Saturday, August 29, 2009

Keep it Real

I know it's the 21st century. I know there are all kinds of wonderful techno-gadgets to make my life easier. Yes, it's true, I couldn't live without my computer and I've become pretty dependent on that hoojigger thingy that goes in my ear while I'm on my cellphone. But really there are soooo many more things that DRIVE ME INSANE!!!

I hate calling a business and being asked to press 17 buttons before someone will actually talk to me. I used to hit "0" until companies realized we were all doing that to get to a human so that's now an "I'm sorry I didn't understand your response" response. But I still have them fooled. If you refuse to say anything or hit any buttons they figure you're too stupid to use their system and someone actually answers the phone ... novel idea people since that's why I called in the first place.

My husband loves this technical age. Every time he's looking to buy something he researches it on the internet. If he's looking to buy a car he'll spend time surfing around seeing which car is the best deal and who sells it the lowest. Me? I'd rather go to the local car dealership, look the salesman in the eye and tell him no BS ... just sell me the car I want for the best deal you've got. I've gotten some really good deals this way (and definitely better service after the sale).

When we wanted to buy a laptop he spent daaaays shopping around on the internet ... why? I have no idea. The computer was for me and since I have special needs with the keyboard and the size of the keys I sure as heck wasn't buying anything I couldn't put my hands on. In the end we made a special trip to Best Buy talked to one of their very knowledgable computer techs who suggested a couple that would fit both my writing/internet and physical needs. We are now the proud owners of a laptop I can actually use.

He'll shop for ANYTHING and this process can take hours ... sometimes days. But here's the clincher folks. We live in the middle of NOWHERE! Which means regardless of how some other store is going to sell it, if the store HERE doesn't have it ... we're SOL. Why bother?

So why this rant? Well, the other day I went to apply for a passport. This requires a birth certificate ... which I knew. I had a certificate of birth, which is not the same thing ... which I suspected. This meant I needed to order a birth certificate. It was Saturday. The man came home and promptly got on the internet to order my birth certificate. Fine, whatever. In the end he found the vital records department of Connecticut where I was born and for $49 ordered a birth certificate. THEN printed out forms which I needed to sign and send with a copy of a photo ID 200% original size and a copy of my marriage certificate (which is buried in the hope chest in my daughter's room) to prove I had legally changed my name ... ummm, 25 years ago. Sooooo not going to happen.

I waited until Monday and got the number for the town office where I was born. Got the wrong department, but the woman that answered the phone giggled and forwarded me to the office of records. There an equally sweet young woman explained that I simply needed to send their office $10 (note the price), a written request for a full form birth certificate, and a regular sized copy of my driver's license. That's it. Done.

I love people. I hate computer services. Yes, I do shop the internet for promo items, but I've found talking to customer service often times gives me better deals. I won't buy clothes or such from the internet. I want to touch it, feel it, know what it looks like on me before I buy. I don't have the patience to buy 2 different sizes in everything I want just because I never know how something is cut and which size will fit better.

I'm not sure I'll ever have both feet fully in the 21st century. I need the interaction. Because let's face it ... I like talking to people just too darn much!

If you're not too tired of being on the internet you can stop by Nina's website and find out all about the books she manages to write in between her conversations.


Julia Barrett said...

Face to face interaction is ideal. Too bad we've kind of passed that point. Just getting a human voice to talk to is difficult. When my computer crashed, I went by the book and called the netbook helpline and all I got was automated computer crap. So I called a local computer place and drove over there. It may have cost me more, but actually showing the problem to a human being got me the help I needed.

Nina Pierce said...

I find that's true all the way around. Humans are so much more pleasant than computers (most of the time).

Laurann Dohner said...

I miss the days where you could talk to people on the phone too and it's such a pain to get a 'live' person. Sometimes that though... isn't what it's cracked up to be. My favorite??? My internet went down, I called our local cable company (I have that phone/cable/internet deal)... got a real person after 20 minutes... who told me to go on line to download a program to update something or other which was the problem. DUH! My INTERNET IS DOWN!!! LOL. I asked the guy how can I download something from your site if I can't get on line??? I had to drive to my local cable office, got a sweet woman there who laughed herself silly when I told her what happened with the guy, and who sweetly downloaded it for me and gave me a nice big credit off my bill for my trouble. I love people! I do love to do my shopping online though. I do 90 percent of my christmas shopping at Amazon for my kids when they have those huge toy sales at 60 percent off. LOL. The good comes with the bad.

Nina Pierce said...

Laurann - I just found out Amazon sold more than books. I really do need to check that site out. Though my kids are waaaay past the age of toys, if I could find their "toys" for cheaper I'd be very happy. (And your story with the internet/cable guy sounds typical. Makes you wonder if the person was even in the US or simply reading from a script.)

hotcha1 said...



April Ash said...

I went kicking and screaming into the email and Internet age back when it first started...with a husband who has a PhD in electrical engineering, how could I not embrace it as he did? This is a man who built a computer back in the 1980's for a master's project...before I'd grasped the full concept of what a computer actually could do.
I have to say I've embraced buying on the Internet with open arms. Done lots of it. But I agree that there are some things I want to see/touch/feel up close before buying.
And, nothing beats actually talking to someone on the phone to get answers sometimes. It's just quicker and easier that way!

Nina Pierce said...

Hotcha - Oh, I love gift cards!

April - I can't even imagine understanding computers that well. LOL!

jean hart stewart said...

Interesting blog, Nina, as well as the comments. I'm completely dependent on my computer, although I'm still not adept. I do keep trying, but there's so damn much to learn. But I can't imagine not being able to edit and rewrite without a computer. AARRRGH.