Today I'm a Luddite

I've been working in computing and technology for close to thirty years. I'm still amazed by how fucked up systems can be.

Today I went to the supplier's Web site to re-order checks. Two levels down, I get to the form. I enter the order id number from the supplier's re-order form. Error. I try the option of entering the check information. Error. I dial the 800 number for the supplier which I can only get by going back to the top of the website and causing an order id error. After four levels of numeric menus (including entering all of the information I had entered on the forms), I talked to a person who tells me that my bank no longer uses the supplier's services. I have to call my bank.

I call the 800 number for my bank. The person there transfers me to the branch. Except she doesn't—I wind up listening to a "disconnected number" tape. I call the 800 number for my bank again. This new person seems confused about why I'd tried to call the branch and, instead, gives me an 800 number for the new check supplier.

I dial the number for the new supplier. However, the 800 number is for their corporate headquarters. I have to listen to the message twice to get the right 800 number. I dial the new 800 number.

I enter the routing number, my account number, select a couple options and then wind up being transferred to a representative who requests all of that information again. He asks me several more questions, puts me on hold, and then asks me if my bank had a routing number change. I tell him no because I'd done a wire transfer on Monday using it. He puts me on hold again. Finally, he comes back and says that there's something wrong with their database and the routing number won't work. He tells me to call my branch.

I call the 800 number for my bank and ask to be transferred to the branch. This time it goes through. The guy takes my check order and explains that when they switched suppliers account information was moved over to the new check supplier only for folks who had ordered checks within the last year. I hadn't. I'd been digitally disappeared.

The next systems analyst or bit of silicon that crosses my path today had better watch out.


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