This hasn’t been a funny year, so I probably needed a good laugh. I didn’t expect the laugh to come from a wild and crazy computer glitch.
Generally, computer glitches are not funny. They make me crazy and I wind up screaming first at the computer and later, at some poor helpless tech adviser who doesn’t know anything and can’t help me because well, she doesn’t know what to do.
Usually, Audible.com has excellent customer service. They were excellent before Amazon bought them and they have continued to have great service. But the thing is, I never actually needed technical support from them. At most, I wanted to return a really boring or badly narrated book and needed to get back my credit or refund.
Yesterday morning, after my son called at 8 in the morning — with good news — I figured I’d go back to sleep for a couple of hours. Except the phone started ringing with people who wanted to know if we owned a property in Boston.
“No,” I said, “We do not own any such property.” We used to live nearby, but that was 21 years ago, before we moved here. The phone kept ringing. I’m assuming whoever does own the property is trying to sell it and I’m taking a wild bet that it’s the other guy with the same name as my husband. There is one. He has not only the same name, but the same spelling and he has popped up before. He was a nuisance to Garry in the past and apparently still is, albeit indirectly.
Now that I was wide awake, I figured I’d listen to a new book. Except I couldn’t get any of them to download to my Kindle. I absolutely hate the new format they’ve forced on my Kindle. No one asked me, but it’s a pathetic interface which manages to be too simple for the functionality of the device and very limiting to a user — at the same time. Initially, I figured it must be the fault of the format and they had “fixed” it again. But that wasn’t it. Something else was wrong.
I gave up and decided to chat. The chat turned into a phone call. I explained the problem to the first person and she transferred me to another woman. She listened and transferred me to a third woman who managed to help me upload the books, but there was still something wrong. It’s like when your computer is acting weird, you just know something’s wrong. You don’t know what’s wrong, but something is going on. You haven’t found it — yet — but you know it’s there.
Later in the day, I went into Amazon’s “Contents and Devices” to see if something weird was going on in my audiobook library.
There sure was! It was stuffed with copies of the New York Times. Their daily Audio Digest. I don’t mean a few copies. It was thousands of them and my library had leapt — overnight — from 2,050 books to more than 4,000 books. Even considering I’ve been a member of Audible.com since 2002, that’s a pretty big leap in size. So what happened?
She couldn’t see the New York Times digests but she could see the shadows of something filling my library. There were too many books, even considering I’ve been a member for 20 years. She had me switch browsers and computers, but the problem remained. I had, by then, tried deleting as many as I could. I had deleted all of 2021, 2020, and 2019. There seemed to be an infinite number of the audio digest. I had a deranged image of me sitting in front of my computer, deleting those digests until death finally took me away.
As soon as she was able to see the digests, she realized it was an Audible issue and not a Kindle malfunction. She transferred me to someone at Audible who really knew her stuff. A few minutes later, she had deleted all the digests. There were, in fact, 2,000 of them. She explained that it was a new feature but maybe they’d gotten a little carried away.
A new feature.
I said: “Who could possibly think uploading 2,000 audiobooks into my library was a good idea?”
She said she’d suggest that it was an idea whose time had not yet come. I pointed out that at 74, I wasn’t going to live long enough to read 2,000 digests of the New York Times. Not that I don’t like the Times. I do and I subscribe to it, but I can’t imagine wanting to listen to all the news since 2006.
That was when I started to laugh. She retracted that it was intentional and said it was a glitch. I don’t know if it was someone’s great idea gone wildly awry or a genuine glitch. I think it was a great idea gone awry and I hope that, if nothing else, I may have discouraged them from doing this again.
I said: “OMG, couldn’t they at least give it a separate department? Like, say, ‘audio news digest’ rather then stuffing 2,000 books into my library — and making it impossible to find anything because I’ve got 2,000 audio digests filling up every bit of space in my library.” I started to laugh and I couldn’t stop.
I told her that this was by far the funniest thing that had happened to me since the beginning of the pandemic and it was going to make a great post.
“I’m sure it will,” she said. Dryly. I notice they did NOT send me a copy of the chat which they normally would do. I think they were afraid I’d write about it. But I’m writing about it anyway because it was hilarious. Whether it was a glitch (a 2,000 book glitch?) or an idea that didn’t work out as planned, it was the funniest moment since the pandemic started nearly a year ago.
In the end, I didn’t have to spend the rest of my natural life deleting copies of the New York Time Audio Digest. Maybe this will discourage them from making grand gestures without at least asking the user if it’s okay.