I came across this story some 15 years ago, but can not remember the author or the original title (although I was certain it was "Please insert card").
- A man buys a book named "The Murder of Thomas Brook" (or some other name in the title)
- A few days later he receives a notice "Please Insert Card (for identification). Payment pending, please pay for your purchase". (each time he receives a message from the computer, it starts with words "Please Insert Card")
- He doesn't want to pay, because he already paid for it, so he sends an answer demanding to speak with a human being.
- He again receives automated answer "Please pay, or we will have to take this to court, bla bla bla..."
- After much conversation the case ends up at the civil court where it is taken by another computer.
- This entire time the man tries to reach a human being to try and correct the error, but all answers come from a computer.
- At the court happens another error - the case is wrongly forwarded to criminal court, instead of civil court. As the result, the charge is not for "Pending payment for 'The Murder of Thomas Brook'", but for "Murder of Thomas Brook".
- At the end the man stands trial for murder and is sentenced to death.
- Two clerks (or some other two persons) finally realize the error five minutes after the execution.
I have to think about this story each time when I order something from Amazon, but haven't been able to remember the name of the story.