Wednesday, November 19, 2008

I Can't Do My Job

First, about a week ago, I told Princess Artster Jodie Moat Monster I would feature her website on my blog, so here it is: Check it out. Jodie does some really fun, colorful and creative stuff, including experimenting with the plaster jackets we discard in the dino prep station after we empty them of their fossil contents. Good stuff!

So, yesterday was an exercise in patience for me. It was less that I had a splitting headache yet still interacted with people, and more that I interacted with people who have excuses for lame behavior at the corporate and academic level. I did some screaming, frankly. Here are the results I have compiled, of events:

1- If you are a can-do person who likes results, efficiency, simple functioning of technology for which you shell out your hard-earned money, DO NOT PURCHASE ACER COMPUTER PRODUCTS. If you want the entire 5+-month lowdown on this situation, please ask me and I will be happy to share when I have cooled off a little. For now, just knowing that hearing "we can't" repeatedly from people who work for the business, when you have purchased a machine in good faith that your money is paying for function, not dysfunction, is not acceptable, especially if you personally and professionally are someone who "can."

2- People who work daily with computers and are paid to do so, in clerical tasks, do not necessarily do their jobs correctly. I know; hard to believe, especially if you tend to be someone who does your job, for the most part, correctly, and at least apologizes and remedies a situation when you screw up. Something like 2 years ago, I spilled a glass of water, and it ran into two books about Albania that I had taken out of the University of Wyoming Library. One was a $9.95 picture book. The other, I don't know the retail cost, but it doesn't matter so much. I was charged some crazy amount of money for rebinding one and replacing the other, as well as $15 EACH for a "billing charge." Grudgingly, I paid the rebinding and replacement fees, but I held off on the $30 billing charges, on principle. (And despite my repeated attempts to communicate with Library and Billing administrators, I received no reply so that I could discuss the matter.) Aren't the people who bill me paid a salary to bill me? Isn't that part of the Job Description? The Duties associated with that position? Why is an extra charge attached to a normal job function, when there is already a budget for the work? Eventually, I was banned from taking books and videos from the libraries, getting official transcripts of my academic career at the University if I needed them, and so on, so I sucked up and let The Man have his way.

Yesterday, however, when I went to check out a couple books, I was told I had overdue charges on two books. "And those books would be titled..?" I asked. "I don't know," the young man at the Circulation Desk told me. "It doesn't tell me that on the computer." "Well, I'm not interested in paying fees for some books that presumably are overdue when I don't even know what they are." (I could not recall, wracking my pain-filled head, any time recently that I had even borrowed books, much less returned them late.) Of course the boy was puzzled; he did not know what to do. I imagine people normally just pay the fee and get the hell out with their books. Smooth ploy, Cashier's Office! So, he looked a little deeper (give this kid a bonus!) and discovered the fee was $30 for damages. "I know what that is!" I said. "Something like 2 years ago, I spilled water on a couple books about Albania, and I paid the fee." So, a girl behind the desk got on the computer to the Cashier's Office (ostensibly) and returned a verdict a couple minutes later that I was free to take the Tolstoy and the bar tour book and go. Before I went, though, I asked the guy who checked out the books if this would continue to happen to me: that I would be arrested at the Circulation Desk for an unrepented crime which I have already rectified. He assured me that the situation was now taken care of. We shall see.

3- (No, I didn't forget I was in the middle of a list here.)
REALLY, people who work daily with computers and are paid to do so, in clerical tasks, do not necessarily do their jobs correctly. Something like what I described with the library situation occurred later in the day when I sat down to look over a credit card statement and found I had been billed late in October for a service I had canceled early in October. Guess what? When I called the company, lo and behold, the representative on the line discovered that despite my relaying to him a cancellation number I had received at the time, I was still on the rolls as a member! I await next month's credit card statement, in which a refund should have been applied, with great relish.

OK, so I know I've done some bitching here this morning, but hey, think about it. What sorts of encounters have you had lately, without even a puke-inducing headache to spur you to a frenzy, that are similar? The FFM called last night, and in an hour-long conversation, we spent probably half the time not only with me regurgitating what I have yiped about above, but with him doing the same about his own computer and printer situation. Peeps, you see what's going on here, right?

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