I lead a pretty charmed life. I was born in a developed country in a time where women weren’t enslaved or property. I could seek out a career that suited me and pursue that. I have been pretty lucky in all respects.

And now I’m going to whine.

Yesterday I mentioned on Facebook how much I’m disenchanted with the several times a day reminders from my Brother printer nagging me about low toner. This has already been going on for weeks. I have purchased a new yellow toner cartridge. Actually I purchased a whole set of all the cartridges because the other colors are going to start nagging me relatively soon, too.

But still, every morning I have to click on the OK button on a window telling me I’m low on toner. This particular window is only the first of several daily reminders and it unhelpfully doesn’t mention which of the four toner cartridges is actually the one that is in question. Then throughout the day, a smaller window appears briefly to tell me I’m low on toner. It doesn’t tell me which color is low either, but it does pop up with annoying regularity. And every time I print, an alarm sound goes off telling me of the urgent need to have some toner available.

From experience, I know that there is still lots of toner left in the cartridge and considering how rarely I print in color, this message is going to continue for a very long time. And then I will probably start to get one from the Cyan and one from the Magenta because everybody likes to be annoyed by technology.

If you go online and Google how to get rid of this annoyance, numerous links appear and they tell the interested parties exactly what to do for each and every model of Brother printer. It is all over my head even though I was once a computer technician and can disassemble, reassemble, and build from scratch a working computer. So the messages continue and I hate them.

All that, and it isn’t even my topic for today. You see, there is more technology that is bothering me.

I went grocery shopping yesterday. Publix has Old Fart’s Day on Wednesday and Harris Teeter has it on Thursday. This week I shopped at Harris Teeter. It wasn’t that good of an experience yesterday. A teenage man-boy bagged up my groceries and I had to rescue my loaf of bread from being squished. He loaded all the heavy stuff in one bag. I’m a weightlifter and could get it into my trunk, but I’m betting it would be difficult for someone else to have managed this. My mother couldn’t have hoisted it into there, for example.

As we finished the scanning of my purchases into the register, all my VIC Card discounts hit and my bill was $71 and then I told the teenage cashier (different from the teenage bagger but another male of the species) I was old. He looked at me startled and then realized I was asking for my Old Fart Discount.

The magic UPC code thing wasn’t there and so he got a book out but because the scanner was sensitive it started adding things from the book on to my bill. Then he tried to remove it and just added more things and then he finally got the several added things removed and put in my 5% discount. My total was still $71. I mentioned the math seemed incorrect and we never really figured out what was wrong with the system, but he just took something off my bill and I paid and came home.

One of the things I purchased was a watermelon. I usually buy them at Walmart because Harris Teeter is usually way more expensive. But they had watermelons on sale for the holiday weekend. I bought it and brought it home and since I also bought cherries, I ate those yesterday.

After breakfast this morning, I decided to cut up the watermelon. It lacked the water part. It was dry and fibrous and had holes where seeds would have been if this hadn’t been a seedless watermelon. It was, in short, inedible. I called the store and asked if they had a policy about this and they said I could come up and get a different watermelon.

Back when the world was young, or at least back when I was young and working as a cashier, a dissatisfied customer would have returned a bad item and then walked out with the replacement. But because of computers making life easier, that’s not what happens.

I had to go to the service desk and wait. Then the employee scanned my VIC card and returned my money for the watermelon, minus the 5% that I had discounted yesterday. Then I had to go get a new watermelon, go to a cash register (and I chose a self serve mistakenly thinking it would be faster) and try to buy my watermelon replacement.

The station was caught in some loop but I finally got it to start. Then I scanned my VIC Card, then I scanned the label from the watermelon. Nope. Wouldn’t work. It didn’t like the scan. You can’t scan the watermelon label because of reasons unknown to the casual customer. So you have to enter the number of the watermelon and then for reasons also unknown to the casual customer, you have to put the watermelon on the scale.

It is not sold by weight. It is only sold by the item number which was already entered. Then the damn machine wanted the watermelon in the bagging area where it didn’t fit. I finally convinced the machine to just let me pay. I gave back all the money I had been handed just ten short minutes earlier and added the extra for it being Friday instead of Thursday. I then drove back home. This entire project took about a half hour.

This watermelon is okay. But just. It is not the best watermelon I’ve ever had. It is the watermelon for which I have worked the hardest. I’m trying to remember that technology is my friend. But I don’t think it much likes me.


The dry, fibrous, unsatisfactory, sub-optimal watermelon