Friday afternoon I get a phone call from my doctor’s office. So I answer it. But it isn’t my doctor calling, it’s his robot secretary who informs me that my appointment for Monday morning has be rescheduled due to a conflict. So sorry. It’s five thirty in the afternoon. I know his offices aren’t open, but I call anyway to see if the scheduler is available after hours. No, the scheduler is not available, and I won’t be able to get in touch with them until Monday, when the appointment was scheduled in the first place.
This is not the first time this has happened. It happens so frequently, computers dialing phones for people who entrust them to communicate with the customers and patients that rely on them, that I’ve frankly lost track of the number. The number of times where I have to schedule time on my calendar so that I will remember to call someone who had their computer call me with a demand to do something that can’t be done until the next business day. Either that or I forget to call altogether and the bill doesn’t get paid or the appointment doesn’t get rescheduled and I end up making trips across town that could have been avoided had someone actually picked up the phone and talked to me, person to person.
This is one of those instances where the convenience of automation is in reality an inconvenience foisted off on the other party. A classic case of an externalized cost. Rather than pay someone to have these kinds of information heavy conversations at the convenience of both concerned parties, the b