Friday, November 02, 2007


Ever feel like that? Like you just don't get what you're looking at?

I feel that way a lot.

Usually the 'Huh' is followed by an 'Are you kidding me?' Yesterday was a case in point.

DH and I had the rare opportunity to go out for lunch. He had the day off and we had some errands to run, then decided to stop at a popular chain-style eatery for lunch. I'd never been to this particular place so I was looking forward to something new and I picked a trendy sandwich and salad combo and he decided on a sandwich and chips.

The clerk could not take our order because the computers were down.

We stood on line for maybe ten minutes while the employees and the manager shuffled around behind the counter looking like glassy-eyed pinballs. Nobody knew what to do.

While the line got longer behind us, the manager apologized for the computer snafu. "It will be just a few minutes," he assured us and then everyone stared at everyone and shuffled from one foot to the other and contemplated their navels.

I did a 'Huh?' Back in the good old days when I worked in retail [I was a teenager] - we did of course rely heavily on the computerized cash registers to tell us what to do, BUT we also had to know how to add up a customer's purchases and figure taxes if necessary and make change. Granted credit card orders which are a lot more prevalent today, would pose a problem if the computers were on the fritz, but cash was something you could keep on working with.

I wanted to climb over the counter and yell at the manager. "Has anyone got a calculator and a pen? Why can't you take orders the old fashioned way, make change and keep the line moving so people can eat [during the lunch rush?]."

The computer did not tell them to do anything by hand, therefore they could not.

Eventually they started taking orders and we actually got our lunch and ate it - but like a number of other customers, we hadn't paid for it first. After we'd finished, DH went back up to the counter and repeated our order so they could punch it into the computer and we could pay for it. I wonder how many people just ate and left, since the staff were completely unable to take anyone's money while the computer was down.

It boggles the mind.


Jennifer Elbaum said...

LOL -- I hear ya.

Put your writing skills to work and send a complaint letter to the company telling them they should have a contingency plan if the computers are down -- they may end up thanking you

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

But what if the computer tells them not to read it?? ;)