Posts Tagged ‘technology’

Blog Fodder

Posted: September 14, 2013 by Nerdy Woman in Blog Fodder
Tags: , , , , ,

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since I last posted here. Shame on me. My only excuse is completing 35 units in two semesters to graduate with honors and receive four Associates’ degrees. I could not have done it if NerdyGirl hadn’t reminded me about eating and sleeping and such.

My motivation for writing today is what I call “Blog Fodder.” Life events that make one want to rant and rage and shout about something. I really think we earn life XP for these things.

I’ve been studying programming and after working through the night, I fell asleep about 6 am. At 8:01 am, I was awakened by a phone call. It was an automated message about my DirecTV appointment. I’m not a DirecTV customer and hung up. Ten minutes later, a second call about my DirecTV appointment. This time, I listened through it and when asked if the 8:30 am appointment was okay, I replied NO! The disembodied recorded voice then asked if I’d like to reschedule or cancel. I said CANCEL! The bot then replied that could not be done and that I would be transferred to a representative…. At last, a live person, presumably with a brain.

Ricardo was pleasant enough, considering he was dealing with a sleepless zombie who wanted to inflict harm. But he informed me that he could not remove the phone number from their account record… I haven’t lived all these years without learning that CSR’s are powerless minions, so I asked (okay, insisted) to speak with his supervisor. Ten minutes of classical music (Note to Call Center managers everywhere: violins through phones sound like fingernails on a chalkboard and do not sooth your angry, impatient customers), and Ricardo comes back, again telling me the phone number cannot be removed from the account record and that all supervisors were busy and it might be some time before one could speak with me.

Keep in mind that I’d had only two hours sleep and that I’d just endured the equivalent of fingernails on the chalkboard for 10 minutes… I told Ricardo he had three minutes to get me a supervisor or I’d be calling the FCC (I don’t know if it is the FCC or FTC who handles such complaints, but I know my tax dollars pay for someone to address grievances against big business). He relegates me to the violin concert again… I don’t know if he made the three-minute deadline, but soon enough I was speaking with Daniel, a call center supervisor.

Apparently, my phone number has been in their system longer than it has been assigned to me. In other words, it once belonged to their customer… Daniel explained that their system did not allow them to remove contact information from account records and leave the field blank. I get that. So I told him to replace my phone number with his own since my number was of no value in attempts to contact their customer. I also told him that if they’d set an appointment with their customer without verifying contact information, then shame on them. And so it went. Ultimately, he did replace the phone number with a DirecTV number so that I would not be bothered again.

I love/hate technology and automation. I have another anecdote to share about bad customer service caused by decisions made long before the encounter. Next time.


I was born the year John Kennedy was elected president. While air travel was common, many people and first-class U.S. mail still traveled cross country by 3-day train trip. Like most middle class families, our house had one phone. It was black, had a round dial, and we had to dial 5 numbers to make a local call.

The year Ronald Reagan was elected president, I worked for a bank using a teletype machine. And 5 years later, I was using a computerized typesetting machine, complete with 5.5- and 8-inch floppy disks (they were the predecessors of USB flash drives and much, much bigger). That was the year after Apple introduced the Macintosh computer in a bleeding edge commercial depicting society as an Orwellian mass of lemmings following IBM’s lead (IBM was the company that introduced the personal computer to most people by making them something you didn’t have to build or program yourself).

With personal computers came a new buzzword: Desktop Publishing. Everyday people could now print documents, advertising, newsletters, and yes, even books, without going to the local printing shop.

Tens years later, millions of people were signing up for America Online (AOL) using the software that came on a 3.5-inch floppy disk that arrived in their snail mail. I got my first windows computer and was teaching computer and internet intro classes at a computer school.

When Nerdy Girl was born 2 years later, I got my first cell phone. After living through all these technological changes, the one that stands out and has me happy-dancing today? Youtube. After several attempts when I was younger, I’m learning how to knit. It could only happen with the availability of instructional videos posted by hundreds of really nice knitters.

Okay, I’m guilty of rambling again. But thanks for reading to the end. What’s your life-changer?