Michael Thomason mug

Michael Thomason

I’m sitting here at my laptop trying to figure out how to set the default font to something more agreeable to me. I write better when I see better. What I have now isn’t what I want and I’m tired of having to manually reset it each time it opens. It is very exasperating. I cannot seem to get any help on this so I am appealing to my friends out there for guidance. When I go to the built in help here on MS Word, it is everything but help. Being as it recognizes it hasn’t helped because it asks that question, it recommends I go online and let a friendly tech support type person assist me. I have been suckered into that circus too many times to count.

I honestly don’t know why I have to try to decipher what the help is trying to tell me. My old ears cannot get past the accents and phrasing of most of these folks. Why do so many outfits today use people who don’t speak English as their first language? It’s probably because they work cheap. I get that, but only up to a certain point. It’s like Walmart with me. I like things that don’t cost a lot, but I’m not always after the cheapest price. I will pay extra to get what I want and not question the expense if the product is worthy. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to have higher quality merchandise readily available? I note that Walmart is leading the way to self checkout. Many other outfits are following suit. This is likely an attempt to cut costs further or at least keep costs down. But this doesn’t seem to lead to better quality or service. With everybody demanding more pay for less work, endless benefits and suing every time they slip or fall or feel their sexual identity challenged, I suppose it does have a certain logic. Still, I’d pay extra to have a real live person check me out at the register and I’d prefer a native English speaker tech support person explain to me how I can set the default font in MS Word. I’ve struck out so far.

I think the really aggravating thing about tech support is the fake friendliness. The are forever saying things like: “I am glad to help you resolve this” or “Is there any other issue we can help you with?” The reality is, they say stuff like this even though they haven’t helped me at all and I’m sick of looking at Calibri Regular font 11 points. When they ask me if there’s anything else they can do, I always say “No, thank you.” Then they tack on yet another friendly something they read off a card, and I say “No, I’m good. Thank You.” Then they want you to take a survey in a worthless attempt to refine their responses. It is at this time I wish them luck with the coming monsoon season and hang up. Then I go outside, shake my fist at the sky and exclaim: “Why me, why me?”

So what is the solution? Why is every tech support person from somewhere water buffalo roam? Why is everything going to self checkout and ordering online? This is more than cost savings, this is the disintegration of customer service on all levels. Even cash transactions seem antiquated in this day of VISA and Mastercharge. Every day, the personal touch retreats farther and farther away like a tide that never returns. 

I order most stuff from Amazon Prime so I can get my cheap junk quicker. I don’t take surveys anymore and I’m getting tired of being asked. They don’t work. I know I sound like a grumpy old coot, but I don’t care. I AM a grumpy, old coot.

Now I discover that MS Word is no longer something you can just buy and take home and enjoy. You buy it online, it is downloaded online, and you are only renting it for a year. Now, I have to get my frustration out by kicking cats. I don’t really kick cats, I only pump fake to see them jump. See where all this has brought me? I’m losing my mind an impersonal ratchet click at a time and I sitting here typing in Calibri Regular 11 point because I can’t make this dang word processor program do what I want. I am a part of the machine now, I suppose, a small cog in the greater machine work of the impersonal future. Away down deep inside of me, I still think I can control my little corner of the world, but that thought gets smaller and farther away each day. Near as I can tell.

Michael Thomason's column appears weekly in the Palestine Herald-Press. He owns and operates Ranger Air & Heat.

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