Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Oh Good, Entitlement Tuesday Lives Up to Its Name

We have a scanner at one of the public intarwebz stations. I wish we didn't, since none of us can use it particularly well, and nobody is particularly interested in learning. It's basically there if you want to use it, but we don't scan items for you and we can't show you much more beyond the absolute basics. Sort of like the photocopiers.

I should know better, but I took pity on somebody who was not only innocent of scanners, but of computers in general. His was a simple request: take these two pages and get them on his flash drive. It should be a snap since the scanner has a button marked "PDF" on it. If you smack that button, the scanner will convert whatever is on the glass into a pdf. Just to be sure, I asked if he wanted a pdf of his pages. He did not know what a pdf was, so I went ahead and placed page one on the glass and pdfified it with the aforesaid button. I saved the result on the drive. Page two was next. I try not to read what people write, since it is so often some icky legal matter I'd rather not know about. I was very pleased with myself. He, less so.
"Why's it in two pages?"
"Because I don't know how to make two page pdf documents."
"I need it all in one, like this," he said, showing me the two sheets of paper I had just scanned. I didn't really think about the fact that the two pieces of paper were, in fact, two pieces of paper and not one.
"Well, would you like me to scan the text and put it in a Word document so it'd all be in the same document? I know how to do that."
"I just want it all together."
I repeated the scanning process, only this time did not smack the PDF button. The scanner OCRed the text right out and I pasted it into Word. I saved it on the guy's flash drive, told him what the name was and showed him where it was. Judging from his behavior, I guessed he wouldn't thank me. I'm usually bad at predicting the future, but this time I was right.
A short while later, he stomped over to the reference desk. He really did stomp, I heard him before I saw him. But see him I did. He was hard to miss, actually. His shirt was a weird yellow plaid* and he wore a bright orange ball cap with "Jesus is My Boss" on it.**
"You screwed it up."
"You screwed up my essay," he said testily, motioning me over to his computer. Against my better judgement, I went over again. He was unhappy that the text I scanned did not match his original. I tried to tell him that I didn't promise it would, only that he would have the text of his papers on the same doc, but his cell phone went off. He waved me off.
Some time later, he came back, but before he could start in on me, I told him that the scanner was self-serve and that he was welcome to try rescanning. He began to whine-bully that he did not know how to use the scanner. I rummaged around in the desk until I found the opaquely written scanner manual and offered to loan it to him.
It took little time for the stomping to grow too faint to hear.

* It brought to mind a phrase Bill Bryson used to describe a particularly ugly carpet pattern. It was the kind of pattern you usually only see when you've been rubbing your eyes too hard.
** I want to call his boss and report the employee's lack of basic customer service skills, maybe get him canned.

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