Interaction With an Automaton

Today at the UPS Store

Me:  Hi.  I’d like to ship another of one of these boxes I sent last week.

Clerk:  Oh yes, I remember you (types in my phone number).  Same address?

Me:  Yes, please.

Clerk:  Okay, that will be $37.50.

Me:  $37.50?  It was $13.50 on Friday.

Clerk:  Yeah, but this box is bigger.  See, this box is 14 inches wide, and the one you sent last week was 13 inches wide.

Me:  This is the exact same box, holding the exact same contents.  The dimensions are printed on the side.  See?  Thirteen inches.

Clerk:  Yeah, but it bulges out in the middle here.  I have to measure it at its widest point, not across the top.  I’m not trying to overcharge you, but I have to follow what the computer says.

Me:  It’s just plush toys in here, I can fix this (taking box off scale and smushing in the sides).  Try it now.

Clerk:  Okay, let’s see…. Oh no!  It’s puffing out again!

Me:  Measure it quickly!

Clerk:  Thirteen inches (punches it into the computer).  What do you know?  $13.50.  One inch makes three times the price!

Me:  Does that seem weird to you?

Clerk: It’s not my fault!  It’s the computer!

Me:  I know it’s not you, I just find it amazing.

Clerk:  Yes…it is amazing….

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