“Nothing can go wrong . . . can go wrong . . . can go wrong . . .”

If you’re old enough, you can probably remember an excellent film called Westworld, adapted from a Michael Crichton novel by the same name.  In it, Yul Brynner plays a robotic cowboy in a western theme park called Westworld.  At the end, the robot goes haywire, and the words I used in the title of this post are uttered, confirming the worst: Something did, indeed, go horribly wrong.

I think we have reached a point in society where human interaction has been supplanted (unsuccessfully, I might add) by the computer.  We no longer are a nation with businesses where “the customer is always right.”  In fact, the opposite is true.  Unless proven otherwise, the customer is always presumed to be wrong!

Yesterday morning, I placed an order for a cell phone with CRICKET, the non-contract cell phone provider powered by the AT&T network.  I established an account, chose a plan, selected a user name, pin number, password, and security question, and purchased the phone.  A little while later, I received a confirmation email.  Great, I thought, my phone is on its way.  I went on Amazon and ordered a protective case and a 64GB microSD memory card—both, by now, have already been shipped.

Fast forward to last evening.  I was situated comfortably in my recliner, and was all set to watch the World Series game that I had recorded earlier.  As I usually do in the evening, I checked my emails on my iPhone and, lo and behold, there was another email from CRICKET.  Hmmm, I thought, what can this be about?  I opened the email and got the shock of my life.  CRICKET had canceled my order!  What? Canceled my order?  What the hell was that all about?

So, I go online and “live” chat with a representative from CRICKET, who tells me that they were unable to verify some aspect of my information.  Naturally, I assume that the fault is mine.  Perhaps I inadvertantly entered the wrong credit card information?  Okay, those things happen.  I ask the representative what I ought to do.  The nitwit on the other end of the Internet tells me to “just go ahead and re-order.  That’s the easiest thing to do.”  So, the other idiot (me) tries do do just that.  Guess what?  The computer on the other end of the Internet says I can’t place an order using that phone number, because it is already in use.  Yeah, it’s in use alright—by me!

Now, I am really angry.  So I get on the phone and call CRICKET and actually speak to a person (I think it was a person—remember Westworld?), who offers to transfer me to the order department.  “They’ll be able to straighten it out,” he says.  Instead, he transfers me back to the main menu.  So I go through two more representatives, each of whom promises to transfer me to the order department, but also sends me back to the main menu.  Finally, I speak to a fourth representative, who tells me “the order department just closed a couple of minutes ago” (it was just past midnight).

So, this morning, I will be calling CRICKET to see exactly what the heck is going on.  Oh, by the way, just for laughs, I checked my credit card account, and there, in bright blue lettering, was a pending charge for—you guessed it—my order with CRICKET.  Obviously, somebody, or some computer screwed up.  Since, in the world of computers “nothing can go wrong, can go wrong, can go wrong,” it had to have been a human.  Or, maybe it wasn’t.  I’ll probably never know.

I hope I can get it straightened out this morning, or I may have to just SCREAM—at somebody OR some computer.  I can’t really single out CRICKET for screwing up, because something like this could just as well have happened with any one of the too-big-to-fail corporations like Verizon, Bank of America, AT&T, DISH TV, or the myriad of others less interested in humans than in computers, and, by extension, money.  You know, it happens all the time.  And they just don’t care.

FLASH: I’m 71; I don’t know if I can make it much longer in this screwed up, impersonal, computer-run world, or if I even want to.  As Charlton Heston said in Planet of the Apes, “IT’S A MAD HOUSE!”


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About AuthorJoePerroneJr

I am a former professional fly-fishing guide, and I write the Matt Davis Mystery Series, which presently consists of four books: As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. The series is set in the real town of Roscoe, NY, in the Catskill Mountains, where I guided for ten years. I love fly fishing, movies, cooking (and eating), and music. To learn more about me and my writing, please visit my website at: http://www.joeperronejr.com.
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16 Responses to “Nothing can go wrong . . . can go wrong . . . can go wrong . . .”

