Computer says “no.”

4 Feb

Based on the unemployment statistics, it sounds like the market is filled with overly-qualified people seeking work. And yet I continue to run into people in customer-facing roles whose only demonstrable quality is a pulse.

Last night I went to the library to pick up a book I had put on hold months ago. My book club just selected it as our next pick, so imagine how thrilled I was to receive an email notifying me that the book was ready and waiting for me at the library. Awesome timing!

So yesterday, despite feeling like crap (meaning I was coming down with a wicked cold), I hoofed it to the library on my way home from work, anticipating the reward of a hot bath, mug of tea, and escape into the novel’s initial pages.

But the library had other plans for me. If the librarian helping me had had a sense of humor, she might’ve screamed, “You’ve been Punk’d!” and pretended Ashton Kutcher was going to pop out from under the counter. Instead, she just frowned at the computer screen and said, “Computer says it’s unavailable.”

“But I got an email saying it was waiting here for me to pick it up,” I explained, pulling up the email on my phone as evidence.

“Well, I’ll look, but the computer says it’s not here.” And to her credit, she did look. But she returned empty handed.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” she said, clearly not sure what to tell me. Her voice had no emotional depth to it and her eyes didn’t even blink. At this point I decided she must be suffering from a closed-head injury, because surely she should care more.

And that’s when an ugly little thought took hold in my mind. What if SHE wanted to read the same book? And she spotted its arrival at the library and decided to just help herself and remove me from the queue?

I decided to see if could tease any semblance of a confession from her.

I tried guilt, “Ma’am, I’m sick and I just walked 25 minutes through the cold just to get this book. Are you SURE it’s not lying around back there somewhere?” No dice.

“Have you read it yet? It’s supposed to be fantastic!” I tried, thinking she might reveal her excitement or interest in reading it. Nope.

“Next time,” she told me, “You can call us first to make sure it’s here.”

“But isn’t that the point of the email you sent me?” I asked.

She just looked at me like I was stupid, and I’m pretty sure we were playing a game of “mirror” at that moment. That’s when I knew I was sick, because who plays Mirror with someone they’re previously assigned to a special needs category?

Realizing how low I’d sunk, I decided it was time to pull the plug on this day.

I walked straight home and ordered the book on Amazon, where I was guaranteed I wouldn’t have to interact with another human. And where the processing speed on the transaction was a bit faster.

One Response to “Computer says “no.””

  1. Alicia February 8, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    dude, I can tell you’re sick because your clipart image is sweet. Microsoft circa 2000, maybe?

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