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02/15/2005: "When The System Breaks Down"

Music: Neko Case
Mood: drinking coffee

The other day, I went with Laura to the Target at Santa Monica and La Brea. The Target is merely the anchor store for a recently constructed shopping monstrosity called the West Hollywood Gateway, but noone calls it that. For the conveneince of the shoppers, they constructed a large subterranean parking garage. It is the closest halfway decent Bradlees- esque store near our apartment, so we have become regulars there.

The last couple of trips, I noticed something odd going on. In an effort to cut costs at this wildly successful shopping complex, they got rid of all but one of the parking lot attendants and replaced them with guard- bots. Instead of giving your ticket and money to an immigrant, you feed your validated card into the slot and, if necessary, shove in your ATM card (because everyone has one, right?) to pay your toll in order to regain your freedom. I am sure this sounded good on paper, but on a Sunday afternoon, the system broke down. A woman in a BMW with a "Nixon/ Agnew" bumper sticker either could not get the robot to accept her ticket or the robot asked her for money. Either way, she flew off the handle and got out of her car and ran, screaming and yelling, to the human robot attendant, demanding her freedom. Meanwhile, the twenty or so cars that were piled up behind her, stressed out after their Tar- gay run, began honking like the monkeys that they were, so the attendant, who did not seem to understand what the woman was yelling about, could not hear her above the din. Luckily, through the luck of the draw, I did not choose the lane she was currently clogging, and got to watch the whole sordid scene with detached amusement.

We never discovered what the problem was, but after dodging consumer zombies for an hour it was quite amusing to watch the entire system brake down in such a spectacular manner. Luckily, the robot accepted my card without any incident. After we exited, I mentioned to Laura that next time we should walk to Target.


on Thursday, February 17th, awiggins said:

Target is teh suck!

Well written, I give this article two thumbs up.

on Thursday, February 17th, santo26 said:

why thank you, mr. wiggins. you know what they say: practice makes perfect and write about what you know. writing a piece every few days is keeping me limber- just need to keep up the pace!
february promises to be a record posting month here at the athenaverse...

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