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The Golden Age of Not My Problem

You apply for a job. You get an automated email saying thanks for your interest, we’ll contact you on the maybe, but probably not side. Have a great day. That was a computer program thumbing its teeth at you. No human eyes ever see your resume’. No one ever tells you they hired the boss’s nephew who isn’t at all qualified, but that’s on a need to know basis. And you don’t.

Your bank has an important message about your account. So a computer calls you and tells you something is messed up, please call them back. You call them back and a computer phone tree answers and requires you to select from four options, three different times. You hit the right button eventually and the computer tells you everything is fixed. Maybe it was never messed up in the first place. You’ll never know, because it takes 20 minutes of fighting with 800 numbers and phone trees and hold times before a human being finally picks up and tells you that you called the wrong department. Your phone battery is dying and CSI:Reykjavik Β is on in ten minutes anyway.

You get your policy information from your insurance agent and it says your home is insured for about $30,000 more than it’s ever been worth. Which means you’re paying a higher premium than you need to, because they’ll never give you what it’s insured for. You call the company and a nice man eventually picks up because you waited 21 minutes through 18 automated messages insisting your call is very important to them. The nice man tells you your agent will have to fix that. You call your agent and his voice mail system directs you to the phone tree for the company, where you wait 21 more minutes for another nice man to tell you that your agent will have to fix that for you. You call your agent again and again and he never answers. Three days later he calls you back and tries to tell you that it costs more to replace your house than the market value. You tell him in the nicest possible way that he is full of shit, and that he needs to fix your policy. He says he will get back to you in a few days, but you know he is more likely to roll over after he hangs up and tell his girlfriend what a jerk you are.

I don’t believe in a Golden Age of Anything. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when everything worked right, or when everyone was nice to each other, or when all people were rewarded for every nice thing they did.

But this?

We are living in the Age of You’re Not My Problem.

So have a nice day!

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6 thoughts on “The Golden Age of Not My Problem

  1. Boy oh boy, did you hit the nail on the head. Impersonal at best. After 30 years I told my insurance man to kiss off. I found a new one who will act the same way in 10 or less years. But at least I now know that they are all bullshitters; just like real estate agents and lawyers.

  2. As someone who’s worked in tech support, I can totally agree. We were rewarded for getting the customer off the line as quickly as possible. Taking time to help people drags down their call time. Not everyone is like that, but that’s the general trend.

    • Years ago I worked in a call center for General Motors, doing damage control for warranty complaints. But those people wanted their stuff fixed and to get off the phone. But yes, we were rated on our handle time, too. And there was a phone tree 😦

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