You Want Me To Wait How Long?

War Movies
Military tactics?

I’ve written about technology moving too fast and technology going too far on several occasions. Today, I want to attack from the other side. Maybe it’s the flank. I don’t know, I was born at a bad time for military service. By the time I was 18, the Viet Nam war conflict police action war was ending, the draft was over, but the Volunteer Army deal hadn’t really solidified into a thing worth doing. So, my understanding of military terms and tactics was obtained via osmosis while watching Rat Patrol, Patton, The Longest Day, Bridge at Remagen, Midway, Saving Private Ryan, Kelly’s Heroes, McHale’s Navy and assorted other things on large and little screens. I digress.

I’m not attacking technology today, I’m asking:

How long does it take for technology to be accepted into everyday business culture?

I’m asking because I have experienced several events, some firsthand and some vicariously, that tell me that some companies are living in a Warp-Bubble. Here are my favorite examples:

Pony Express Poster
Actual author unknown (Pony Express) – Smithsonian National Postal Museum

I have a friend who recently had to consolidate two bank accounts in the estate of a deceased family member. The bank had him pick one account and then told him that the entire balance would be available in 10-15 business days. 10-to-15 business days! The Pony Express delivered mail between Missouri and California in 10 days! It took less than 10 days for Apollo 11 to liftoff, put men on the moon, return and be plucked from the ocean. I understand that an estate was involved, but this was ridiculous. The problem was that there was no motivation for the bank to move faster.

Motivation, you see, allowed me to enjoy a small victory over a rental car company. One of their vans backed into our car while it was parked at a dealer, waiting for repairs. The company was self-insured and the Claims Manager said: “we investigate all claims to determine who’s at fault and what limits apply. We should have an answer in a few weeks. In the meantime, you can process a claim with your insurance company.” I said: “you know who’s good at investigating stuff? The police. That’s my next call.” Claim settled.

Last month, I was part of a meeting that was being conducted via conference call. Not enough members of the committee were on the call to represent a quorum. At one point the organizer asked: “how long should we wait?” One answer was: “I think it’s accepted business etiquette to allow 15 minutes for late arrivals” I checked. According to Emily Post online, 15 minutes is usually considered “fashionably late.” Well…OK…but…

A) She was talking about dinner parties

B) Many people seem to disagree

C) She’s dead! No offense, she was probably the greatest living authority on etiquette, but she stopped living in 1960, a few years before AT&T started offering conference calling and several decades before WebEx.

Since a person can join a WebEx meeting from anywhere on their phone, I don’t think we need to allow 15 minutes.

DocSign
The DocuSugn App

Two years ago, while I was attending a meeting in Chicago, I received an “Urgent Message” from AT&T. Our account representative had been reassigned and no one had sent me a renewal form for a service that was expiring later that day. I was asked to “…print the renewal, sign in the appropriate places and fax the signed form to…”

I called my new representative:

I am in a hotel without easy access to a printer or a fax machine. I’m going to sign the form with a digital signature and email it back to you.”

We don’t accept digital signatures.”

Sure you do, I’ve signed AT&T forms with them before.”

Our group manager doesn’t consider them to be legal signatures. You can (pay to) print in your hotel’s business center and fax it to us.”

First, this was your mistake. Second, I’m in a meeting. Third, Bill Clinton made digital signatures legal in 2000 – it’s 2013, so your manager is going to have to deal with this.”

Signature
It’s not the signature, it’s the details stored along with it that make it legal.

These shake-my-head-moments are still happening. Every night, during a commercial break, a TV newscaster will tease us with a few seconds worth of information about a “breaking news” story and then remind us to “tune in at 10:00 for the full story.”

Um, no thanks. I can tune into Twitter, or a half-dozen websites or I can Google this story right now. If I wait a few minutes, I can go to Facebook, get the full story, a few conspiracy theories and at least one crackpot explanation of why this bad news was the fault of Obama, the religious right, Roger Goodell, one or more minority groups or be told how this proves that global warming is or isn’t happening. If I wait until 10:00, this story may be a question in Trivia Crack’s History section.

For more on this topic, stay tuned, or add your story to the comments.

74 thoughts on “You Want Me To Wait How Long?

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  1. Great post and long laugh going on here this morning. It brought to mind when I purchased something on-line, a credit card number is put in and -BOOM – the money is taken from my account. BUT – I had to return the item…. now we have a problem… “your funds will be returned to your account in 7 to 10 days.”

