How many time have you rung a number to make an inquiry, only to get the pre-recorded message of 'Press ! Press 2!' and so on. When you finally get to the required operator, after what seems an eternity of pushing options, you are told that all the operators are busy, and yes, your call is important to us, but, you now have to listen to this advertising spiel while your phone bill grows increasingly bigger. Don't even get me started on those voice activated phone systems, as I have call rage long before I finally get to the operator because - 'NO I do not want to query my account!' How I long for the day when someone simply answers the phone 'How can I help you?' I yearn to talk to a real person, who knows what they are talking about and, who actually cares.
Police Stations, Councils, Emergency Services, and just about everything known to man, have all converted to call centers that reside no-where near where you happen to call from. You are lucky if they are in the same country. So here you are, babbling on about how you are on the corner near the local shopping center, and they have absolutely no idea where your city is, let alone the shopping center. Sadly, people have actually died as a result of this very situation but, does anyone who can change this care? I think not, as it all boils down to money. Sorry, but I believe that people who ring these numbers are already facing a life or death situation in many cases, and, to have someone who actually knows where you are, goes a little way to reassuring the caller.
I can remember someone telling me about the Soviet Union, and how poor service was, and how you had to queue everywhere. Well, I think that Australia is fast catching up. At some stores you almost develop rigor mortise because you stand so long in the queue. At the supermarket, I resisted using the self serve checkouts for as long as possible but, there are only so many magazines that you can read while waiting in the line. So now I do battle with the little person in the self serve checkout that reprimands me for unidentified item in the bagging area and so on. I tell the thing to shut up on a regular basis.
The staff in government departments are specially trained to make life as difficult as possible. Take the Department of Transport for instance. You dare not even venture in the door without taking a ticket and then - let the wait begin. Mesmerized by the monotone of the number caller you fall into a trance to be finally jolted awake by the person next to you hissing 'Are you A595?' Then, when you get to the counter you find out that you have the wrong proof of identity or some other thing that means you have to come back again. When you finally get past the power trip of the person behind the counter, you find you have to pay an arm,a leg and your first born child for whatever it was that you wanted. And, God help you if you find yourself in the admission area of a hospital emergency unit because by the time you have filled out all the paper work, it is probably best to book in with the undertaker.
As technology has developed, and we have embraced it with the fervor of religious zealots, our lives have become increasingly more complex. I love being able to pay my bills at midnight and not having to line up at the Post Office to mail off a letter as it now zooms off across the airwaves in an instant. However, it also means that the evenings are no longer ours, holidays are not really holidays and our connectedness to the outside world is 24/7. We do a lot of jobs ourselves, where once others were paid to provide the service. We put petrol in our cars, we check ourselves out of the supermarket, hardware stores etc etc, we get money out of the wall, we pay our bills online and the list goes on. Yes, much of this is convenient and, even desirable, if the alternative is dealing with some bureaucrat, but the need remains the same. We need to know that there is someone who cares, someone who knows what they are talking about and someone who will actually do something about it.
Now I know you are thinking, this is all very weird coming from someone that has an internet site that basically is impersonal, disconnected and all the other things I have been talking about but I pledge you this. At WinC we do things differently. We pride ourselves in having a social conscience and if there is anything that we can do to help you with your shopping experience with us, and to make your life a little easier in accessing things that are difficult to find, you only have to ring us or drop us an email and we will make life easier for you. We will talk to you. Our business has the personal touch. Try us, I believe you will love the experience.