A different view of the word“Easier”

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, January 26, 2016

I know the year. It’s 2016 and I also know that institutions and companies have tried to make things easier for us. The technologies of today are so much more advanced over what they were 50 years ago that performing the business tasks that are necessary, like paying bills, should be, in my case, idiot-proof.

I recently undertook a major change in the way I do business.

The change? I decided that I wanted to begin using a debit card instead of writing so many checks. I had refrained from such a decision because I was sure that I would forget to write down my use of the debit card and my checking account would be un-balanceable (I know that’s not a word).

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So, to keep up with my debit card usage, I would also begin checking my account daily by use of my laptop computer or cell phone. I can hear the laughter now. Lynn, these opportunities have been available for decades; why enter the 21st Century now? Just call me Mr. Up-to-Date.

I was all set up to pay one of my bills by phone using my debit card. No check to write, no envelope to address and no stamp to attach. One little call and it would be so easy.

I dialed the toll free number that would connect me with Customer Service. The computer voice was so soothing. “You are very important to us and we have made your experience easier than ever.” So far so good.

The voice continued, “Using your touch pad, put in your zip code and telephone number.” The zip code was easy, but do I use the “1” before the area code? I did and the voice told me that the number did not match any records of theirs, try again.

This time I did not use the “1” before the area code, but did not get too far before the voice cut me off and told me there was no such number. Try again or, if I wanted to, I could use the account number.

Good, but the account number has a “dash.” Do I use the “dash?” Then I realized that I don’t have a “dash” on my touch pad. Let’s see, now. I could have already written a check and addressed an envelope, attached a stamp and walked to the mailbox. But, I’ve decided to make life easier!

If I could only talk to someone. This utility company had gross sales of at least $17 billion last year and net profit of almost $8 billion. I want to talk to somebody!!! I want to pay my bill by telephone. I want to use the “easy” way the voice said at the beginning.

I dial the “0” for an actual person. I get the recording about how important I am and did not wait too long before someone came on.

“Can I help you?” Derrick asked.

“Yes, I want to pay my bill by debit card.”

Derrick informs me that this company uses another company to take telephone payments. I’ll have to call them and there is an extra $2.50 charge for paying by phone.

“But wait a minute,” I said in a not too pleasant voice. “I thought this was supposed to be easy.”

“You’ll have to go online to pay with a debit card at no charge.”

“Say what?” I ask. I actually kept my cool, but told the guy that their definition of “easy” and mine are two different things. I think I’ll write them a check and mail it!