Get Out

, , , | Right | January 27, 2019

(I’m in line to pay for the parking garage at a self-serve kiosk in the lobby of a hospital annex building. Each person’s ticket has a barcode that the machine scans, then you pay, and the payment is registered to the barcode and you scan your ticket to get out of the garage. There are five people waiting in front of me. Each person swipes their credit card and the machine gives an error message that it’s unable to print a receipt. It’s finally the turn of the woman in front of me. The screen still shows the transaction of the previous person.)

Customer: “Oh…” *studies the machine and screen* “It’s not working.”

Me: “I think you just have to scan your ticket, that’ll probably trigger it to start over.”

Customer: “Oh…” *waves ticket in front of screen*

Me: “No, where it says to scan ticket.”

Customer: *waves ticket in front of the little platform that says to lay your ticket here to be scanned*

Me: “No, you have to put it there–” *points* “–where it says to.”

Customer: *successfully scans her ticket* “Oh! You were right!”

(Now she has her credit card out and it trying to decide where to put it. She inserts it in the correct slot and leaves it there. The machine eventually gives a message that it will time out, so she taps “continue” on the touch screen. And then waits.)

Customer: “It must not be reading my card!” *she takes the card out, and slowly puts it back in, and leaves it, and the machine times out* “Why is this not working! This machine doesn’t work!”

Me: “I think you need to insert your card and take it right out.”

Customer: “What? No, that’s not how you do it.” *again the machine times out, again she removes her card, again she puts it back in slowly and leaves it*

Me: “No, I really think you’re supposed to do it fast.”

(Finally her card is accepted, as she is turning to me for help so she doesn’t see it, but luckily I notice and tell her it worked. Then she gets the same printing error message everyone’s been getting. I expect her to just go, since we’ve seen this come up for everyone else.)

Customer: “What? Oh, no! It didn’t work!” *she turns to me* “It didn’t work! What do I do now?”

Me: “I think it worked. It said it accepted your payment. That just says it can’t print a receipt; it’s probably out of paper.”

Customer: “But what do I do? I can’t get out now!”

Me: “You only need your ticket to get out; the receipt’s just for your records, if you want it.”

Customer: “No, I won’t be able to get out! What do I do?”

Me: “You have your ticket; that’s all you need.”

Customer: “No, it won’t give me my ticket!”

Me: “The ticket in your hand is what you need. It says to see an attendant, so go see the person in the parking garage if you need the receipt.”

Customer: “Who?”

Me: “There’s always somebody on duty out there, they can probably help you.”

(FINALLY, she steps aside and lets me scan my ticket. I was waiting to pay longer than my appointment took, so the machine tells me my parking is free, and I quickly leave. As I’m walking out the door…)

Customer: “Wait! What about me? I can’t get out!”

(I have no idea if she got out or not. I hope she did!)

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