Category Archives: computers

This Electronic Life

Have you ever called a company and been frustrated by the phone menu? Ever tried to login and forgotten the answers to your security questions? Ever wondered if we might not be better off having personal relationships with the people we do business with?

Square the phone menu, add in a quadrupled set of websites, all with their own login, password, security questions, and blasted captchas.

And what do you get?

A REALLY LONG TIME on the phone, navigating the very complex phone menu, entering digits and passwords and account numbers, waiting on hold, finally reaching a person, and then confirming all of the same digits and account numbers, and then ending up with answers like: “Your husband will have to call us or write to us to grant permission for us to discuss your account.”

I admit I find this whole thing exasperating. I don’t see it as an opportunity, but maybe it is. An opportunity to write down every last detail there is for every account we have ever had?

The irony here is that my very capable husband has NO interest in talking with the XXXX Insurance Company about this claim or that coverage, and is so very happy that I am able to and interested in handling these details.

As much as I try to simplify things, the sheer vastness of the internet just makes it very challenging to stay on top of the details. I always thought of myself as a detail-oriented person, but the volume of details has increased to the extent that I dread trying to call someone, especially the insurance companies, to solve a problem or get information.

And then there are the places that require authorization EVERY SINGLE TIME from my dear husband. Not that he is working or otherwise busy or anything. Aargh. I love how they ask if he is right here with me so they can get approval from him. Ha.

Do you have any tips for how to simplify things? Because I’m all ears, here.

Doing Things the Hard Way

I have a computer and it has Microsoft Excel on it. I’ll bet that’s a really cool program, but using Excel for a recent project not only led to me doing 6 times the work, but also I made SIX mistakes. Since this project was about crediting people’s tuition accounts, everyone was hoping to get the real amounts. Not only did I make mistakes on SIX accounts, but ONE of them was MINE (shorted myself over $150!). One conscientious person questioned her total and so I redid the project, WITHOUT Excel, and got the right answers. Of course it’s not Excel’s fault that I don’t know how to use it and of course it’s not Microsoft’s fault that the book I checked out of the library on how to use Excel WASN’T FOR THE MAC.

I’ll tell you. Sometimes computers are more trouble than they are worth.