it looked like I was off to that wretched hive of scum and villainy, Extra Foods.

Long time readers know my hatred for Extra Foods knows no bounds. I think it mainly has to do with the fact that, the two years I worked for them, is the only time in my life that I truly felt like I was wasting my life. It's two years I'll never get back. And Extra Foods took it from me.

Add to the fact that the customer service at Extra Foods in Athabasca is just lousy. I tried using their photo kiosk in the past, but there's never anyone working at their photo counter anymore, so when the kiosk flashes "Your pictures are ready! Go get the clerk to enter their password," you wind up wandering around the store for half-an-hour looking for someone to help you.

Understandably, there's no line at the kiosk at Extra Foods. I plug in my flash drive, push all the buttons, and it comes up. "Your pictures are ready! Go get the clerk to enter the password." Time for a half-hour of wandering around the store! This time, though, I just went up to a cashier, and was all like, "Dude, is there someone working the photo lab?" and he paged someone over the intercom.

And I finally got my picture!

So, for the stores that have those digital photo kiosks, let me offer two suggestions to make things easier:

1) How about imposing a time limit, so you don't have little old ladies standing there for four hours fussing over their photos?

2) Make these photo kiosks with the debit machines built right in, kind of like pay-at-the-pump gas stations. That way, when our pictures are ready, we can just swipe our debit card and get them right away, instead of having to wander around looking for a non-existent clerk!

I tell ya, it's enough to make me buy a new printer.

Ye gods, I'm turning this into a rant about poor customer service!

I don't know what's worse: poor customer service, or angry customers who decide to do something about it.

I went to the movies last week to see The Dark Knight, right? Usually, I forgo the snacks at the movie theatre, because I tend to see matinees, and I go right after lunch, and I'm not hungry. But this time, I was feeling thirsty, and thought I'd get some pop to sip on during the film.

I was seeing it at the Scotiabank Theatre in West Edmonton Mall. And the line I stood in, well, this line was slow. Really slow. Molasses in January slow. The entire soccer team in the line next to me was served before the guy three people ahead of me got served. But I decided to be patient. I decided to stick it out.

And then, the guy in front of me...it was his turn. And he decided to do something about this poor customer service.

He started reaming out the poor kid. "You f***ing suck! This is the worst customer service ever! How DARE you make me and my wife wait for so long! We deserve something for free! We deserve a free hot dog!"

When the kid went to get the hot dog, the guy started simmering. He grabbed every movie theatre employee that walked by. "Hey! Are you the manager? I need to see the manager! This kid is the worst employee ever! I need to complain to the manager!"

The kid gives this guy his free hot dog. The angry guy leaves, and finally it's my turn. As I'm ordering my medium pop, this hot dog comes flying out of nowhere and nails the kid in the side of the head. I hear the angry guy scream. "This hot dog is cold, a***hole!"

I finish ordering my pop. The kid gives it to me. I pay with debit. The kid looks up at me and says, "It went through. You can go now."

I look back at the kid and say, "Can I get my receipt please?" The kid goes white. Apparently, he's never been asked this question before.

I can see my receipt dangling from the debit machine. All the kid has to do is tear it off and give it to me. What does the kid do?

He goes over to the garbage, fishes around in it, and give me some other person's receipt.

And that's why I don't buy snacks at the movies.

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