Archive for the ‘Complicated’ Category

Service of Who’s the Boss II? Social Security, A Bank & A Museum

Monday, July 1st, 2019

Photo: db4beginners.com

The answer to “who’s the boss?” often muttered as a rhetorical question, isn’t always negative, though in two of the three following examples it is. Sometimes a decision-maker deserves praise and other times, he/she doesn’t seem to be watching the ball. In either case, you really may want to know.

I’ll start with a happy surprise.

Feeling Secure

Photo: en.wikipedia.org

I’ve recently needed to make countless calls to ask for documents and information. I lucked into Mr. Gopaul who picked up the phone at the West 48th Street NYC Social Security office. He didn’t pass me on to someone else as seems to happen increasingly these days, but quickly answered my questions, some relating to recent correspondence. I asked for his name so I could write a letter to recognize his exemplary service. His voice, at first impatient so as to get on to the next call, softened and he ended our conversation saying, “bless you.”

Who’s the boss? I took to Google.  My letter to the regional Social Security director went out that day.

One + Zero=Five

Photo: credit.com

In the private sector, I had a different experience. A bank handling my husband’s pension—Bank A–needed to take back a direct deposit payment I wasn’t entitled to.  My retail bank—Bank B–said it happens all the time and would handle the request from Bank A.

But Bank A didn’t take that one simple step. Instead, it sent me three documents, each one with different information and dollar amounts about upcoming payments. Two customer service people couldn’t figure it out any more than I could. To pay itself back Bank A has instead given itself five steps–that many more times to mess up—instead of one. I’m neither a banker nor a numbers person but this doesn’t compute. Who’s the boss?

Water, Water Everywhere….

I received a sell piece from a major museum for a five day trip to the Berkshires accompanied by the institution’s curator of American paintings and sculpture. I know this area well and have been to most if not all of its museums—there aren’t many–but was tempted by an excursion not too far from NYC with a knowledgeable curator. The fee got my attention–$5,999 per person double rate or almost $12,000 for two—but the charge is not why I ask “who’s the boss?” The “Rate Includes” section on the sell piece was the reason. You get “bottled water and coffee/tea with all meals.” For $12,000, I wouldn’t call this out any more than I would put on a dress’s price tag “$175 includes thread and zipper.” The program director should have deleted this and created some toothsome or valuable perks for the sell piece. [I also noted that not included are “meals not specified.” Let’s hope participants get all meals.]

Do you sometimes wonder who’s in charge and if the person is focusing on the work? Do you take time to find out who’s the boss to credit people who have done a superlative job as well as to gripe about those who don’t?

Photo: twitter.com

Service of Too Complicated

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

complicated

New York morning drive radio personality John Gambling loves cars, is a NASCAR fan and from hearing his conversation over the years has owned his share of, I would suspect, mostly if not exclusively luxury autos. My ears perked up when he admitted, in September, that the new Fisker–an electric car–was too complicated for him to drive.

fiskerkarmaThe Fisker Karma was introduced last December and it has won all sorts of awards. According to a press release about it: “The Fisker Karma is the only American car to win the Top Gear Luxury Car of the Year award; Automobile magazine named the Karma its Design of the Year; TIME magazine listed the Karma as one of its 50 Best Inventions; the Fisker Karma also received an Edison Award for Innovation and is a finalist in Fast Company’s Innovation by Design competition.”

All nice, but what’s the point if it’s too complicated for a car-enthusiast to drive?

bellsandwhistlesSimilarly, my nephew, who owns an auto body shop and has flirted with, owned and loved countless cars over the years, and knows them inside out, just bought a 2010 BMW-in perfect shape. He volunteered, as we sat in the lap of his luxurious leather seats, that he’d have to go to school to figure out all its bells and whistles.

So for who are these vehicles designed?

When it comes to cars, I’ve never opted for luxury [NYC roads and garages make mincemeat of them] and as long as I know how to turn on the AC, the heat and the radio, lock and unlock the door and put the gear in “drive,” I’m set. With cheap cars it’s been easy up until now. Fingers crossed.

It’s not only cars that daunt and are overcomplicated. I admit dreading something I must face: buying a new office computer. It will take a few weeks to find anything in it and I can look forward to learning to do in six steps what now takes me one. I should be excited at the thought of a new computer, not overwhelmed and dismayed, but my experience sends out warning signals.

Would you pay more for simple versions of the many things we rely on? Why don’t manufacturers take note?

 complicatedcomputer

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