The Measure of a Country

During a recent interview, Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain was quoted giving the following answer to one his parliament members as to why he believes so much in America and its President; and does he think they are on the right track?

Blair’s reply: “A simple way to take measure of a country is to look at… how many want in… and how many want to get out.”

Touché, Mr. Blair

Now This Is Annoying

We got a new car (well, really it’s an SUV and there’s nothing “new” about it, except that it now sits in my driveway instead of someone else’s.) Regardless, I logged on to the website of my insurance company to inform them we now had a new vehicle. I filled out a lengthy form, diligently including all of the information on the SUV, up to and including the VIN. You know the one I mean, it looks something like 3,000 random letters and numbers jumbled up and stamped on a piece of metal in a method that makes them nearly illegible.

So a few days later, I get an e-mail from my company informing me that they received my request to change my policy and instructed me to call them. So I did. And whilst on the phone with them, they ask, “Do you have the VIN?”

“Sure I do. And you do too, I sent it to you using your web site,” I replied.

“We don’t have it here. Can you provide it to me?”

Well, yes, but not right now. It’s on the truck. Which my wife drives, which is not with me because I’m at work, getting ever more irritated by the minute. Why make me include it on Lengthy Insurance Form 100-AA if they aren’t going to be using said form for the purposes of providing my insurance? Very irritating. Which reminds me of this…

So I called the phone company (SBC) the other day because I was having trouble with my Internet connection. When prompted, I entered my home phone number, my account number, and followed any number of prompts… “Press 7 to be connected with someone in a distant Asian call center who really couldn’t give a damn about your DSL line…”

When I finally began speaking with a human – who, in fact, actually was in a distant Asian call center and really didn’t give a damn about my DSL line. Who says you can’t trust a big corporation? – he asked me for my phone number and my account number. Why do I have to enter it using my touchpad if they’re going to ignore it completely? I suspect it has something to do with keeping me busy while they route the call from central Indiana to central India.

This happened again later when I called another company to report a problem.
“Press 1 if your faucet’s leaky.”
“Press 2 if you don’t like cabbage.”
“Press 3 if you can’t remember why you called.”

I went through the entire process (literally, several menus of selections) when the “human” picked up the phone and asked me (after I gave them my account number – again) what problems I was experiencing.

I told them I was experiencing an overwhelming desire to buy an foghorn and have it installed next to the phone, primarily for occasions just like these.