Saturday, October 02, 2004

Garbage in, garbage out

Have you watched the film "The Net" starring Sandra Bullock? Some of us has since learnt that the computer is not always right, but obviously some people in this country don't think so.

We went to our favourite bookstore this evening. Yes books are really expensive here but at least a lot of the titles are available and its the books that keep me sane. We went there often enough to merit a 10% discount card and the manager there knows us by sight. How did I know that? One of our trips there he greeted us with, "You are always here aren't you?" Its a good sign.

However, the service can be appallingly poor especially when dealing with the locals.

We picked up a 3 copies of The Atkins Diet Revolution which had the priced marked as 35 dollars in local currency. However when the books were scanned at the cashier it come up the title "Die in plain sight" at 38 dollars in local currency. My husband pointed out to the cashier that both the title and the cost is not congruent to the book we bought.

I nudge at him and whispered, there is no use making a fuss dear, the computer is always right and winked at him.

But the Husband insisted that the cashier put it right.

Of course the cashier came up with the answer as I expected, the computer says its 38 dollars and it has to be 38 dollars. (The computer is always right.)

The Husband being the precise man that he is insisted that the cashier recheck the price.

The cashier told him to go to the second floor to check the price.

Being the meek woman that I am, I would have just conceded defeat and accept that the price is 38 (there is no point in arguing here if you are a woman, they ignore you anyways.)

But my husband stuck to his ground and told the guy to call the relevant section and ask the person in charge to check the price. So he called this guy on the second floor and tried to explain the problem to him. This guy came downstairs to the cashier to examine closely what the problem was. Realizing the title that came up on the computer is not the same as the title of the book he went to another terminal to check.

And then there was a huge deliberation.

It was obvious that the bar code has been wrongly programmed as reflected by the title.

But you see, the computer is ALWAYS right and there is no way that the intelligent humans in the store could do anything. They discussed how the problem could be rectified and decided that the best way was to give us a 10% on the title.

Of course the cashier didn't know how to input the discount in the computer. He had to call to the manager to help him ring it up in the computer.

Was it a good ending? Not really. We got a 10% discount from the books because we had the discount card. Instead of getting the book for 32.50 (10% off 35), we still paid 34.20 (10% off 38.)

Because you see, the computer is ALWAYS right. Despite the intelligence of humans, the computer ALWAYS determines the end result here, apparently.

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