Has anybody noticed that as corporate productivity goes up, customer productivity goes down? Can we get that on the record in the great balance sheet in the sky, along with other calculations of the real costs of doing business, like carbon footprints and toxic waste?
I’m talking about how many hours it takes on the phone with “customer service” just to get to the point where you finally have not only a human being on the other end of the line, but a Level 2 Tech, that mythical wizard behind the curtain who understands your issue but who can’t give out a direct phone number, and who puts you on hold until your call gets dropped. This is where much of my time goes when I’m not working—trying to fix something that some company has screwed up. I have spent as much as two hours on one phone call, waiting to get to that Level 2 Tech so that I can start all over again. I’m sure you have too.
Then there’s the extra level of irony that while we’re hung up on hold, the profits of “productivity,” in the form of corporate wealth and outrageous executive salaries, are being spent on buying nutcase politicians who are going to make our lives even more miserable with plans like denying birth control to women, denying climate change as the world self-immolates, outlawing critical thinking (see the platform of the Texas Republican party), and projecting their psychopathology onto the poor—who are poor, they think, because they just want to be leeches on society.
In a conspiracy theory interpretation, it feels like a diabolically productive initiative to keep us busy and distracted while they finish us off, demolishing voting rights for poor people, students, minorities and old folks, so as to emasculate the inconvenience of democracy; outsourcing what’s left of our jobs; killing off the few unions that remain; shredding the social safety net; and completing Orwell’s vision: Please hold. Your call is very important to us.