Saturday, February 19, 2011

None So Blind

by Caren Crane

Lately at the dreaded day job (henceforth known as the DDJ), I have had occasion to speak with (or about) a number of customers who claim they have no knowledge of a certain service in which their business was enrolled. A free service, mind you, and one which saves them money. Still, a small number are miffed they "didn't know" about it (intentional use of quote bunnies) and it made them see red!

Now, letters were sent. Two letters, as a matter of fact. Before the service was implemented, each of these customers was also called and, if they answered the phone, were asked if they knew about the service and if they wanted it. If no answer, a message was left. In any case, they received yet another letter when the service was activated. Still, they claim no knowledge.

Which has made me think that the old adage "there are none so blind as those who will not see" is certainly true. Now, at my house we don't answer the phone unless we can tell it is a person or business with whom we wish to speak. If it is a telemarketing firm or one of those anonymous phone numbers, we tend to let the machine pick it up. We figure those who really need or want to speak to us will leave a message. We listen to messages, though, so we can't claim we didn't know they called.

I vividly remember the days before cell phones and caller ID. Heck, I remember having a rotary dial phone. We picked up the phone when it rang. We had no e-mail or internet, so the mail was a major source of information. We read mail, even junk mail!

These days we are bombarded with information all day long: calls, texts, e-mail and advertisements on the TV, radio, billboards and even subliminally on our TiVos. I suppose it's no wonder customers are claiming they "don't know" about services, despite efforts to inform them. If they are anything like me, they don't want to know!

I'm about ready for another information vacation. Although it would mean missing things I love, like our fantastic blog or e-mail from my Banditas, I like to disconnect and give my brain a break sometimes. Not this weekend, though. I'm with you guys today, then my husband and I have to fill out a heinous financial aid form (the dreaded CSS Profile) for my older daughter on Sunday. I do have Monday off, though. Maybe I'll take a break then and do my favorite commercial-free activity: read a great book.

Are you ready for an information vacation? Ever find it hard to disconnect from your phone or computer? Had a bout of information overload recently? Ever go cold turkey (either on purpose or had it forced upon you)? I'd love to hear how you regain head space and reboot your brain!
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57 comments:

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

OH NO! Not YOU, Chookie!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I'm going to be very busy today and I do NOT need to ride herd over this spoiled chook (looks meaningfully at BJ and Barb) to look after!

Posh, can you mind him for a little while?

AC

BJ said...

Oh thank heavens....I've got a busy day planned...and he kept me up late last night...LOL

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Read my lips, BJ...
TOO MUCH CHOCOLATE!

That nervy bird is actually complaining about lack of TimTams, like I would give HIM any if I had them.

June M. said...

Probably the last time I went cold turkey from computer was during an ice storm a couple of years ago when electricity was knocked out for days. Unfortunately, cell phones still worked and I still had to go to work!

BJ said...

As for the last time I got away from it all...it was last March....we went to Mount Rushmore. It was AWESOME. The cell phones only had service here and there and I left the laptop at home. We stayed in a cute little cabin and since it was off season, the place wasn't packed with tourist. The Year before we went Camping in Yellowstone....Yes Tent Camping...so it was away from everything, but the pictures were worth everything.
Sometimes...you have to just do it.
And when I can go on a trip away from it all...I will turn off the ringer take the door bell battery out and scrapbook my travels.

BJ said...

Ahhhhh I'm sorry I promise I'll make it up to you :0)
-Hugs-

Helen said...

Well I am sure Caren can look after him maybe he can answer the phone for you Caren LOL.

Caren
I great post and I agree sometimes there is so much information coming thru I am sure I close my mind to everything and that is one reason I love to sit down and read a good book or spend time just playing with the grandkids they bring you back down to earth quickly LOL.
At work I have another problem were people don't include me in on emails that I really need to know about so I call myself the mushroom superviser sometimes I am happy to be this way but other times I then get a phone call asking why I didn't do something and when I say I wasn't informed they then find the email and send it to me later @$#@.

Have Fun
Helen

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

I take a personal technology break whenever I'm on a cruise. Only I usually get the shakes about halfway through and find myself going on shore strictly to find an internet cafe so I can check my email.

Yes, sadly, I am an addict. :-P

AC

Donna MacMeans said...

Caren - Had to laugh at your blog. My philosophy is that there is never anything truly FREE. There's always some hidden cost. I've come to this conclusion via painful experience so I could be very much like your customers.

I spent too much time on email, that's for sure. But I love staying in touch with everyone, plus I cringe at the amount of emails that would be in my inbox if I went on an information vacation for very long. But hey - any vacation, even an information one, is good for the soul.

