Blog: A Tale of Online Horror

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Burt Ross

I just experienced a tale of online horror and, afterwards, I needed alcohol to be delivered to me intravenously so I could relieve the pain quickly. I went online, entered my password and user name and got a message nobody wants to hear: “We don’t recognize you.” I did not have plastic surgery. I am perfectly recognizable. I don’t know what in heaven’s name my computer was talking about.

And so began the horror. I called an 800 number and was immediately connected to a person living somewhere in Nepal or Bangladesh. The person spoke with a heavy accent, but I think she asked for every piece of information I have gathered in 74 years. She wanted my mother’s maiden name, the make of my first car, and the name of my cat. When I insisted that I do not have a cat, she was equally adamant that I most certainly do. This intensive interview lasted until I was thoroughly exhausted, and that was when she said it was time to connect me to technical support.

“Whom have I been speaking to the past hour,” I inquired, “the candle stick maker?”

“You don’t have to be nasty, Mr. Ross. All I am trying to do is to help you,” she countered. And so I was passed on to a new foreigner, this time from the Philippines.

“We appreciate your business,” she opened with, and that’s when I knew my troubles were going to continue. She actually asked me virtually every single question that I had just answered for her predecessor.

“Don’t you people talk to one another?” I queried, but again I heard the familiar, “Mr. Ross, please do not get nasty.”

It was then I did what I do best — I punted. Those of you who know me well know that I have converted my bride’s name “Joan” into a two syllable word when I need help. “Jo-an,” I cried for help and, as always, my bride came to the rescue. Nobody has ever accused her of being nasty. Within minutes she had made peace with Asia, and shortly thereafter, my computer once again recognized me, and I was back online.