Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Coworkers: Part 96 - The Kiosk‏

   Corporate coffers cracked open and Wherehouse Overlords finally plunked some nickels. Stores received brand new Internet kiosks. There was one catch. Kiosks only went to one website. The Wherehouse site. Customers could shop for New and Used CD's and DVD's. Place their orders, type in their shipping information, type in their credit cards, and a Used copy of Pat Boone's In A Metal Mood (deleted, the cosmic injustice of it all) would be speeding their way.
   Question. Why would someone want to type their credit card info in a public place? Where they might be observed? Why not use their home computer? I had no answers. That's why I wasn't executive material.
   The kiosk instantly became a doorstop.
   Customers shunned this flashy box of wires. Chain wide, kiosk became a buzzword for failure. Only employees used it. Useful to determine if a title was available or deleted. Employees could also order CD's, and we didn't have to enter credit card data. I found Used J-Pop and fadistas, cheaply priced, and ordered accordingly. I was the only drone who reeled items in, however. Joe merely hunted around for obscure Rap discs. J D kept checking to see if Aggravated Foe was listed.
   For all that, the kiosk was an Internet device. Coworkers pondered the implications mightily. Ryzer and John were especially intrigued. Early on, after rebooting the unit, they discovered the Pinball game. An icon was swiftly created so employees could waste time playing. If The Boss caught a minion messing, there was screaming. If I caught them I simply unplugged the damn thing. "Not during business hours," I rasped.
   From time to time someone would attempt to activate the Internet browser, which was switched off. Like frat boys attempting a convent of nuns, failure was assured. We lacked an Administrator's name and Password. We were defeated.

   One morning, two gents strolled in and flashed ID's. A roving I T crew going from store to store, uploading new firmware and programs for our file server.
   And the kiosk.
   One guy was completely nondescript. The other was dressed in bib overalls, sported a billy goat beard down to his stomach, and wore a stovetop hat. Envision Abraham Lincoln.
   They toiled at our location all day. Something out of the ordinary occurred while they were there ... actually ... while they were at lunch. A briefcase had been left wide open on a counter. The usual stack of papers were scattered inside. On the top sheet, in REALLY BIG PRINT were the words: KIOSK - ADMINISTRATOR - PASSWORD. There must have been Lonestar Leprechauns nearby playing tricks, because copies were magically created.

   The next week, a second Administrator (Sound Warehouse) was authorized, with the Password of "Peaches." Both were then buried in an innocuous, yet specific, sub folder. The corporate website remained on screen. Always.
   Yet the Internet was now available to all crew members, which proved useful.
   Because it was used.

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