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Does That Flight Come with a Pilot?

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Does That Flight Come with a Pilot?

Loretta LaRoche
Loretta LaRoche More by this author
Feb 25, 2011 at 03:00 AM 0 comments

We’ve all heard the expression “I’m sick of being nickel and dimed.” Well, I have reached the end of my rope when it comes to this axiom. The other day I attempted to get a number from Directory Assistance with the clone that is fast becoming the voice of America. Most often it misinterprets my requests and gives me numbers in cities I have never heard of.

This must be happening to a lot of people because the phone company has come up with a solution. If you’re annoyed at the robot you can press the number 1 and get a real operator for an additional 25 cents. So on top of the money it costs to access a number, you now have to pay additional funds to talk to a human being who can understand what the robot has screwed up! You used to be able to do it for free.

If you delve into it, the phone company will tell you this: Too many people prefer not to talk to the clone so they have to charge extra money. I suppose it would cost too much to bring the real people back so that more humans would be employed rather than robots. But this is the new wave of so-called economic prudence.

The airlines now charge for just about everything: food, luggage, ear buds, pillows and blankets. A pillow and a thin blanket used to be a courtesy for us on a flight. Not anymore. If you want it, you buy it! How many of us, unless we’re desperate, want a pillow harder than a rock and a blanket that has no potential for warmth as a remembrance of our trip?

I bought a refundable ticket for a recent trip and tried to change it. By the time I was told all the rules and the additional costs, I felt as if I had just gotten off a Ferris Wheel run by a mad man. The explanations were so convoluted that I was convinced the agent had previously worked for the CIA. 

I’m waiting for the airlines to start charging for the pilots. We’ll soon walk onto a full airplane with an empty cockpit. They’ll ask for volunteers first and if there aren’t any takers, they’ll read off a menu of individuals with certain levels of competency and charge accordingly.

Banks now charge for all kinds of services that used to be free. I’m sure they will soon make you pay to talk to the teller. All they have to do is call them a consultant or a coach and they’ll be able to grab more cash from us.

Paying your credit cards by phone is another money drain. They position it as a convenience and then inform you that it will cost you $10 to $15 for the service. The reason is that they have to process it. How taxing is this process and how many people are involved in the process?  Don’t you just access the account on a computer and put in the amount with the person’s information? How long does that take? Not $15 dollars worth. And if I don’t pay on time, it will cost me $25 or $30 dollars.

Sure, you can do it on the internet or put it in the mail and not be driven nuts. But all the above organizations used to have services that were supposed to make their customers feel that they were valued. Perhaps it’s time to re-evaluate some of the “nickel and dime” mentality. Perhaps it’s time to return to some soothing and supportive ways to keep clientele wanting to come back instead of running away.

Lighten Up Your Week:

This week, take time to write a letter to either Directory Assistance or the airlines and let them know how we feel about their policies. It’s a start to more sanity!

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