    Liked by 2 people

  2. ‘Stay tuned’….nice ending, Dan. You know Toastmasters are masters for starting a meeting on time. When I attend meetings at work, I get so antsy when they say, ‘We’ll wait a few minutes until everyone is here.’ Not no, but hell no! Start the darn meeting now! I’m with you on this. Ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. It is always good to see one of your posts in my early morning email feed because I know I need to open it immediately and get my first chuckle of the day. Love the police report. :-) My latest was a motel who charged us $200 upon arrival even though we’d paid in full and then it is our responsibility to keep checking the credit card company to make sure it is taken off.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Judy, that’s a good one. I had a friend who ended up not being able to use his debit card to pay for dinner because a gas station had put $800 on his card. For $800, he could fill a tractor trailer, but the guy said “it’s our policy” – I don’t even know where to start with that. Thanks for the continued support. I hope I can keep putting something worthwhile in your inbox.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hate that 10 o’clock teaser mentality too, but just to flip the coin over; is it possible that by 10 o’clock they’ll have had time to investigate the story more thoroughly and be able to report back some actual facts rather than falling all over themselves with ridiculous speculations just to keep you watching?
    My motto for Twitter when it comes to being a “news” source is: Prematurely killing celebrities and trading professional athletes since 2006.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You raise a good point Norm. They always appear (in the soundbite) to “kmow” the story. Maybe if they actually alerted me to a developing situation as opposed to appearing all-knowing, I might tune in. Great motto for Twitter.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Great post! This fax thing has GOT to go. As you know, my son is doing his internship here, but he’s also working a job for pay as well, and his employer has some sorta fascination with having things printed out, signed, and faxed in. We have one of those printer, scanner, fax thingies, but we seldom use it. He’s come over just to use it twice this month! Sign and fax. Good gravy! Like livin in the dark ages! Just ridiculous.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I just sigh a little whenever someone wants me to print, sign and fax anything. A big part of my job is to automate the processing, storage and access to electronic documents. When we take an electronic document that we could work with and print it, not once, but two times, it makes me sad. Thanks for the comment, it’s always good to know that it’s not just me.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a post! You just nailed it Dan. Many companies claim about the new age technology and that the “future is now” thing but the fact is that they’re light years away from bringing it into action effectively. I’ll come back on this topic in my own style. Hope, I am half as good as you when writing such content.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. What a great post. I can hear the exasperation. I’m not up on the “cutting edge” of technology, Dan. We still don’t have cell phone coverage where I live and everything functions by satellite (no downloading a movie in this household). But I can relate to some of the annoying “can’t do’s” that sound more like, “can’t be bothered.” Banks are notorious for dragging their feet.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Banks are the worst. Period. Just the worst. I worked as a consultant to the banking industry in the 80s and none of these things were difficult then, they just can’t be bothered (that’s a great observation on your part). We have cell coverage, but we still have a land line phone and we still subscribe to a real newspaper. I’m not all gun-ho for everything to be replaced by an App, but waiting weeks for a financial transaction is ridiculous. Thanks for the comment.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh, don’t get me started on AT&T. Too late, you did. :)

    Years ago, my police colleagues and I were on a conference call with a team from AT&T. The purpose was to negotiate a contract for a network. They were hard-balling us on price and the meeting ended with no agreement. BUT they forgot to hang up. Yes, the phone company forgot to hang up. They then proceeded to hold an after-meeting meeting whereby they revealed their pricing strategy and made derogatory comments about our staff.

    We sat and listened to it all.

    After they wandered away from their phone, we began question about the legality and ethics of listening in on them. Our lawyer concluded there no legal problem – but there still was an ethical issue. So one of the cops, a real trickster of a guy, went downstairs and pulled the recording off phone system (yes, all departmental phone calls were recorded). He then put the tape in an envelope and mailed it to the AT&T team.

    Needless to say, our negotiations proceeded smoothly and equitably after that.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Oh the joy of a revenge-like moment. That’s funny, and it’s scary. One of the big problems with the Sony database hack was that Sony executives had said (in email) really nasty stuff about the artists, actors and business partners they deal with. It wouldn’t have been nearly as bad a thing if they had conducted themselves professionally. Thanks for adding that story here, it made me smile just thinking about you guys sitting around listening to that conversation.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Banks are a sore spot with me. I often have to call for payoff information in order to close a real estate deal for a client, and closings are usually scheduled only 2-3 days in advance, so I need that information NOW. Recently, a lender told me it would take two weeks for the bank to generate the payoff information!! Really? A hacker could drain all the accounts at the bank in something like 30 seconds. (But of course, I didn’t tell the rep that – no need to have my name put on some sort of watch list.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s so true Elizabeth! That’s a number that doesn’t have to be “generated” they know that all the time. Payoff balance was an attribute of mortgage processing systems 30 years ago! As I said before, banks are the worst. Thanks for adding your comment to the growing list.