Anna Campbell said...

Aunty Cindy, you managed to rip him bloody but unbowed out of BJ's hands. Or perhaps it was BJ who was bloody but unbowed!

Caren, your piece made me laugh. I tend to get a bit manic about the internet if I don't make myself take a break from it. I don't have a laptop - yeah, I know, shock, horror - so when I travel I really do take a break from being online. And I'm very happy that's the situation although sometimes having to find an internet terminal can be a problem when there's something important going on. My brain takes a bit of a holiday when it knows it doesn't have to worry about stuff pinging through into the inbox!

Christine Wells said...

Caren, great blog! It is so hard with all this information coming at you from every direction, isn't it? At least once in every book (about the 100 page mark) it's such hard going for me to write the next page that I just have to 'quiet the monkey mind' and disconnect from the internet. I even starve myself of novels sometimes, just so that my brain gets so bored it starts weaving its own story again.

Hope you have a lovely holiday on Monday and good luck with the CSS!

Congrats on the rooster, AC!

Sheree said...

My old laptop has pretty much died (because I'm not spending any money to fix it) and I feel like I'm adrift. No longer can I look things up or check my emails while in bed. No, now I have to wait until I GET OUT OF BED!!! to use the desktop computer! I feel sooo deprived!

jennifertanner said...

Hi Caren:

Congrats, on the GR, AC!

I was pretty good about not being glued to the computer when I had a desk top. With a laptop, it's different. That's where my need to be connected ends. I have a BlackBerry but don't know how to use all the functions. I can text and take pics. What I don't understand is why anyone would want to watch a movie on their phone? The power lines are under the street in our neighborhood so even in a bad storm, we rarely lose power, but when we do, I do go through laptop withdrawal. Have a great weekend! Pink :)

barb said...

You can send him to me AC .... I did give him a few tim tams when he was with me..... but he won't be looking over the beach as I am back home now....

I have had a bit of a break for the last couple of weeks as I was only able to get on a couple of times..... and I got GR both times LOL.... must have been perfect timing.... we have a don't call register here in Aus and they aren't supposed to phone you but you csn still get charity calls

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I am going to say this right here in the lair, I sometimes reach such an overload on words and numbers that I don't even read. Don't hate me okay?? I even take a hiatus from my beloved books. I don't like being forced into non-communication though, such as power being off or cable down. I don't like being forced into anything, got to have a choice or I get cranky.

Aunty Cindy, I will take him off your hands, BF and I are going to be working at his house today and I am sure we can find something for Chookie to do.

PJ said...

Congrats, AC! Fun times ahead, eh?

Caren, there will always be people who "don't want to know." Even before the technology explosion, I encountered them almost daily at the former DDJ.

I hate being disconnected from the internet. I feel like I'm cut off from the world yet I know my brain needs a break from time to time. We go to the beach for a week every summer. I used to be completely cut off during that week and, let me tell you, it felt great! Okay, maybe not the first day. Or the second day either. But, by the third day? Yeah, it felt great. I'd play in the surf, build sand castles, go for long walks, sprawl in my beach chair, dip my feet in the water and lose myself in a good book.
Now I have my laptop which, of course, will go with me this year but I've promised myself only one daily check of the Dish/email/facebook/twitter/favorite blogs...oh my, this isn't going to work, is it?

Caren Crane said...

Aunty, I can't believe you snagged the GR from BJ's hands! After the rumor - er...story - last night about the two of them, I thought she would have him forever!

Then again, he is a fickle chook and may have grown weary of adoration. You can never tell with him!

Caren Crane said...

AC, no fears. I will take him with me to the cookie booth we have coming up shortly. He'll be great outside Sam's Club, don't you think? *snort*

Caren Crane said...

BJ, SCANDAL all the way around! What in the world were you and the GH up to so very LATE last night? Oh, my!

Caren Crane said...

AC, you are wise to keep the GR away from the Tim Tams. He has put on some weight, I noticed. Maybe lifting cartons of cookies will help with that. *eg*

Caren Crane said...

June, how do you feel about all that connectedness? I have to say, I kind of like it when we're sans cable and cell phones. It's strange, though, to be completely without in a place your used to having it. Completely different if you have, say, a cabin in the woods with no technology (Kirsten!).

Caren Crane said...

BJ, I"m quite envious of both your trip to Mt. Rushmore and the tent camping in Yellowstone. My usband and I have wanted to get out west to tramp around the national parks for years now. Sadly, time and distance are working against us. We'll get out there one of these years, though, while we can still walk!

