When Technology Goes T**s Up!

Quickie from Andorra – keeping you abreast of the chicken acquisitions in this part of el mondo.

So what’s this got to do with IT? Simply, that, whereas there was once a manual over-ride option, nowadays there seems to be none. Here we are talking retail – supermarket, buying a chicken. A chicken, I should add, that had a price sticker on it, as well as a bar code.

Yes, it had only recently been put on the shelves (sometimes the smaller Andorran supermarkets are a bit like Eastern Europe once was. Stuff appears randomly and you buy it when you can; if my old biz partner and mate Bob Walder reads this he’ll guess I’m talking about “Compra Be”) but they have had a computerised system in place since before I started shopping there four years ago, so you assumed it was “in the system”.

Except that it wasn’t. So, after many fruitless and foul attempts at passing said chicken under the bar code scanner the hassled till woman called on the local IT experto (not me in this situ) who shook his head for a good 60 seconds before attempting any new techniques.

By this time, the queue was quite long and everyone was looking at ME. So, the guy starts to key in various codes to no avail; chicken gets taken away, brought back (probably off by now, but I was determined to get my €3.43 chicken), taken away, brought back… In the end – and we are talking some time now, they put it on the scales, calculated the weight against some ficticious per kilo price, then deducted the necessary amount to get it down to the sticker price (all explained to me beautifully in Catalan – I attempted to nod at the right times) and I had my chicken at last. The wonders of technology…

Footnote: when I got back and checked my bill, I found they’d over-charged me 23 cents on my green beans (or haricot verts for restauranteurs). And I only bought those TWO items…

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