this is a bit off topic but still internet related. In the last few years when I've been to the bank to move or withdraw money I've been met rather rudely: "Please don't come back. Use the internet services instead." In addition the banks 'fine' you for using manual services.
This is increasingly the case with other services too: "Please get lost. Use the internet." Bank, unemployment office, university, you name it.
Today they've taken it as far as not wanting to talk to people on the phone. A relative called the bank to transfer money to buy a house: "Get lost. Use the internet or automatic phone service." "I can take my business elsewhere!" "So what. But fine, we'll help you just this once."
The thing is that all companies and authorities are doing it, so there is no point in changing bank.
I should point out that white collars and blue collars are treated the same.
I think it's a terrible way to treat customers. I don't know about Sweden, but in many countries Internet use has yet to reach even 50% of homes, I believe. So what are the people without access to the Net supposed to do?
Banks and other places in Britain are offering internet services, although they're not trying quite this hard to force them upon people.
Persuading folks to use their call centers is another matter. Just try writing to an insurance company to get a quote these days. If they bother to answer at all, you'll just get a short note back saying "Call our customer quote line on...." or something similar. They simply will not quote by mail, even though you give them all the information they need.
The drone you speak to on the phone will then read through his or her script, and you'll have to put up with all the spiel: "We monitor and record calls for training and security purposes. Do you understand that the answers you give form part of your contract and any incorrect information may invalidate your cover?" and so on.
Of course, before you even get to speak to a human being you have to go through "Press 1 for a home insurance quote, press 2 for a car quote, press 3 to make a claim" etc.
The banks are doing the same with phone service. I can no longer call my local branch with a query. I have to call the "Regional Customer Care Call Centre," which is in Peterborough, about 70 miles away.
I'll tell you about what the police are doing, if you like.....
#131523 - 09/16/0311:07 PMRe: OT: Internet dependence
I'll tell you about what the police are doing, if you like
Please, do tell.
As you know, the entire pace of society has sped up with the giant leaps in technology that have occured over the past 20 or so years. Microwave ovens, answering machines, pagers, "car phones", fax machines (actually, faxes have been around a fairly long time), automated call attendants, modems, and most recently, the "net" have obviously helped us all to be able to do things never before possible.
That said, it seems that there has been a severe "dumbing down" of society. If the answer isn't in the computer, then the question must be wrong. Critical thinking? What's that?
Though I am an admitted "internet junkie", your experiences are not surprising at all. Frustrating, indeed.
#131524 - 09/17/0301:39 AMRe: OT: Internet dependence
One thing that bugs the snot out of me is when the internet functions don't work or work poorly. One click to get to the company's site and 15 minutes of fumbling around trying to do what you need to do. One of my pet peves is entering credit card information for a purchase. Every card I've ever seen has the expiration date on numbers like 09-05 but most sites make you use a pick list that has the months written out and the years in full 4 digit form. Let's just make it harder to be accurate.
#131525 - 09/19/0307:23 AMRe: OT: Internet dependence
And why do we need these silly pick lists for something like this anyway? It's far quicker to just type "09/05" than to select from two pop-up lists. The country lists are quite annoying too, especially when you have to scroll all the way down nearly to the bottom to find "United Kingdom." One mis-movement as you select, and suddenly they think you live in the United Arab Emirates!
Please, do tell.
OK, make yourself comfortable....
We have a local police station in Stalham, about 4 miles from here. It's very small, and one of those places which opens every third Friday when it's a full moon, or something like that!
The nearest main station is North Walsham, about 10 miles from here, and you used to be able to call them about any non-emergency matter, but not anymore. The listed non-emergency police number is still a North Walsham number, but the call is routed to their new centralized system way over on the other side of the county. Many of the people there simply do not have knowledge of the local villages in this part of Norfolk.
Example: Some months ago I came upon a horse running loose on one the country roads at Ingham and tried to call the police to see if they could track down the owner of the runaway to get it to safety. The call-center staff actually had no idea where the place was, and said they couldn't get hold of anyone out this way. Several calls back and an hour later they'd still been no help at all, and were actually quite annoyed that we'd called them back!
By this time the horse had decided to graze in a field belonging to a nearby house and was in no immediate danger, so I decided to drive to Stalham police station in the off-chance it was actually open. Luckily, it was, and the cop on duty there happened to be the local "bobby" that I know.
I described the horse and immediately he recognized where it belonged (he lives in Ingham himself). Off he went in the patrol car to check it out and find the owner, problem solved -- No thanks to the call-center who were probably still trying to work out where we were.....
By the way, our local cop gave us a direct-dial line into the local station and said to use it in future for any local problem like that.
I know of someone else who did use this unpublished number to reach the station directly one time. The officer on duty wasn't our friendly local cop, demanded to know how she had got the number, and told her never to use it again because now he had to fill in a load of paperwork!
P.S. What might be more scary is that this new call center is also where 999 (emergency) calls are now routed within the county.
[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 09-19-2003).]
#131526 - 09/19/0309:56 AMRe: OT: Internet dependence