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    1. The actual value is in the publicly available/traceable chain of certificates that verifies that the “signature” took place. I don’t use them often, but they are legal and I get a little upset when a company, especially a technology company, says they won’t accept them. I get the same feeling when the airlines say that “We only accept credit or debit cards for meals and beverages” but the cash in my wallet says “Legal tender for all debts, public and private” – I guess the laws don’t apply at 30,000′ Thanks for the comment Paul.

      Liked by 2 people

  10. “You know who’s good at investigating stuff? The police. That’s my next call.” Dan, I’m mentally high-fiving you for that one. And that business with the phone? Ugh. I can’t believe the crap that people try and pull. So many people/businesses simply don’t even know the laws of the land and try to enforce whatever they want. When I was 16, I won a business award in my high school entrepreneurship class. It was $100. When I went to collect it, they wouldn’t hand it over without me first giving them my social insurance number. I don’t know how it is down there, but up here, not many 16-year-olds even HAVE a SIN card yet. I did, but what’s the number one rule when it comes to identification? SIN cards are NOT to be used as ID unless it’s for your employer or the bank. My dad was upset that they were asking me for it, saying that it wasn’t legal to ask, and even more upset when they outright refused to give me the award and pretty much told us where to shove it. After a call to the District School Board, it took nearly 2 years, but I finally got my $100 right before I graduated. Turns out it WAS completely illegal for the school to be demanding student’s SI numbers (They WERE allowed to ask for the numbers if the payout was greater than $500), and even worse that they were storing them on unprotected school servers. I can’t deny the satisfaction I felt when I collected $500+ in graduation awards….. and wasn’t even asked for my number.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Victory is sweet Wendy. High five right back at you. Here, you pretty much have to get your child an SSN at birth if you want to claim them as a deduction. But, as you say, not to be used for identification. I resist giving it to anyone who doesn’t have a legitimate business reason for knowing it. I’m glad you stood your ground on that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I nodded along while reading and laughed at a few points. It is incredibly frustrating, isn’t it? To have all of this technology supposedly making life easier but then certain companies and organisations still insisting on dragging their feet. As an immigrant, I have had to deal with not just USCIS and other such federal agencies but lots of companies so that I could set up accounts with them and each and every one of them required me to jump through ridiculous hoops and have to repeat things over and over. This is, in part, because their approach to things is so rigid that it does not allow for human problem-solving or with being remotely flexible. I am very familiar with the car situation. That happened to me a few months ago and I too mentioned contacting the police and miraculously the garage was suddenly willing to put right the damage they had caused. Right now I am actually waiting on some FBI clearances so that I can volunteer in my sons’ school and I was told two weeks but that was several weeks ago now. What is stupid is that it is the international sweep that is taking time when I had to be thoroughly police checked and certified in order to emigrate to the country and if the agencies would just communicate with each other then it would all be so much easier.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re so right Laura. Most of these antidotes are kind of funny, but yours is sad. You need to get on with your life, and people are just plain wasting your time for no good reason. Taken to its most absurd level, people in some parts of the world are actually dying while they wait for information to move between people, even though the information is capable of moving at almost the speed of light. I hope things get straightened out for you.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was frustrating, mentally exhausting and in some cases expensive – such as when USCIS and USPS conspired to lose a Green Card – but ultimately it was not life limiting or inhibiting in any way. There are worse situations to be in. My point was really that in an era where data sharing should be so much easier there seems to be a disinclination for agencies to cooperate and make life easier for the consumer or person being served. It’s dysfunctional.

        In the break between my first reply and this I’ve just had another one: our health insurance provider has sub-contracted one area of provision which means we’ve been allocated new numbers but they did not think to inform us of this fact. We learned it by contacting them when my oldest son’s request for an appointment was rejected. Great!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. What a pain. My worst case was when our dental insurance provider took 5 months to approve a new bridge because the support post (original tooth) needed to be filled. By the time the dentist was allowed to pull the old bridge off, the post had failed. Now they won’t pay for the repair because it requires an implant and they aren’t covered.

