Computer Apps.

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The other day I rode around in search of a paper application. I went in and out of stores only to come up with handful of URL’s. For you see there is no more paper… it’s a virtual world. Apply Online, apply online, apply online.

One store did have a sign saying, “Apply inside.” Turned out to be a computer terminal. A lot of places have Internet terminals to use for “application purposes” only. They’re usually in dark lit corners of the sales floor; ’cause people without jobs are distracting and frightening to consumers.

Then I came upon 2 stores with “Now Hiring” signs. “Oh boy,” I thought thinking I would speak to live people. I did. They gave me two more URL’s.

“Now Hiring” and “Apply Inside” should read – “face a computer and cast your name into the void to enter the corporate headquarters job lottery.”

To give you an idea, here’s a section of my “to apply to” list that requires online applications:

Kinkos, Target, Circuit City, Comp USA, Staples, Office Max, Office Dept, Home Depot, Lowes, Publix, Walmart, Bestbuy, Sears, BJ’s, Kmart, Dillard’s, and Macy’s

It’s bad… what ever happened to the personal touch? The day before the other day I actually had an interview with JC Penny’s, for the men’s department. I got the interview thanks to my grandma who complained about the idiots behind the counter. The manager overheard her and struck up an instant conversation where she dropped my name and the fact that I’m not as big a clod as the one’s they apparently had already.

So I went and got interviewed. He liked me; trusted my abilities to learn sales-craft; saw I had common sense. He told me to fill out an application online to make it official. Wouldn’t you know it, but I failed the questionnaire on the application. According to the computer (a box with no eyes, ears or reasoning ability) and it’s set of pre-defined answers (a psychological profile comprised of a finite number of multiple choices of which not one applied to my situation), I was not qualified; thus the department manager (a man who rose to the top cause he had reasoning and problem solving ability) has his hands tied and must hire someone who passes the test (a trained monkey who will give the answers the computer wants to hear, then fall asleep on the tie rack).

Now that’s progress.

They say that searching for work is a full time job. Now, thanks to the miracle of computers, you can telecommute!


So it is with great honor that I bestow the first of many Kick-In-The-Shin Awards to the human resources departments of the mega-retailers in the world. Yes, the coveted Kick-In-The-Shin Award, which is given to most deserving of high-profile idiots, fools and backbirths without who the World would be a better place.

Mega retailers of the world, and indeed anyone who sifts though resumes and applications with the aid of a cold feelingless bit of plastic, your lack of the human touch is the bane of the unemployed sub-culture. Anyone can fill in the dots where they need to be in order to be labeled a prospective “good corporate drone.” Don’t let a scan-tron be your guide! Interview all applicants! You’ve got enough junior executives doing diddly-poo all day to cover it.

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Ryan Livingston

Ryan is an artist / writer out of Melbourne, FL.

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