Evan Kessler Dot Com

The Home of the Brave

Bureaucratic Ping Pong

Posted by evankessler on June 30, 2005

Today was completely retarded. I don’t mean to be insensitive to certain communities but if certain communities find themselves being offended by the word retarded than I’m sorry as that was not my intention. That being said, and I’ll say it again. Today was completely retarded. I was embroiled in a bureaucratic ping pong match between myself and the New York State Department of Labor. After my return from Las Vegas several weeks ago I had filed an unemployment insurance claim due to the fact that I’m currently lacking work. Unfortunately seeing as I was in Costa Rica for the majority of the past 2 weeks I’ve been unable to claim my benefits. In an attempt to set my benefits straight I dialed the phone number suggested on the New York State Department of Labor Website. Not only is this phone number impersonal but, it’s a maze of bureaucratic red tape and automated options. I must have typed into my keypad 15 different numbers before being given the option of speaking to a real live representative and when I finally got to that part after about 10 minutes of phone typing the message on the other end was something about “to talk to another person on this matter, call this other number”. However, when I followed their advice and called that other number, I’d be redirected towards the number I had just used. Talk about frustration.

I went back and forth with these two number selecting other options that I figured might give me quicker access to actual help with a heartbeat but to no avail. The closest I came on the first six calls was a message telling me to keep trying to call back every 15 to 20 minutes to maybe get a real person. Each subsequent call was met by a similar message until one time I finally broke through and you know what happened then? Give up? The person on the line put me through to an automated service to deal with my claim. Needless to say, the uncertain nature of my claim was not dealt with and I had to repeat the same process three more times including being bounced between the two phone numbers. I was in the midst of a nightmare. I was pretty much at the end of my rope when I finally broke through to a real person that actually talked me through the process and helped me out, but not without some automated assistance of course.

All in all, my ordeal probably took at least an hour and a half. An hour and a half where I could have been doing wonderful unemployed things like reading, or walking, or enjoying a nice ice cream cone outdoors. I’m making a call for all bureaucratic entities to steer away from automation and back to personal contact. Otherwise we’re all going to hell in a handbasket at the hands of automated help services. What’s next computerized 9-1-1 operators? I can hear it now, “If you’ve broken a bone press 1, If there is a fire press 2, if you have an intruder in your home press 3, and if you’re having a heart attack press 4, if you need automated CPR instructions press 9, all other inquiries please wait on the line for assistance. En espanol….”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: