Pat Piper has made a career learning something new. As a journalist in the news business, “something new” occurs every hour so he’s becoming an expert at understanding stuff he never thought about. Learning became a common word in “Future Talk: Conversations About Tomorrow” (Warner Books), the popular book he ghostwrote with Larry King as […]

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    A Digital Divide

    By on February 12, 2014 in See It Here, The Way I See It, Writing

    I bought an iPhone 5 and have spent the past three weeks learning what it does. Because I am one of those “digital-deficient” people, I signed up for a workshop to learn how to turn it on, make a call and get email. But because I’m such a genius, I quickly realized I had no need for this. So I called the Verizon Wireless store (using the iPhone 5 a few blocks away here in Virginia to cancel my appointment.

    Let’s put it this way: It would have been quicker to walk to the store.

    We all are fans of the automated voicemail where one pushes 2 for “droid” and 3 for “Spanish” and I can’t remember what 1 did though it probably was to get the third race at Santa Anita but I used a few adjectives and then said “operator.”

    The automated voice said “please wait” so I listened to Verizon ads for five minutes. Then a nice lady comes and I tell I want to cancel the appointment and am put on hold again for more ads and then she politely comes back and says “OK, you’re canceled for the workshop.”

    And then she asks the famous “Is there anything else I can help you with?” I asked if she could get rid of John Boehner and was was asked who he was and why? She told me she was in California which I had to ask, “Why would I have to talk to someone on the other side of the country when the store is just a few blocks away?”

    “Oh, well, you should have pushed 4 for “service.”

    Suddenly, I’m not the genius I once thought myself to be. All this time I thought this automated response was for efficiency. So much for the call being “important to us.”

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