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By Carl Parker
For the Record 

Real people once answered the phone


Last updated 12/21/2021 at 4:07pm

If you are over 60 years old there is an additional plague attacking you rather than the current virus. I am absolutely convinced that computers were invented to drive us old folks crazy. Remember when phones were answered by humans? And the only folks with numbers were convicts? How many passwords do you have? Better yet, how many passwords do you have that you remember? Once upon a time ordering from Sear & Roebuck catalog and making phone calls was a simple matter. Now with any of those functions you are faced with a password you may, or may not remember. I don’t know about you, but when I sit at my computer, I feel completely dumfounded unless one of my grandchildren happens to be around to give me assistance.

Once upon a time when you called your doctor, you were greeted by a friendly nurse who most of the time could answer the question plaguing you about your health without the necessity of making an appointment with the doctor or bothering him/her. Now when you attempt to reach your physician you will first be greeted by the instructions to call 911 if the matter you are calling about seems to be serious. Thereafter, depending on how many physicians there may be answering this particular machine, you will be given a series of numbers depending on whether you want an appointment, have a question about your prescription or seek to talk to a particular physician or nurse; most of the time none fit the reason for my call. If you are lucky when you select one of the numbers, you will get a person. Often what you get is simply a message that person is not available and may or may not call you back within 24 hours.

A major frustration occurs if you call a business and desire to speak with a representative you have dealt with, you are greeted by a machine recording instructing you to spell out the name of the person with whom you wish to talk. Often, I have no idea how to spell the name of the representative I have been dealing with, even if I happen to remember it! In addition to being frustrated by this, most of the time you will be put on hold and subjected to a lengthy litany of advertisements, or elevator music followed by a message that “this call may be recorded”; I wonder if they ever listen to them?

There are many things I do not miss about the so-called “good ole days.” I enjoy plumbing, being free from stifling heat in my air-conditioned house, better automobiles I don’t have to deal with the shift on the floor and nice programs on my TV other than the wrestling from Houston. Nonetheless, I still yearn for the good ole days, particularly when telephone calls were handled by human beings who could give me a straight answer after promptly answering my call.


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