I hadn't thought of disconnecting the doorbell. I'm putting it on my list. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Helen, the "mushroom supervisor" - I love that! Being left off important e-mails at work is the worst. Especially when you get a whole chain where it's been around to different people and departments and NO ONE noticed that you weren't copied on anything. Ack! Then you're behind the eight-ball when you had no way of knowing. Mushroom, indeed, living in the dark with no one shining a light in!

I'm going to remember that phrase. It's so perfectly succint and descriptive!

And never fear, Helen, the GR will be put to work here!

Caren Crane said...

AC, we're always glad when you check in with us mid-cruise. Selfish of us, I know, but we love to hear that you're lolling about in the sun and can barely type anything because it's almost time to toddle off to the buffet again. *g*

I really plan to stow away in your luggage one day!

Caren Crane said...

Donna, too true about the "hidden" costs of things. I, too, am wary of anything that sounds too good to be true. *g*

Yes, the landslide of e-mail, even after a weekend away from the computer, is daunting. After a week, I usually delete e-mails with extreme prejudice and then catch up as I need to. I've usually missed about a month of Bandita news over the course of two days, so it takes some catch-up. We are all tremendously busy and active!

I'm ready for the challenge again. I know I'll get a weekend away on Memorial Day, but I'm trying to arrange something before then. Easter is likely. Wonder if I can manage to pop off to my mom's before then? Hm...

Caren Crane said...

Anna C., I am the same way: no laptop, no worries. If I had one (and Ihave in the past), I would feel compelled to stay connected. Without it, I put it out of mind!

The real trouble is getting my older daughter to disconnect. She can hardly stand to turn her phone off at times. She's someone who stresses quite a bit anyway, so I worry about her trying to stay on top of her friends' dramas all the time. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Christine, I understand starving the monkey mind, indeed I do! Sometimes I intentionally leave myself between books I'm reading so I'll be forced to do things like go through all my coupons or scrub the bathtub (shudder). My restless brain always starts telling me stories about other women trapped in desperate )or desperately funny) situations.

Very inspirational, if painful to my monkey mind!

Caren Crane said...

Sheree, isn't it funny to think that we used to not have a computer at home at all? I remember when I was in college and we first got "e-mail". There was no interface, just a green screen. You really had to know what you were doing to use it, too, and go to the computer lab at school. Now, we can't live without it!

It's crazy to think about how much more complicated life is with all this technology. I think I learned many more lessons in patience back then. These days, who has to wait for anything, really?

Caren Crane said...

Pink, you are a woman after my heart! I am all about "just enough" technology. Sure, use it if it's useful, but not just because it's there. I can't imagine watching a movie on my phone, either.

Then again, I never thought my children needed a DVD player in the car, either. You know what my kids did (and still do) on long car trips? They slept or read books or played the license play game or I Spy! Yes, in this millennium!

Caren Crane said...

Barb, I love the "do not call" registry, but it does have its limitations (like the charities). Also, we get incessant calls from some collection agency looking for the new wife of my ex-stepfather. Now, we don't share a last name (and never did), so I have no idea why anything to do with her is linked with me and my husband in any way, but we can't get them to stop calling. I may have to call the Attorney General's office!

As to the GR, he is a known mooch. He'll glom onto a beach vacation in a heartbeat! If you thought it "coincidental" that you nabbed him whilst at the beach, think again, dearest. *g*

Caren Crane said...

Dianna, I have reached that point before, where even books are too much information. That's usually when I end up going to work in the yard and listening to nature! It's a sure cure for TMI. *g*

Please, take the GR to work on the house with you. I'm afraid he may eat all the cookies at the cookie booth. Speaking of which, I need to jet! Back in a couple of hours...

Caren Crane said...

PJ, you may have to leave the laptop at home when you vacation this year, if only for your mental health. Really, the Dishies will survive without you (although I completely understand the withdrawal!). We'll all be here when you get back. Really!

Joan said...

I confess to "not knowing" that on NYD I "pocket dialed" an insurance program for my cell phone. Saw this readout about texting something to a number but couldn't make heads or tails of it.

Till I was charged $7 on my next bill!

Sigh.

I am very close to my internet and the only time recently I "disconnected" was immediately after my hip surgery....too sore to go to the desk ....I got through but I was on drugs :D

Beth Andrews said...

Caren, I do like to disconnect every once in a while. It's amazing how much I can get done when I'm not checking blogs and emails every 15 minutes *g*

I had to laugh at your mentioning a rotary dial phone. My mom only recently replaced the rotary phone that had been on her kitchen wall my entire lifetime. My kids knew how to use it of course, but (before everyone had a cell phone) they had friends who had no idea how to work it!

