Daily Illuminator

August 14, 2004: Hear Me: I Gripe!

Argh, what a world. Shared pain, says Spider Robinson, is lessened, so prepare to share some of mine. Stop reading now if you don't want to hear me grump and moan.

That Book Is Inappropriate, Sir

"Security" hit a new low earlier this week, but maybe sanity will win out . . . and maybe the officious doofus will get fired. Read Greg Costikyan's blog for some great editorializing and follow-up, and follow the link there . . . and applaud the gamer who stood up for his rights. "ACLU on speed-dial," forsooth.

SURE We Won't Use Your Phone Number!

Last time my car needed work, the Toyota place gave me a loaner . . . but it wasn't theirs; it was from the Enterprise rental location nearby. Enterprise wanted my phone number. I balked; I don't want spam calls. "Oh, but we have to have it in case of emergencies." Well, all right, I am driving off in their car.

Well, guess who was interrupted by a dinnertime phone call the very next week, wanting to "survey my satisfaction" ? Needless to say, they got an earful. So did the manager of the Enterprise site, who'd assured me my number wouldn't be used. So did the Toyota place. Never again will I use Enterprise, and if you don't either, good!

And If We Find Any Customer Service Around Here We'll Kill It

I do more eBay buying than is good for me. Usually I pay with PayPal. Sometimes, though, I bid on things whose sellers don't accept PayPal, even though it's less convenient . . . because a lot of buyers won't even LOOK at non-PayPal offerings, so I can get a good deal.

So I have now had my first experience with Western Union's "BidPay" service, which takes your credit card online and mails a money order. Never again, I hope. I won't burden you with the whole story, but:

  • The process is far more time-consuming than PayPal;
  • It is clearly sensitive to errors, but I don't know if these are my errors or theirs, because . . .
  • my first two orders were rejected at the same time, one with an incomprehensible form letter and the other with no feedback at all, and . . .
  • repeated attempts to get clarification resulted in FOUR successive instances of the EXACT SAME form letter.
That's not customer service. That's an automated process set up to wear your customers down without giving them a chance to bother you with their problems. Which is a popular trend these days, but when I spot it, I take my business elsewhere.
-- Steve Jackson
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