Seven of Nine is the voice on the phone tree

So, I go to have lunch downtown with a friend today.  2 hours.  $15.00 for parking.  That makes me laugh out loud.  My lunch was $12.00!

I attempted to park at another lot the other day but it required me to ‘swipe my phone’ to pay.  At that point, I did not have a smartphone with which to swipe and, even tho I am sure there was an option to pay with a credit card (but NOT money!) I was deterred.  So, I left.

I went to a third lot on another day and tried to buy 3 hours of parking (that robot took cash) but it would only give up 2.5 hours.  I tried phoning the company to pay for another 30 minutes.  Phone tree only.  No joy.  So, I went to the manager of the big box store I was parking under and he said, “We have nothing to do with the parking. I  can’t do a thing.  No one can.  If you call them, you get a phone tree.  We have given up!”       

This is a funny way to run a big box store….don’t you think? 

At the time, of course, it was frustrating and such events make me feel as if I am stupid (and usually I am.  I find out the solution to the above mentioned problems a few days later sharing the incidents with friends).  Living a mini Rip van Winkle experience is a major adjustment best digested with a large does of humour.  And so I try.

But I am not alone in scrambling up this steep learning curve.  I share my stories with waitresses, clerks, elevator-riders and even pan-handlers and, to a person they say, “Geez, me too.  I came from Kelowna three years ago and when I go back, I am just so happy to use a quarter in the meter and have no other problems.”

To the panhandler I say: “Sorry, dude.  No spare change. Get a card reader!  Can I swipe you with my phone?” 

Technology is OK.  I guess.  I don’t really have a problem with it other than the problems I personally have with it.  But I can eventually learn how to use it and I will.  It will be fine.  But, one has to ask if it isn’t a smidge out of control?  When hip young waiters and waitresses downtown are scratching their heads over their smartphones, you have to wonder ‘who has mastered these damn things!’   When paying customers can’t pay without a smartphone, something is wrong.  And I can’t even begin to describe what kind of mental illnesses smartphones and phone trees are causing.

Steve Jobs died young.  Coincidence?     

It is a brave new world that requires more than courage.  There is the prerequisite of NEWSPEAK (English mixed with techno-babble and e-jargon), an electronic bracelet like the ankle bracelet that convicts wear (we call them smartphones and they track you just as well as the ankle types) and a form of subservience to disembodied voices and unpublished rules of social order that is not only enslaving and brainwashing, it is involuntary.  Don’t do it…you perish.

Welcome to Borgville.  You will be assimilated.  Resistance is futile.

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