A Sideways Glare at Contemporary Society
I gave up trying to work with the electronics industry many moons ago. Techies and their minions all think they’re medieval village priests with a direct line to the One True God — and they’re insufferable because of it. However, recently I discovered there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Some of the folks might be real people, after all.
Let me explain:
I was killing some time and went into an electronics store to try and find a set of labels to identify which cord fits what in the ever-expanding octopus that now accompanies my technological life. FYI (and you know this) every digital device on this planet comes with a cord (cords?) They’re all black, they’re all tangled, each of them fits only one thing, and they’re everywhere. Anyway, I found what I was looking for — 10 sticky labels for a reasonable $9.95 — and went to pay. This is not the actual conversation. I’ve shortened it and taken out most of the swearing, but the conclusion is verbatim.
Perky Clerk: Good Afternoon.
Me: Hiya. Just this. (places item on the counter and fumbles in pockets)
Perky Clerk: Do you have our Rewards Card?
Me: Nah, I’m from across town. (pushes the item closer to the cashier)
PC: Would you like to get one of our Rewards Card, today? It’s free and you get a 20% discount on today’s purchase and 10% off any future purchases to a maximum of $1,000.00 a year. Plus, you get …
Me: No, I’m good.
PC: For example (Perky Clerk picks up item and scans it — N.B. all the sales information is now in the system) you’d save $2.00 plus tax.
Me: No, like I say, I’m from across town. I’d never use it.
PC: Our Rewards Cards are good at over 200 locations all across the country.
Me: I’m sure it’s a great deal, but really– no thanks.
PC: Alright. (Perky Clerk looks at me as if I were the Village Idiot’s half- witted brother) It’s up to you.
Me: (various grunts and shrugs)
PC: Could I have your email address?
Me: What? No, I don’t want the card. It’s just this. (pushes item at perky clerk)
PC: That’s fine, sir. This is for our warranty.
PC: All our merchandise comes with “Our Personal Guarantee” 90 day warranty or you can purchase an extended warranty for 1, 3, or 5 years.
Me: These are paper labels with glue at one end! What kind of a warranty am I’m going to need? No, I don’t want the warranty. (pulls money out of pocket)
PC: All our merchandise comes with “Our Personal Guarantee” 90 day warranty, sir. (Perky Clerk gives me the “Why are you being such an asshole?” look.)
Me: (lays the money on the counter) I don’t care. Here’s the labels; here’s my money. You don’t need my email address.
PC: (still perky) I’m sorry sir, but I can’t do the transaction without your email address.
Me: Yes, you can. I saw you. You scanned it just a minute ago.
PC: That was a price check, sir. The system won’t recognize a sale without an email address.
Me: I’m not giving you my email address. All you’re going to do is clutter up my computer with a bunch of sales crap I don’t want. (unruly muttering behind me)
PC: You can go to our website and decline our promotional offers at any time, sir.
Me: I don’t want to go to your web site. I don’t want your Rewards Card. I don’t want your warranty. In fact, I don’t want any of this bullshit. I just want to buy some labels and get the hell out of here. (straightening up defiantly while unruly muttering behind me gets louder)
Perky Clerk: Sir, may I suggest you quit being a douche and just give me a fake address so I can get on with my job.
Me: Oh — uh — right. Boy, do I ever feel stupid.
Perky Clerk: No worries. We get that a lot here.