except the idiot is a multi-million dollar logistics program
designed to streamline the work in the warehouse
so that all the most important tasks are done first
but it was rolled out too fast. Bugs never worked out
were left to infest and infect the whole building.
Now it speaks only one language
which is not mine, or anybody else’s, trying to use it.

Is math hard?

The monitor aboard the forklift instructs me
to pull down a pallet from thirty-five feet in the air
to load twenty boxes in a slot
that can physically hold only five.
I loaded those five, now it wants the remaining fifteen.
I told it no a few minutes ago
and I’m telling it no now.
In a few minutes, I’ll tell it no again
all in fear of the dreaded

The whole place is a mess. Its bullshit stinks
worse than the toxic swamp of a job I just escaped.
I can only stand it because it’s still better than being personally attacked.
Still one wonders how long they can put up with such a difficult environment.

Now the system only wants me to load five boxes
where I can fit thirty
and there’s no way to convince it to let me load more in.
Tell me what’s more efficient:
to pull a pallet down once for thirty boxes
or six separate times for five boxes per drop?

However, this is only my experience with the problem.
I see it reflected in the faces of everyone else
moving ever slower as the week goes on
under the burden of such a flawed system.
They are dead-souled, like I was
in the final days of my last job,
when my rage was barely kept together
behind a face always trying to smile.

These people tell me stories of the old system,
a better system.
A system that never crashed.
A system that gave them control.

A system that could count.

This one’s probably my favorite.
I load ten of a possible twenty boxes into the slot,
then the system tells me to put that pallet up,
pull a second pallet down of the same product
to load the other ten.

But I already have this pall-
just let me-

So I try to manipulate the system back to the first pallet
because that’s what would make sense, right?
But then I get hit with that dreaded

It all hearkens back to an interview question.
I can beat the inanimate object
and this system, though complex, is no different.
If I can tap into the logic behind the flaws
maybe I can start figuring out some of the kinks.

Then again, I was warned about this system in that interview,
through onboarding, through orientation,
my first day on the floor,and my first time working with it,
almost like everyone was trying to scare me away.

Makes me think.
Like, if we know about all these problems,
why are people still dragging their feet,
squandering their lives
trying to force it to work?

Then somebody mentions the names management can become
by getting the best of this experiment.
Somebody mentions the money poured in.
Somebody mentions they were so eager to satisfy their money,
they rolled out the system
before determining how many boxes a slot could physically hold,
before obtaining accurate inventory numbers,
before teaching it how to count.

Now, it dawns on me.
We have become nothing more
than a people imprisoned by corporate pride
and greed
and the disconnect
between idealizing leadership
and reality’s foot-soldiers.