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    1. Ugh, that is so frustrating John. On my one and only trip overseas, I called the two major credit card issuers I have to alert them to the trip. One said “we don’t require this kind of notice, our systems are designed to work without it.” The other thanked me (in a computer voice) for letting them know. Guess which one was denied in England…yeah, the sophisticated folks. Thanks for your comment.

      Liked by 2 people

  12. Great post Dan!
    The best come-back, I said: “you know who’s good at investigating stuff? The police. That’s my next call.” !!! I wish I was just half this quick with the come-backs and wit.
    Me. I’d think of a good line next week or never. :)

    I needed to transfer some funds from the bank to the Credit Union and needed to make a physical trip to the CU to do it. He-Man asked, ” can’t you do that online?” No. I have no way to transfer funds between two different financial institution of which I’m a customer. Why not? It would have saved me 40 minutes, a 6 mile trip, and cleared the same day. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. As you can see from my earlier responses, banks and financial institutions get no sympathy from me. If they had to give you that money, it would be through the mail and it would take weeks. Once you drive there and give them your money, it will clear in seconds and be available to you in days/weeks. Thanks for the comment Deborah.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. I think I read the whole post with a big smile on my face. It’s well written, funny, and oh, I so relate. My son’s school has me filling out three sets of forms every new school year, one for the school, one for the district and one … I’m not sure why. It’s the same exact information on each, but that makes no matter. A Xerox machine could be involved, not to mention digital files, but no, the school insists. Not to mention, I’ve lived in the same house for 11 years, we’re at the same address, nothing changed, so I should be able to just check a box, but no. Forms are forms, they say, and that’s their policy. As if that’s the law. I’m glad you told the AT&T rep a few things, as for banks, they love to act like mini governments. Yes, technology can be a pin, but here’s a good argument as to why it’s important in this day and age. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Schools, ugh, I remember. I was on a bunch of committees, one for over 15 years. Every meeting, without fail, they passed around a sheet asking us for name address phone and eventually email. Even though they sent invitations via email. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. I remember a time when a faxed signature wasn’t considered good enough because it was considered a copy of my signature, not my actual signature. Thankfully things have moved on from that. And actually I’m about to throw out my fax machine. I can’t remember when I last received anything other than advertising flyers from it. Won’t be sad to see it go!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m often the first person in the office and the fax machine is full of advertising. I wish we could get rid of it. Digital signatures are legal and are so much better that faxed one. I could have mailed the form to anyone and said “sign my name and fax it to these people” and they would have been happy.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Dan, always learn stuff from your posts. Love your quick come-backs and humor! Have not had such technology problems, but then I live a simple life in retirement. Do remember the work place useless meetings, problems & jam-ups with fax and copy machines. Have used a scanner and pdf file signature send to businesses that worked well. Also have used in credit card purchase problems, the comment…American Express will take care of it, unless you have another option here! That works! Being a real pain sometimes and I’ll ask to talk to a supervisor! On hold forever? Just put the phone on speaker and do other things. Chryssa

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Chryssa. This is the tech-post I suppressed earlier in the month. Obviously, I only have so much self-control. I still have to deal with some of those problems. Every now and then, someone still complains that the FAX isn’t working. I try not to visibly roll my eyes, but…I will put someone on speaker and wait them out, that’s a good idea.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. My health insurance company billed me in February for something they shouldn’t have billed me for. I knew that for certain because my health insurance company sent me written confirmation in February that I would not be billed for the service in March. I called said health insurance company in March to contest the bill. They said they would need to look into it; they didn’t have access to the records of the other department WITHIN THE SAME INSURANCE COMPANY. I protested. I provided details and confirmation. I tried, unsuccessfully, to argue with logic. That failed. I was told it would take “at least three weeks” to “research my question.” 21 days! I waited 30 and called back. They’d “lost” the request I made and routed me back to the original department. I hung up and paid the bill. It was small enough that I could do so, and I would rather have less money than have spent another minute on the phone with that company. You’re right – it’s not that these places can’t do these things. It’s that they don’t want to or it isn’t financially worth doing.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I guess I got a little more of the tech. age birth than you did. When I was in college the first time around, I was majoring in accounting(after the stroke, in 1973). One of the required classes was Introduction to Computer Science. This was when a computer — one — filled an entire room. I saw my first Apple computer when I was a patient rep. at a state hospital. That was 1981. Yep, it’s come along way and has taken its time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was also a student working on one of those distant room-filling computers in 1973. Some things have moved very fast since then and some, not so much. I guess people will always get comfy with something and want to stay there. I just wish so many people weren’t so comfy with faxes. Thanks for the comment Glynis.

