Tuesday, October 11, 2011
Don't Get Me Started
I am dealing with some genuine, real anger, and it has to do with my experiences over the past few days with businesses. I have been trying to find out what’s going on with a package that is coming through both UPS and the Post Office. It’s like a double whammy of “Oh no. Please no.” And I have been trying to buy groceries and do the normal things of life. But things have decayed to the point that you almost don’t want to leave the house or ever talk to one of these companies ever again. It is more becoming more true than ever before in human history that people are just numbers.
The only thing worse, these days, than not getting any customer service is actually getting it. Through the use of our wondrous technology, every company in the world is eliminating that dreaded problem of actually having to talk to the actual customers who are actually trying to use their actual products and services. For the customer it’s all actual. For the companies, it’s becoming more and more virtual. They put a virtual human beings voice on an answering machine, and if you don’t tell that virtual voice what it wants to hear, it says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.” And they try to make the voice sound really sorry that it “doesn’t get that.” But the reality is that you either do it their way or you don’t do it all.
I have found that if you scream really loud at the virtual voice, “I want to talk to a real person!!!” then that sometimes trips a menu that they don’t tell you is there and a real person comes on the line. And this is where your problems really begin.
This real person does NOT want to talk to you. They know you were not happy with the virtual voice, they know your problem has some actual complexity to it, and they are now a mediator between you and their virtual, computer based problem solving information systems. Now it’s their job to deal with the virtual voice and they don’t like it. When you tell them what your problem is, they click on the virtual voice on their own little computer. The virtual voice tells them “I didn’t get that,” and so the real person says to you, “Hmmm. Well, that’s not supposed to happen.” So now you’re dealing with both the annoying virtual voice and an employee of some big company who is working hard to get you off the phone without really helping you, but hoping to make you feel better about it somehow than you did with the virtual voice.
And don’t get me started on the grocery stores (too late), where you are expected, more and more, to behave as if you are an employee of the store. Last night I was at Meijers grocery, and as I was walking to the one and only human operated checkout, the girl turned off her light. When she saw me, two seconds later, she just shrugged her shoulders like, “Oh well.” I said, can’t someone ring these up for me?” I had quite a few groceries. But she just shrugged. Do it their way or you can just leave. You get to ring up your own groceries, solve pricing issues, bag your groceries and do it all with a disinterested employee watching from a distance, treating you like an idiot if you have a problem with their computer system. Pretty soon they’ll have us stocking the shelves and sweeping the floors for them and they’ll still act like they’re doing us a favor. And don’t think for a second that this is just at Meijers. K-Mart, Walmart, restaurants, gas stations, it’s all becoming the same beast.
Whatever. I’ve complained enough. But, seriously, it’s about to put me out of my mind.
Peace to you.
© LW Publishing 2011