Anna Sugden said...

LOL Caren - your post rang true to me! I've taken to turning off the internet and email when I'm writing - amazingly, it helps keep me focused.

To be honest, I spend more time on my computer than anything else - rarely my cell phone and very little TV. So, when I've had information overload, I tend to slouch in front of the TV or watch a DVD.

I also find that gardening or working out helps clear the mind.

I can be disconnected, but not from the hockey scores (stop laughing Donna and Cassondra!), especially over here when I can't go to the games. I can do without email for a few days, but get antsy.

Caren Crane said...

JT, you've become a butt dialer! *g* I've been butt-dialed by one of my friends numerous times. Her phone is usually in her purse when it happens, actually. I'll hear noises and her muffled voice at a distance. I know exactly who it is and what has happened. I usually tease her about it later. Too funny it happened to you and you randomly dialed an insurance company. I'm sure they were devastated you never called them back. *g*

I think you could get through the withdrawal without drugs, Joan. Sing with me: you've done it before, you'll do it again!

Caren Crane said...

Beth, I'm not sure my kids know how to use a rotary phone, so kudos to yours! I think we were somewhere where I had to use one once (maybe in Switzerland at a pay phone?) and the girls were fascinated. And appalled. I'm sure your mom misses hers - I would!

I remember trying to win call-in contests at the radio station using those phones. Talk about frustrating!

Caren Crane said...

Anna S., it's definitely the computer that's my technology of choice. I have an OLD school cell phone that doesn't even take pictures, so it's strictly for calls. I'm a bit scared to get a newer one, because I think it would be a new addiction.

Like you, I'm not one to watch TV (though I try to catch Glee on Tuesdays). We do have a Roku, though, so we can stream Netflix movies on our TV. It's amazingly addictive. Thousands of movies and WHOLE SEASONS of TV shows at my fingertips. Now that can be overdone, for sure!

I have plowed through 30 Rock, Weeds, Party Down, The Office, and most recently Parks and Recreation. The girls have blasted through 5 seasons of Greek and all the Chapters of the original Skins that are available. I am about to get back to The Tudors. ADDICTIVE!

Danielle Gorman said...

I hate to admit it but I am an internet junkie. I hate whenever I lose connection and I can't get on. Whenever I am not able to do my daily things on the computer I feel like I'm spending days trying to catch up. I think the last time I took a "break" was a year ago when I went out of town for a few days. Thankfully now I have a smartphone so I am able to keep up with things.

Caren Crane said...

I want all of you to know that the spring cleaning bug bit me today and I've been cleaning like a crazy woman! I'm tired but the house is much less dusty. Maybe now that it's in the 70s the heat won't run all the time and the dust will abate a bit.

Now I need to get out in the yard...

Caren Crane said...

Danielle, maybe you'll go on vacation - a cruise or something - where your Smartphone has no reception. It could be re-energizing! You know, after the madness passed. *g*

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

How did the cookie sales go, Posh?

And Dianna, I hope you and the BF kept the GR busy. ;-)

Jo-Mama and I made our presentation at our local chapter meeting today and may I just say... we were AWESOME! LOL!

AC

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Caren, great post! I'm wondering what sevice it is that was free and benevicial that they would take exception to?

As for taking an information vacation, I was thinking about getting a new cell phone on my way home this morning. It's definitely time to get a new phone and the phone company is dying to get me to commit to a new 2-year contract, and I love how the iphones or smart phones work, but here's my problem.
Watching my kids and my coworkers constantly texting or playing on theirs drives me just a little nuts. I'm afraid if I get one, I'll spend even more of my precious writing time playing instead of working!

Caren Crane said...

AC, cookie sales wee quite poor. The location was not prime and it was a glorious day. People had better things to do than shop, I'm afraid!

However, the housecleaning was fabulous today. I'm sure the GR was put to great use with Dianne. He is certainly glad he wasn't at MY house, where I would have had him scrubbing floors! *eg*

Caren Crane said...

AC and Jo, I'm sure you were madly brilliant at your workshop today! Anytime I can attend a Bandita workshop, I do. Banditas give great workshop!

Caren Crane said...

Suzanne, this is my issue with getting a new(er) phone, too. Right now, we have ancient phones and NO contract, which is how I like it. If I had a new one that had, you know, apps and things, I would play with it and turn into one of those RUDE people who pay more attention to their phones than the people they're with. I know I would! It's terrible to admit, but I am easily distracted and a lifelong, card-carrying member of the Short Attention Span Theatre!

