Out of Control

I’m not saying new technology is out of control – OK, well, I will say it. Some very clever people are capable of some very stupid things, like imagining that Voice Recognition would be a boon and a benefit to people phoning government departments.

This afternoon I really needed to speak to someone at National Insurance. I telephoned the number and a very nice computer voice asked me to tell her what I wanted. It’s about the changes to Class 2 Contributions I told her. She said she’d put me through.

It took 20 minutes, which was the first hurdle. But then, when a man eventually deigned to answer, he admitted that he was in PAYE, which is not only the wrong department, it’s even in a completely different city! I said I’d like to complain and he agreed that he’d like to know how to do that too.

The second time I phoned I got the same woman, computerised, and repeated the stuff about Class 2. This time it took 30 minutes to send me to the wrong department. This time I was in Juvenile and Unregistered Numbers. I told the man my problem, and he said, Well, I used to work in Class 2, so maybe I can help. When I told him my problem, he seemed to have trouble believing me, so insisted on looking up the web pages on his own computer. I heard what he said, to himself. He said, ‘Good Grief’. He seemed to disbelieve what he was seeing too. Still, I told him there was more: try the next page, I said, and he gasped again. Then he tried filling in the form and got as far as I did.

Having failed to solve my problem, he sent me to the Online Help Desk, which I really didn’t want. Still, they had the answer. Tick the ‘No’ box, they said. But the answer is ‘Yes’, I told them. We know that, they agreed, but you have to say No if you want the proper form. It will arrive in 3 to 7 days. That’s feels just about as long a time as I’ve been hanging on this phone, I told them. We have our doubts about the Voice Recognition. It doesn’t work, I told them. Lots of people have said that, they said. We’d like to know how to complain too.

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Why, I can’t think of a better way to spend the first weekend in June, (or even the second weekend, which this is). Paying? Not paying? It’s all the same in the New Economy. Who needs money –

Living the New Economy: Salford 2014

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So many people have been looking at this recently, the storks that get the videos out haven’t been able to keep up. Catch it now, before the badger cull starts affecting us as well.

MIKE SCANTLEBURY SHOWREEL