My last blog ended on a plea for human engagement, and I am pleased to announce that such may still exist in some quarters. After waiting a few days for the lost check I had written about to appear, I decided to stop payment and write a check the old fashioned way. With some trepidation I called the 800 number for my bank expecting once again to deal with a robot, and go through the usual litany necessary in order to speak to a person. I was prepared to hear about the importance of my call, how busy people were in helping other clients, and to listen to those disgusting sounds masquerading as music.
My secret weapon against the assault on my sanity was the speaker button on my phone. I had learned that by engaging the speaker I could do something useful, and ignore the crap emanating from the phone while waiting for that person to whom I am so important to talk to me. I had also prepared myself psychologically for the travails to come by attempting to convince myself that in the grand scheme of things this was not a momentous event, and not nearly as important as my blood pressure.
It is true that on a couple of occasions in the past, I have lost my cool during similar situations, and once had that person to whom I was so important hang up on me, allegedly because I swore at him. I felt similar conflict was nearly inevitable, as I was determined not to pay the $35.00 stop payment fee, and was expecting a debate over who was to blame for the lost check . With that in mind I vowed to be assertive, but not hostile, and felt I was ready.
In spite of all the conditioning in preparation for the ordeal, I found myself totally unprepared for what was to come when a sweet and charming voice answered on the first ring and announced: “I am Elsie, How can I help you”? In my most serious voice, I explained to her my problem and my frustration, and girded myself for the inevitable conflict over the stop payment fee. She replied that she was sorry about my problem and I found myself thinking she really did sound sorry. She then asked me to wait a few moments while she looked up my account.
While doing so she inquired as to the weather in our town (it turned out that she was in another state), and then asked me about my weekend (this was Monday morning), and when I enquired about hers she told me she had taken her son to the park and they had played the Pokeman game. I had been wondering what that fad was all about, so she explained it to me in detail. After our little chat she told me that she had stopped payment and wished me a “good day” saying it in a manner suggesting she really meant it.
Oh, by the way I forgot to ask her about the stop payment fee. When I talked with Barb about it, she said she thought I had been seduced, and I replied I surely hoped so. After all at my age I rarely experience seduction even as a con game. Nevertheless, I did have some doubts as to the veracity of the experience, and checked my bank account to find that no stop payment fee had been leveled. But even if it had I doubt that it would have changed my perceptions of Elsie for she reminded me so much of my daughters, and the qualities of kindness, and caring for others that they exhibit.
In my opinion, what the world needs is more Elsies and fewer robots. I am aware that such a strategy is not very cost effective, and that a digital brain offers some advantages over the God given type, but when it comes to human interaction people relate better with people than do machines. I also know that Elsie did more yesterday to cement a lasting relationship between me and my bank than all the mailings, emails, and print ads to which I had been exposed over the yearsI had been a customer.

5 thoughts on “SEQUEL TO A BAD DAY

  1. Yes, Smittie or Smitty, sometimes talking to a real person is pleasant. I also find that asking about where the person is and what is happening there brings pleasantness to an otherwise robotish (such a word) exchanges. It’s good you got a good response. (also I enjoy your musings)


  2. Dad – I love your post! I FEE:L you pain. Sorry, I do confess I was hysterically laughing at all of your trials and frustration. YOU NEED TO WRITE A BOOK! I love you daddy –


  3. Thanks for your post. It is oddly reassuring to know that even very wise and emotionally intelligent people get annoyed and lose their cool over annoyances every once in a while. Thanks also for a reminder to be grateful, because our bad day is better than lots of people’s good day.


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