Laurie Faelan said...

I love my computer time, it destresses me. I'm a lot nicer person when I've had my fix. :) Now taking a break from the rest of life would be nice. I try to break from "noise" (TV, traffic, radio, telephone, talking...) and just read a book or jump on the computer. Too much noise clogs up my head and makes me crazy.

Caren Crane said...

Laurie, I say "down time" is always a good idea! I find myself, during the week, reading WAY too much news online. That in itself is stressful to me, so I try to stay away on weekends. I also stopped listening to news in the car on the way to and from work. I listen to The Classical Station (which I think I mentioned before in a previous post) and it helps me unwind.

My mom told me that classical music helps calm down people with dementia or Alzheimer's when they get agitated. I figure if it works for them, it should work for me! It does, too. Make me much more tolerant of the nut jobs on the highway. *g*

So do what you need to do to unwind, girlfriend! Just beware the need to keep up with everything. That way lies madness!

LilMissMolly said...

We went to Ireland a few years ago and thankfully the electric plugs were not compatible with what we had to recharge our batteries. So within 2 days, everyone's cell phones and ipods were out of juice. It was the best vacation ever because even my two teen daughters had to talk with us.

Louisa Cornell said...

Oooh Aunty! If anyone can whip him into shape you can!

I write on my laptop so I can't disconnect completely. However, before I got my laptop my first desktop crashed and I was without a computer for over a week! EEEEEK! It was VERY sad and I almost went nuts. (Well nuttier than I am normally or abnormally or You know what I mean!)

But I am old enough to remember the days of no internet, no cell phone and when I was in undergrad school the only phone I had access to was a phone booth at the end of the hall in my dorm. I went to an all girls college and that phone was the only phone for all 20 plus girls on our hall. Yes, it got VERY ugly! Especially on Friday and Saturday nights.

But there are times when I take a day off, turn off the cell phone, stay off the internet and computer and pile up in bed with a stack of novels. That is about as disconnected as I get.

Nancy said...

AC, make that bird WORK!

Caren, you have my sympathy. We, too, have been wrestling with CSS and the dreaded FAFSA (both weird acronyms for college financial aid forms, for those of you spared such annoyances).

I can go cold turkey if I'm traveling. I'm spoiled by the cell phone, but I can do without the computer. If one is available, I may or may not check email once a week or so. At home, it's much harder to unplug.

We share your practice of not answering the phone when the number in the caller ID block is unfamiliar or, worse, blocked.

And can I just say the various female avatars who call on behalf of "Card Holder Services" in violation of our FCC Do Not Freaking Call listing are an abomination?

Caren Crane said...

Molly, isn't that just the best? When we were in Switzerland a few years back, we had no functional technology whatsoever. All the teenagers were actually watching a TAPE in a VCR of 'Dirty Dancing' on this tiny TV - like a 13-inch screen. Their desperation for entertainment was amusing.

It was an excellent vacation, though, because we were busy doing outdoor and adventure stuff all day every day. We really didn't miss the TV or computers or phones.

I'm sure you guys had a fabulous trip. Ireland is on my wish list, especially since there will be no technology! *g*

Caren Crane said...

Louisa, it sounds like Heaven! I have to say, I would miss the streaming Netflix if we went cold turkey around here. I've watched several episodes of 'The Tudors' tonight and even got my husband hooked. He's waiting for Cardinal Wolsey to get what's coming to him. *g*

Too funny about the one phone in the dorm hall. I remember those days, too! Even after they allowed phones in rooms, who could afford one?!

Caren Crane said...

Nancy, tomorrow has been declared CSS Profile Day here. We are both dreading it! And what is UP with having to mail stuff to them? All I know is, they had better not mess up our stuff and make us miss the March 1 deadline for UNC-CH. I'll be madder than a wet GR!

I'm with you on hating the avatars calling on behalf of whomever. The ones calling about the new wife of my ex-stepfather (a woman I've never met, only heard tell of) are the worst, though. There is no person on the phone, no one to complain to and NO WAY TO MAKE THEM STOP! I may have to contact the AG's office. Seriously.

catslady said...

We just got our first caller id because of a certain person that was driving us crazy. I love it!! I never could ignore a phone ringing so it was endless annoying calls (although the do not call list helped dome). Now if I don't know the person I don't answer (or they just hang up). And I figure if it really is important they would have my cell phone or leave a message. Sometimes technology is fantastic lol. Once I am away from everything I always wonder why I get so hooked to emails etc.

Business-Industry said...

Now you have a ratio of girls to boys I'm a regular basis. Sounds like you need to have some fun dorm bedding .