“Fools, said I, you do not know. Silence like a cancer grows.”—Simon & Garfunkle, Sounds of Silence
Government gridlock is over, and legislation to repair our crumbling infrastructure, bring down the price of drugs, comprehensive immigration reform, gun safety laws, and climate change have all passed the House and Senate and have been signed into law by President Trump. April fool.
On a more personal level, my wife and I have been dealing with an out of state financial institution to capture a favorable CD rate in our retirement accounts. We’ve been trying for six weeks, have talked to a dozen people, and they still can’t get it right. The drill goes like this: Call customer service number. Automated voice wants to help. We want to talk with a human—put us through to a customer service rep. We are experiencing a high volume of calls. Music plays. Your call is very important to us, please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order it was received. More music and advertisement about their loan rates. Finally phone rings and a person answers—never the same one we’ve talked to before. We describe what we want to have happen, as we’ve done numerous times before. Person on phone, an out-sourced contracted call center rep working from home, can’t do what we want, but needs to forward the issue to a branch rep who will call us back in three business days. Apparently three business days is their standard and we should just accept that. In the meantime we are waiting for the call back.
While the above experience is particularly frustrating it is not uncommon nowadays to experience a similar drill no matter whether you are trying to contact a private business or a government office. In the good old days you were able to call a number and talk to someone who could help, answer your questions, or resolve the issue right away. Now you have to go through their automated menu, told to go on line to their website, or leave a call back number. In other words, go away. Apparently entities can no longer afford qualified trained staff to provide good service. And, oh, by the way, please fill out our survey. April fools.
Upon analyzing it further, I’ve decided it’s my own generations damn fault. As the baby boomer pig in the python demographic goes through the years there are not enough younger people in the workforce to accommodate them. Managers decide to outsource customer service and automate. You call is very important to us.
Update: While writing this we were able to call the financial institution’s branch office, speak to a human who resolved our issue within twenty minutes. I like competent humans who are not April Fools.