Man and Machine

On 22 August our land line phone (yes, we are perhaps the few remaining dinosaurs who still have a land line!) went dead. My husband in whose name the number is registered, called the complaints number and after being taken through the usual route of Press 1 for___and Press 2 for ___ , and so on finally made contact with a human voice to register the complaint.  He was told that someone would come to our home the same day by midday. In the meanwhile, I received at least four automatic messages on my cell phone (not in any way connected with the landline provider, with various offers and deals.) My husband has innumerable times told the landline providers that he should be contacted on the landline number only. But that is another story!

Back to this story! We waited at the stipulated time, and well beyond, for the person to show up. Towards evening we got a call (on the landline, at least!) from the engineer to say that he would be arriving shortly. When he finally did arrive and we told him that he was to have come at least 6 hours ago, he said that he had got the message about his call, just an hour ago. The gentleman, (one from the not-quite-all-tech generation) himself expressed anguish at how the mechanised ‘auto-response call systems’ were so out of synch with the human work force that was meant to execute the work.

During the same period that he was at our place I received three messages on my cell phone saying that “Your service request has been assigned to engineer _______. He will be visiting at your premises between 23 August 2018  09.30 am-23 August 2018 10.30 am.”

By the time the many messages were received, the engineer had solved the issue. Now he had to report to the ‘authorities’ that the task had been successfully completed. This too through the automated number system. However, try as he might, his completion report was not registered. The engineer tried patiently for over half an hour, through whatever means he knew to simply report  ‘task completed on 22 August’, to no avail.  He was quite at his wits’ end, and finally left befuddled, (and worried about how to account for the visit and the task).

On 23 August at precisely 09.40 am, I received three messages on my cell phone confidently informing me that “Dear Customer. Our engineer ________just arrived at your premises to attend to your service request.” !?!

–Mamata

 

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