He just stood there with the receipt in his hand. Nico had purchased some items for lunch at his local market. On checking his receipt he noticed he’d been charged almost $3.00 for two apples. So he walked over to double check the price and sure enough they were on sale for $1.99 a pound. He walked back over and caught the eye of the cashier who seemed quite put out at his return. You see, this was the express lane and traffic was slowing to a crawl. We don’t have time for mistakes here so the duty fell to the consumer who was hungry and suffering from rapidly declining blood sugar while trying to merge back into the express traffic.
“These are on sale for $1.99,” he said as he held up the offending apples.
“Well, they ring up at $3.99,” said the now multi-tasking slave to her scanner.
“You can see the sign from here,” said Nico, hoping logic might prevail.
“I’m sorry but they scan at $3.99. You’ll have to go to Customer Service, it’s right there.”
The express lane was backing up, traffic was not happy and now the onus was clearly passed to the consumer to rectify the computer’s error. Looking across the store Nico could see Customer Service and the line of four or five octogenarians, receipts in hand, clearly overcharged for apples or some other egregious behavior from a rebellious scanner.
“But you’ve just checked my groceries. The line is five deep, can’t you just fix it?” Nico bravely asked trying to re-merge but being cut off by a trucker in the fast lane with a full load of cold cuts, bacon and copious amounts of beer.
“Sorry, but they’ll need to fix the scanner. I can only ring up what it tells me.”
“Even though you can see the sign and know it’s incorrect?”
The “customer service” line raised their receipts in a sort of involuntary protest of computer thievery and solidarity toward a world spiraling out of control.
“This is what Kubrick was talking about,” thought Nico as he shrugged his shoulders and took a bite of a horribly overpriced apple. “Open the pod bay doors, Hal,” he said to no one in particular as the octogenarians looked on in chorus. He suddenly felt the need to go be rude to someone else to get even and the decline of western civilization continued while the computers all had a good laugh!