      Like

  18. Great topic! I’m with you on that ‘tune in at 10’ news teaser. TV newscasts are desperate to hold a diminishing audience but they are fighting a losing battle regardless of their tactics. Good stuff, Dan 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I hadn’t thought about this issue, Dan. But now that you’ve forced me to, I’m wondering why I had to send a letter detailing my complaint about books damaged in shipment to my self publishing company after I had already sent an email with all the details — the same company that forced this old lady to do every single step of the self-publishing torture on line: no human contact allowed. On another technological note, I appreciate your comment on the post, “Perfectly Said,” which I inadvertently, published earlier that I intended to while I was struggling with technical difficulties,Then, still locked in sweaty struggle, I forgot to delete the post until you read it and responded. So, when it appears on my blog again later, please don’t think you are seeing double or having a chemical in-balance problem.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In so many places, we are forced to work the way that fits someone’s business model rather than what might be the most productive way. I thought your post might have been an accident but I wanted to comment anyway.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I am using my Friday break to catch up on my blog. I hope you don’t mind a late response, at least not 10 to 15 days!! :)
    I am behind in my technology and experience technical difficulties once a week, Dan. What is funny is my Dad had a computer (used and from NASA) while I could have started on the “ground floor,” but I did sign into Computer Lab in college and could write Power Points when I was in my 40’s. My kids laugh because I still go into my bank and know the bank manager, the tellers, too. I write out my checks and use the mail system to not only mail those out, but to continue writing to my Mom, Aunt and Uncle (in their 80’s) and 2 dear friends.
    I agree in your world of business, 5 minutes is long enough to “wait” on late arrivals, the two bank accounts could easily meld together into one “estate” and the signature thing should be allowed through a cell phone. My youngest scans my check and deposits my check within seconds. I pay her “my contribution” to her college debt every 2 weeks. Mainly, handed to her, sometimes put into night deposit drawer. This is a little long, you may edit as you wish, Dan. I was going to finish that when I bring a check or cash to put into her account there is a newer teller who asks ME to show ID. Hmmm. Depositing should not need ID but maybe I am a thief slowly draining my account out? :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for the comment Robin. I don’t edit them unless people alert me to typos they want me to fix. I figure if you read the post, you’re entitled to write whatever you like.

      Sooner or later I think everyone falls behind the technology curve. I do this stuff for a living so it’s either easier to stay current or harder to fall behind. I’m not sure which. We still use checks and the post office. I think a handwritten letter is a wonderful joy to share My handwriting is not good. I guess they aren’t even teaching writing in a lot of schools now. I think that’s sad.

      Unless you’re depositing an amount of money the US Treasury would want to know about, I don’t know why you need to show ID to make a deposit. I guess it’s just a case of house rules. Thanks again for the comment.

      Like

  21. Aha! Dan, this is a wonderful read. Hilarious, actually! I like the answer you gave the insurance claims manager. And the part about Googling the story before it can be aired; finding it on Twitter, FB, etc. Which is very true, and very right. I see your point. In this age, businesses must appreciate technology and optimize it. Or they risk losing some clients.
    But these sides people still wait around for 9 o’clock news. Myself I hardly even turn on the TV. It’s mostly just propaganda, some depressing news, or baloney. Thanks, Dan.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. So true Dan. I do like the point made above about perhaps there being more info by ten o’clock, but sadly, I haven’t seen intelligent, concise news reporting like that in a long time. The one I loathe is the pre news teaser that is about the only really good report which they keep teasing about all theough out the show that is “coming uo” but which only arrives in the last two mi utes and is often just a brief taste of what you thought was going to be a real doozie! Grrrrrr……
    I don’t watch the news much anymore….or twitter and tweet. Most days I just have to listen to our patients conversations in the waiting room to gat alll the “scoop” I can handle. Lol great post Dan, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cheryl. I have watched news and sports news shows because they’ve teased me with some story that sounds interesting, only to find out it’s nothing. Having patients come through all day would make you not want to hear any more about the news. Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Thanks Ellen. I guess Emily’s advice is still relevant in some situations, maybe those “nice cup of tea” deals, but it doesn’t normally come up. As for dead people voting, it was common in a few Connecticut cities for a while. Maybe they were just passionate about the candidate.

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