Note from Dan: This came in Friday from John Arbogast, who lives in Roanoke. I have a bottomless well of sympathy for his observations.
By John K. Arbogast
I am a long-time media professional (now a “has-been”) who can’t spell and wants your current media celebrity status to bring more attention to 3 big problems that your June 7, 2012 column about the long lines and “less-than knowledgeable” clerks at the DMV reminded me of.
I too had a long wait at the DMV several weeks ago, even though my 2 waits, first in the line to get a number and second a wait before my assigned number came up, added up to only about a half hour instead of the longer wait that the 90-year-old woman who you mentioned in your 6/7/12 column experienced when working to get her voter ID switched from New Jersey.
Waiting seems to be THE NORM THESE DAYS at stores, at businesses, on the phone to businesses, in hospitals, getting medical help, public offices, and everywhere. This problem needs your media exposure.
As a consumer, I believe that the increased wait situation is a popular way for managers to hire [fewer] workers. This consumer believes that it is poor business management to make customers wait because the managers want to save money. This strategy makes us consumers victims. Has American CAPITALISM come to this???
Your 6/7/12 column mention that DMV clerks got signals crossed and that workers at DMV told the 90-year-old mom that they would mail to the mom her ID but mom had not received it yet at the time that you interviewed the daughter. This brought to my mind the second problem that needs your media exposure. There is an increased problem with “less-than-knowledgeable ” workers in America.
Just look at fast-food restaurants and at many stores in which “floor-walkers” can’t answer shoppers’ questions. It’s human to get signals crossed, but the clerk at the DMV who recently helped me didn’t know how to transfer the personalized Virginia license plate from the old car we sold that my wife used to drive to the car that I now drive, so she had to get help from another DMV worker.
Does American private as well as public businesses and schools need to spend more time and money for training new workers plus educating veteran workers as new procedures come out? Does American private as well as public businesses and schools need to spend more time and money for interviewing and hiring new workers?
I don’t believe that you have written about the third problem afflicting American consumers, which is the popular practice everywhere for making telephone callers press 1 for this, 2 for that, 3 for go jump in a lake, and so forth. It’s impossible for callers like 60-year-old me to reach a nurse, the doctor’s appointment scheduler or get answers from the health insurance company and many others.
Lucky callers have learned to touch a certain number to shorten their telephone agony from a long time down to only a short time spent jumping through hoops. People who use the computer might find different phone numbers to call.
Again, are American private as well as public businesses trying to save money buy buying a cumbersome telephone system to direct consumers rather than hiring more people to answer the phone?