Here is my latest article. It may be freely used in ezines, on websites or in e-books, as long as the Resource Box is left intact.I would ... ... of where it was used, and if ...
Here is my latest article. It may be freely used in ezines, on websites or in e-books, as long as the Resource Box is left intact.
I would appreciate notification of where it was used, and if possible, a copy of the ezine or newsletter that it was used in. Please send notification mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
I hate computers.
Now, coming from a person who's been involved with them since 1967, you might think that's a bit over the top.
Well...it's not *actually* the computers that's the problem, of course, it's the software - the programs that run in them, that I *really* hate.
I also hate ATMs. Now, that's a double whammy for the poor, dumb machines!
But, like computers on the desk, ATMs are everywhere, and by golly, there're *so* convenient, aren't they? However, now that we have ATMs and computers in an unholy alliance, specifically designed to ruin your day at any nanosecond, I was happy - *well, almost* - when I had to turn to the customer service desk at my local bank for help.
Y'see, the ATM had just swallowed my cash card and had issued this terse message: "Invalid transaction - card retained", to be immediately followed by another: "Please use another card and try again." Huh? I didn't *have* another card on me right now, did I! And, I knew that there was sufficient money in the account...
Naturally I was annoyed but, resisting the urge to give it a Coke machine kick, I went instead to the customer service desk to sort the problem out. Here, I thought, I'd get the attention I deserve as a good customer, you know, talk to a *real* person, blah, blah, blah...
Ever been to la-la land? Well, we all get there, once in a while I guess, but...at 9.30 in the morning? Bear with me, for a few moments, while I relate the nadir of Customer Relationship Management - aka CRM for all internet aficionados - a la local bank style...
ME: "Look...er...my son, Danny Burke, asked me to get some money from the machine, and that one" - me pointing accusingly -"just upped and took it. Would you be able to help, please?" I smile helpfully (I tried to look a bit sheepish also - that sometimes helps).
SHE: "You shouldn't have done that!" Slightly frowning, and a bit of a sharp note to her voice.
ME (nonplussed, eyebrows raised): "Huh...what...oh, yes, well, he gave me his PIN...he's in school now" - glancing at my watch - "so, he can't be..."
SHE (cutting in): "You're not supposed to use his PIN - unless of course you're AUTHORIZED." Voice definitely rising now, but not yet shrill. Glares at me, accusingly.
ME (defensively and now, a bit angry): "Hey...I know about PINs and their use...and I don't need a lecture from you!" (glaring back now). I had been part of the online systems development team, at one of the major Canadian banks, in the mid 70s...so, I knew whereof I spoke.
SHE (slightly retreating now): "Well!" A pause. "Well, where is the card, you say?" I point to the machine again. "Well, I suppose I'll go and get it...one moment...please" (almost an afterthought, by the sound of it).
She stalks off. Idly, I contemplate darkly how hard I can jam some old receipts down an ATM slot when I leave...if I ever get outta here, as the band said, yeah, if I *ever* get outta here...where are *my* wings, I wonder?
Her shrill voice breaks my vengeful reverie.
SHE: "Well, here it is," waving it about triumphantly, "but you can't have the card back. It's *not* yours, you know...you'll have to get authorization from your son...a letter...to pick it up." Emphatically, she puts the card in a drawer, slams it shut. Thud! Smiling now, full set of ivories, dripping insincerity.
ME: "Huh...what?" (I know, I know...I tend to repeat myself!) But, before I could go on...
SHE: "Anyway, what happened? Why did the ATM take the card? Did you enter something incorrectly?" I couldn't believe her accusing tone. At any moment, I expected her to start shaking her finger at me.
I look at her blankly, but I'm thinking. Now that was the funny thing about this whole mess - I'd followed everything to the letter...er, number: key in PIN, hit WITHDRAW CASH, select correct account...hmmm, must be SAVINGS, Danny has no CHEQUE account, but just after I key-entered 140, the ATM issued the above messages and ate the card. That's it...kaput! I felt that I'd just been executed. Maybe it was some kind of read error on the unit? Most unlikely...the card had already been accepted - PIN, account, the lot! But, what then?
ME (finally shrugging, shaking my head): "Hmmm...well, no...there's no obvious reason...that I can think of..." Brow furrows, bites lip pensively.
SHE (primly): "Never mind, never MIND, either fill this form out for a new card", handing me another bank form, as if I didn't have enough already, "or get your son to bring a letter back...and then you can get the card back!" She said the last with more false bonhomie, teeth glittering.
As I walked away muttering, I glanced back at the large sign above the area: "Customer Service Desk". Some service, I thought; more like "Customer Punishment Area - SFA (that's Self Flagellation Acceptable)"! My only option now was to return with some sort of letter to satisfy these goons and their procedures...so much for *this* bank's customer relationship management program.
That woman on the service desk failed miserably at CRM: the cardinal rule is that the customer is always right, even when s/he's wrong. She didn't *have* to tell me that using another's PIN is not recommended; from Spitzbergen to Tierra del Fuego, everybody knows *that*, already! Additionally, she didn't even have the courtesy to address me by my name...
And, to cap it all, instead of apologizing to *me* for the inconvenience, she made me feel as though I had been the one to inconvenience *her*. Some service, huh?
Y'see, she was intent *only* on enforcing procedure, even to my detriment, instead of trying to get to the root cause of the problem...which, by the way, may also be happening to other customers. Even as I speak...
I was thinking about *that* as I drove back home, but put it aside, while I enlisted the aid of She-Who-Must-Be-Obeyed. First things first, after all: get the card back, then worry about why I was card-swiped! This was going to be interesting, I thought, as I knew that Sherry had already had a run-in with the personnel in *that* particular branch some months ago...
Roger Burke has been involved with computers since 1967, and has managed to break quite a few, over the years. He, and his wife Sherry, are now actively engaged in online self-publishing and promoting specific affiliate programs at http://online-wealth.com . If you have any comments or questions about this article, please send emails to mailto:email@example.com . Copyright 2001, Online-Wealth. All rights reserved.