  1. KiM says:

    Joe, I *think* there is an actual Cricket office, maybe on Hwy 25 across from the Oppurnity House or on Kanuga. I’ve seen the sign somewhere. I think next time we’re going to Walmart for the no-contract plan that uses Verizon towers unless Verizon has changed where the *free* phone doesn’t cost you $20+ a month for 2 years.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Bruce Pfeffer says:

    Imagine the frustrations that you have described online, but in person at a store. I had an issue with Wendy’s today, and one at Walgreens two days ago where the salesperson was unwilling to take action to correct a problem. The frightening reality here, is that the abuse we all experience online is expected, and tolerated by us, has seeped into every aspect of our Human interactions, and is also considered normal and acceptable. You can’t blame computers, they are innocent pawns in our new world where nobody gives a crap. There is a larger issue exposed in these examples, and that is our loss of humanity and respect for others.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. balroop2013 says:

    I couldn’t help but smile smile and smile more as I kept reading this story…sorry Joe it is the way you have described it, the choice of your words, which makes it more amusing than empathetic! 🙂
    I hope all would go well and soon you’ll be having a brand new phone! Cheers! 🙂 Thanks for the smiles.
    I try to keep away from smart phones as much as I can in this mad digital world!! No harm in trying!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Balroop. I wish I could be as temperate as you. You are amazing.
      As of today, the issue is still unresolved (although, I DO have a case file #). If it’s not resolved by tomorrow (Monday), I think I will just keep my existing phone. I DID write a letter to the VP of marketing at Cricket. I hope that person has a window from which she can jump, after she reads my letter. LOL 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Allie P. says:

    Ugh! I’ve had to hand the phone over to someone more than once when stuck in the endless loop of touch tone customer service. There is just something about being transferred within 2 seconds after listening to hold music for 45 minutes that just makes my blood boil.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. It never ends….hours wasted on the phone with Insurance companies, retailers, and the dreaded COMCAST. I actually get a stomach ache before I get on the phone. I hate it all.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. And then there is the healthcare (Obamacare) situations. Try to figure out if you have to go through the State exchange program to make any change to your health insurance plan, or if you can simply make a small change to your insurance plan with the local office of the supplemental insurance company. If I don’t follow the right steps, I have been told, in a one page written letter to me, that a monthly reimbursement of $180 for my premium assistance will be cancelled. I am also told that the $10,000 life insurance earned by me in my working years will disappear like magic in the air. Then that awesome line in the letter that says, “other benefits may be cancelled as well”. Hmm, what other benefits, I wonder! I, too, am 71 and wonder how much longer I will even be able to figure all of this out. Computers and smartphones constantly update without telling anyone what exactly has changed or how to do the changes. There is only so much an aging mind can absorb at a time. And yes, Bill Ramsey, they wonder why senior citizens have high blood pressure!
    PALA–Peace and Love Always to this Earth. It needs a whole lot!

    Liked by 1 person

    • No Medicare advantage where you are? What a mess.

      Like

      • Yes, I have a Medicare advantage plan, smiles! And the spokes on the wheel go round and round, smiles! You are given Medicare but then you have to choose Medicare supplemental programs from the list the State Exchange provides. I retired as a State employee so my options are limited. I have chosen a Medicare advantage program and have really good health insurance through a local company approved by the Exchange. If I could deal with the local level alone, how peaceful life would be, but everything that is a change must be done through a call to the State Exchange first. You call, get an appointment date and exact hour/minute that you are to call them back, and wait on the line for up to 1/2 of an hour just to talk with someone (even though you have the appointment set). Make sure your smartphone is fully charged before you call!!!! They then have to read to you the government regulations and the details of the insurance you have chosen, even though you have traveled that road with them before. Quite a system we have in place now, and it gets worse every year!

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Bill Ramsey says:

    We spend hours every month trying to get through situations just like this. Being passed around from department to department and still getting no answer. After a recent three hour, non-stop attempt to get a refund, I gave up. My blood pressure had to be 3x normal.

    Liked by 1 person

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