‘We Care About You; Please Hold’
With more than a dozen states holding their primaries this week, the faux pas of the early February caucuses in Iowa is already fading into a mere memory.
After all, the field of would-be challengers to President Donald Trump is quickly narrowing.
So, most voters are likely to forget about the Byzantine selection process that inflicted a black eye on the whole Democrat Party.
But I’m not here to discuss the political fray as much comment on a remark made during the aftermath of the ill-fated caucuses.
As many know, numerous caucus chairs—without benefit of much instruction—either couldn’t download Iowa’s counting app. Or, figure out how to work it once they had. (An aside: who thought it would be a good idea to use an app just 60 days in the making, with no time for beta testing and de-bugging?)
Plus, when many tried to use the old-fashioned method of calling in vote totals, they often couldn’t get through.
On the report I watched on NBC News, the secretary from one caucus said waiting on hold to report results was “like waiting on hold with your local cable company.”
I laughed so hard and loud my wife came in from cooking dinner to see what the ruckus was all about.
‘Please Hold’, A Service Misnomer
Actually, I don’t want to throw too many stones at our cable provider.
Their service is 15 times faster than the “high-speed” internet offered by the telephone company. The phone company’s service either slowed down noticeably or went out four times in the space of three months back in 2016.
The first time drove me nuts. Over a two-week period, I suffered through buffering problems that reminded me of the old days of dial-up.
I called four times to complain before the phone company finally sent out a technician to check my modem and resolve the problem.
When it went out again a month later one Friday afternoon, turns out they had electronically re-set my modem, knocking me off-line.
Just an ordinary procedure, the guy at the company said.
“And you didn’t think it would be a good idea to let me know this was going to happen in advance?” I asked.
Finally, when we returned from a 10-day vacation and our internet went out again, I decided it was time to make the change.
In the past, I had hesitated. I knew two guys who had experienced all kinds of problems with cable. One friend said when he used it, the service was down more than it was up.
Now, I figured that cable service might indeed prove to be as bad as the phone company’s. But it would be impossible to be worse.
Phone Tree Nightmares
Only when I called the phone company to ask them to release my number did someone try to sweet-talk me into staying, offering all kinds of specials.
Finally, tiring of the subtle arm-twisting tactics, I said, “Look. It’s over. I’m done. I don’t want to say anything else.”
Judging by what others have told me about their encounters with phone, cable, or other forms of customer service, they would prefer a root canal (or maybe a colonoscopy) to dealing with never-ending phone trees.
My recent attempts at getting an update on projected future payments on Social Security by telephone proved so maddening I finally went to their local office.
Fortunately, that morning they weren’t too busy. In 30 minutes, I had the information I wanted.
In other words, less time than I would have waited on hold.