I’m actually a very patient person. And I’m bright, fairly tech savvy, can make time and have resources available to me. It’s just that everything in today’s world is so complicated. These last few weeks have pushed my patience and good humor to the edge. Here’s my story . . .
I leave in a couple of days for a three week Global Volunteers work assignment in Greece. I’ll be gone from the office a full month so there are lots of projects to be taken care of both here at the office, at home and in my community work. But since I’ve lived overseas and travel quite a bit it shouldn’t be hard. Or is it?
Passwords, Passwords & More Passwords
If you have oodles of time and enjoy the thrill of the chase to solve just one problem per day then tackling the banking industry; the health care system; the mobile phone network or the Greek ferry system will provide hours of entertainment. But I don’t have that time and energy – and I don’t have a secretary (as I remind my 94 year old attorney Dad with his own secretary).
And everything needs a password, a log-in and then a host of “security questions”. The funniest was this past weekend when I had to answer a series of “multiple choice” questions from three different banking people asking the most obscure questions – no longer your favorite color or mother’s maiden name.
So here’s what I’ve learned in this entire process.
- First., punch “0” over and over to try and connect with a live person. Forget trying to go through the prompts hoping to find one that matches what you’re looking for – it’s just not going to happen.
- Second, try my sister’s trick which is to simply plead ignorance and say that you don’t use/own a computer and therefore can’t do these transactions on-line yourself. The live person will usually say “No problem, I’ll do it for you”. Works beautifully.
- Third, when you’ve reached the end of your patience, as I did with getting two sets of instructions from my mobile phone carrier, turn the task over to someone who still has the strength to persevere – hubby, Wally, retired Marine who loves a good challenge. I found myself saying to the young phone salesperson “Are you telling me that this IPhone which is “smart” enough to make spaghetti sauce can’t be used anyplace in Europe”. Yep, that’s what she was saying ’cause Greece is a GM Country – now what does that mean?
- And finally, keep your sense of humor and expectations very, very low. Don’t expect to get an answer to your question the first time around but rather you will be referred on and on and on. Someday you may get an answer if you still remember or care about the question.
“Leaving on a Jet Plane . . . “
Sharing my story with you has given me some wonderful perspective. So I think I might just go on down to the Reno airport two days early, order a glass of wine and settle back with a good book. If you want to call me on my fancy new “loaner” IPhone that I won’t know how to work – please try. Just don’t ask me for a password!