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    Scanning Ahead

    | Helsinki, Finland | Extra Stupid, Technology, Theme Of The Month, Wild & Unruly

    (I work at a second-hand store that mainly sells games and consoles, but also some computers and computer accessories. A customer is standing near the scanners, so I go to help him.)

    Me: “Hi there, how can I help you?”

    Customer: “I need a copier.”

    Me: “Unfortunately we don’t carry those.”

    Customer: “What about these?”

    Me: “Those are scanners.”

    Customer: “You can make copies with those?”

    Me: “In a way, yes. You can scan an image, print it and you’ll have a copy. It’s an okay method if you only need a few copies once in a while. For big volumes it’s not really that great unless you have a really good printer.”

    Customer: “I don’t have a printer.”

    Me: “Well a scanner won’t be a good solution as a copier then, unless you buy a printer also. We don’t carry printers unfortunately, since used printers are very unreliable.”

    Customer: “That is just stupid! What is the point of this copy machine if you need other machines with it also?”

    Me: “That is a scanner. Its purpose is to convert documents and images to a form that a computer can—”

    Customer: “Wait! Why are you talking about computers? I don’t have a computer and I don’t want one! I see what you’re doing. You just want to make me buy useless stuff I don’t need!”

    Me: “I can assure you—”

    Customer: “You can assure me of nothing! I’ll take that one.”

    (The customer points to the cheapest scanner, smiling smugly.)

    Me: “You will have absolutely no use for that without a computer. And I must point out that we are not required to give refunds on functioning products. You really should not buy that.”

    Customer: “I’ll take it!”

    (The customer grabs the scanner and walks towards the check out. I follow him, and before the cashier rings him through I stop him for a moment.)

    Me: “Sir, again I advise you not to buy the scanner, and again I’m informing you we will not be taking it back unless it’s broken. It’s a lot of extra work for taking back functioning products. We need to do some paperwork and test the product again before reselling it. So please, for all our sakes, don’t buy it.”

    Customer: “Here’s the money!”

    (The customer pays and leaves. I put a notice in our system not to take the scanner back unless it’s really broken. A few days later, I’m called from the office to the cash registers, and there he is; the same customer.)

    Customer: “This here piece of s*** you sold me doesn’t work! I want my money back.”

    Me: “How is it broken?”

    Customer: “Completely! It doesn’t do anything!”

    Me: “So I won’t be able to scan anything with it?”

    Customer: “No you won’t!”

    (We have a testing computer set up on the buy-in counter. I go through the process of hooking up the scanner while the customer watches. With a pen I write something on a blank paper, scan it and print out the scan. I hand the two papers to the customer. It says “No refund” on both papers.)

    Me: “Seems to be working fine.”

    (The customer grabs the scanner and storms out. We watch him as he throws the scanner to the pavement and shatters it, jumps into his car, and speeds off.)