Is Modern Technlogy Creating Stress?

February/19/2013 17:56PM
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I’m just giving three examples of how modern technology might be wearing us down.

Late last week I ordered some paczkis, a Polish pastrie traditionally made during Lent, from a bakery in Detroit. I ordered by phone and used my MasterCard. Unbeknowns to me, they put a security alert on the order and stopped all charges to that card. I went to use the card on Saturday and was denied. I called to see what was going on and some gentleman in a far away land advised me of the security issue. I told him to process the order. I got an e-mail from the bakery on Monday that the card was denied again. I called MasterCard and a nice lady in a far away land advised me that they don’t process security lifts on the weekend and then it’s 24 hours after the first work day.

During the shut-down of the the card AOL hit my account with a charge. It didn’t go through and they stopped access for their $4.95 charge. They, too, shut down for the weekend. On Monday we got this fixed. This was a benefit, since I forgot I was paying them $4.95 for their Internet Security through McAfee, and for back-up dial up. So, we got the account activated and no longer need to worry about paying AOL anything.

I went on line to order prescription medicine from my supplier, Express Scripts. I could not log on and was advised I had not qualified for Express Scripts for 27 months with a screen message denying access. In the 27 month period where I supposedly did not qualify, I had no less than 4 prescriptions filled.

I called my former employer Amoco, now BP, to see what was going on with Express Scripts. I had to input five answers by touch tone to get to the next step, then had a five minute wait to talk to a representative. Then, answer four more questions, three of which I had put in during step one. She advised me that BP had switched to Express Scripts/Medicare and many accounts were dropped from the Express Scripts Website in the transfer. Yes, I was still on the program and she would conference me in by phone with an Express Scripts representative. Six minutes on hold, dead silence.

She advised she had fixed the problem with Express Scripts and would put me on line with their representative. He advised that all my data at Express Scripts was gone. Addresses, phone numbers, log on data, pass word, etc. He filled the order, fixed the missing data, and gave me a temporary log-on and password.

I estimate that I have at least 2 hours invested in problems not of my making. How much productivity loss do we suffer while technology and outsourcing allow people we spend our money with to gain productivity. Just as politicians today engage in generational theft by stealing the futures of our kids and grand kids to give things to this generation that we can’t afford, vendors steal our time to save them money. I am pretty savvy about solving problems of the kinds mentioned above. I can’t imagine the frustrations of those who aren’t so savvy. What took me two hours might take someone who can’t deal with technology a day. With a lot more stress and frustration. If they walk away, the problems compound and solutions get harder.

The next time you spend time giving someone you buy from up-front information, maybe more than one or two times, think about the savings they get at your expense. Basically, they have you doing their work with no pay.

My last shot goes to the ever so efficient USPS. They cut Saturday delivery as the big solution to the big losses they run up each year. Anyone who lives in two places during the year gets to enjoy this. You fill out a forward mail form on-line or at the Post Office. If on line, you pay extra to do it to spare the line at the Post Office. Here, in Arizona, I get my mail at a set of community mail boxes. So, as the forwarded mail hits here for the first time, the name is unfamiliar to the highly paid union employee who puts the mail in the boxes. She doesn’t go back to the post office or call there to see if I have a box, she throws it in a bin that gets stamped “no receptacle available”, and several day’s mail goes back to senders with that stamp. Until a parcel too big to fit in the box I don’t have has to be brought to the door. I’m home and she asks “do you have a box?” Only for ten years.

I just had an experience where a bank in Michigan sent a check. The bank mailed the check to my Illinois address on February 1st. It got forwarded to Arizona. It hit the mailbox on February 14th, Happy Valentine’s Day. Saturday mail delivery is the least of the problems the USPS needs to fix. They can advertise all they want on TV, but they suck when it comes to getting the job done. Forget the nostalgia about the Pony Express, we still have the Pony Express, except they use planes, trains, and cars and the service may be slower than when horses brought the mail.







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