Friday, August 03, 2007


If it seems I’m in something of a less-than-saintly mood of late, I can assure you it’s just a phase…a way for me to blow off a little steam, and I hope you’ll bear with me…it will pass soon. But let’s face it, my application for sainthood will never be approved. I have much too short an emotional fuse for it and sometimes startle even myself by going from my usual adorable, charming, sweet-natured self into a raging idiot spewing lava from every orifice in the blink of an eye.

Today offered a perfect example. Though my just-released book, The Dream Ender, is available on, its cover photo does not appear…after more than two weeks…under “Books: The Dream Ender.” Clicking on the title does take you to an information page on the book, which does show the cover.

So I wanted to write to Amazon to ask what could be done to put it up in both places. I found the well-hidden “Contact Us” button and was taken to the proper page, which requested my name and the nature of my wanting to contact them. I was given a number of options: questions about my order, questions about the status of my order, and several other order-related options. At the bottom is an option for “Other matters.” I clicked “Other matters” which presented me with a very attractive page on which I was asked for my name and my order number.

I do not have an order number. My question is not about an order. So I typed my problem in the indicated box anyway, and hit “Submit.” I was told that I had not provided the required information…meaning my order number…and therefore they could not allow me to post my message.

Instant Mt. St. Helens! How the devil can I write them about something other than an order? Simple. I can’t. And why? Because if I’m not writing them about an order, they could care less what my problem might be. Then why the hell offer an “Other matters” option when they totally refuse to acknowledge that there might be another matter?

At one time, businesses used to be there for the convenience of the customer. Now the customer is there only at the convenience of the business. Not only do they not give a hoot in hell about you (despite their infuriatingly hypocritical “Your call is very important to us” baloney), they do everything in their power to make sure that actually getting a response to a question not in their list of “Frequently Asked Questions”, is next to impossible, as it is to find a way to actually contact a human being. With many companies, it is not “next to impossible”: it simply can’t be done. If they do deign to have a customer service telephone line, they have A customer service telephone line. (“Your call is very important to us. Please stay on the line and your call will be answered by the next available representative. Your wait time is approximately 3 years, ten months, twenty-nine days, and fifteen minutes”)

I do not have a “land-line” phone; just my cell phone, and I buy blocks of minutes. No matter what business I call, I am treated to: “For English, press 1”—why should I have to press 1 for my own language in my own country? Which is followed by “For so-and-so, press 4; for such and such, press 5; for this and that, press 6…” ad infinitum. Some of them compound the fury by wanting to know if I would be interested in hearing all about their latest product or “service”, and all of which eats into my minutes and my money.

Perhaps it is just me. Maybe it’s the weather (it’s quite hot today). But I think it’s mainly that I do not like to be disregarded, ignored, insulted, summarily dismissed, or treated like pond scum, and that too few people who may agree with me just accept it as their due. It is not their due. It is not my due, and I’ll be damned if I will just shut up and take it if I have any option at all.

Consider this post an option.

Oh, and if you want to know what I really think, just ask.

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