Today it is of nitwits that I speak…

If you know me or read this space regularly you know that I consider rampant stupidity, or moronitude, the chief problem facing our nation and probably the world.  Some days the level of idiocy that I encounter in a single day is just staggering.  Today is only a little over half finished and I have seen and experienced so much dimwitted behavior, so many systems obviously designed by mental midgets and just so many dumbshits that I really have truly reached my limit.  That our society doesn’t just implode from jackassery really ought to be worthy of some serious study.

Automated transaction interfaces are not new.  We’ve been living with ATM machines and other electronic transaction systems for well over a quarter century now.  And yet stand in any line to use such a device and you’re bound to be stuck behind someone who behaves as if he or she has never seen one before.  Today’s instance of this kind of moronitude occurred in line at the check-in counter for United Airlines in O’Hare Airport.  I ended behind not one, not two, not three but seven, I kid you not, seven people who when faced with United’s “Easy Check-In” terminals just flat out froze up and stood there.  The end result was me missing my flight because by the time I got my turn at the kiosk they’d closed check-in for my plane.  To say that I was ready to commit murder right there on the spot would be greatly understating my feelings.  I wanted to rip out the entrails of the shit-for-brains who spent 15 minutes directly in front of me at the counter pushing one wrong button after another.

The motivation behind United and most other carriers installing these self-service terminals is simple – if people can check themselves in the airlines don’t have to employ twenty people to man the check-in counter.  They can get by with four.  Of course the system only works if the customers are not half-wits.  Bad assumption.  On any given day I will find myself behind someone at an ATM machine who takes ten minutes to complete a simple withdrawal transaction that takes me one.  I’m not superhuman.  Granted, I’m comfortable with machines and computers, but these devices are, as I’ve said, not new.  Anyone with a bank account has been using them for years.  Not only that, they’ve been using them daily.  You’d think they’d get a clue.  You’d be wrong.

What’s astonishing is that these same people don’t cause thousands of deaths a day while doing far more complex tasks like driving their cars.  Some of these people no doubt work in hospitals and pharmacies.  Are they huge nitwits in those contexts as well?  H.L. Menken once said (to paraphrase because I can’t be bothered to look the precise quote up at the moment) that eventually America would get the government it truly deserved.  Perhaps this explains Dubya and the asswipes running the Congress at the moment.

My recommendation to businesses thinking of installing automated transaction systems or in the midst of evaluating the effectiveness of the ones they’ve got – set up a separate couple of windows for the mentally challenged.  Label them something like “Super Happy Fun Counters” or such, or dangle bright shiny things around them to attract the nitwits and display large warning posters over the automated counters that say “FAILURE TO USE THIS COUNTER PROPERLY WILL BE PUNISHED SEVERELY!”

To close, I just want to say thanks to the men and women who caused me to miss my flight today, spend four and a half more hours in an airport than I’d planned and have spend an extra $100 in order to get home at all.

Cheers to you United Airlines in your quest to cut corners and save money.  You’ve made a customer who already thought you were the worst airline in the world utterly convinced that you shouldn’t be in business at all anymore.  I intend to write my representatives in Congress to suggest to them that if they truly believe in market economics and the capitalist system that the next time your sorry piece of shit airline is in financial trouble it should do what all unsustainable businesses run by clowns do – cease to exist.

Huzzah unto you, my fellow travelers who are obviously too stupid and/or distracted to figure out how to use machines you’ve encountered thousands of times over the past 25 years.  I take great comfort in knowing that when the planet runs out of fossil fuels you’re probably too brain-dead to figure out how to survive.  In the neo-feudal society that is, no doubt, in our future I will enjoy collecting taxes from you, my soon-to-be loyal serfs.

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