over 10 years on 2008-06-01


yesterday evening i did two things.  first, i celebrated the resilience of the american people and an opening for a resurgence of the nation.  second, i had my only experience ever with a 'collection agency'... to explain:

i got a call out of the blue from a collection agency stating that i owed att money and that i had 'better pay'.  i explained to them that i have two att wireless lines active and set up on auto-bill pay, and that there must be some sort of mistake.  i then called att.  it turned out that when i set up my iphone there was some confusion and they had set up another line in my name that i was completely unaware of and had never used.  after 45 minutes of wasted life, the rep was able to fix it. 

why did i find this interesting?  i got to wondering whether in a digital age the 'collection' business is going to get harder and harder (or, to pull it up a bit - forcing communication down to people who don't want to receive it)...  25 years ago with a physical address and a land line without caller id it was probably relatively easy to force your message into someones thought stream.  people had to pick up the phone, and you knew you could reach them via the post... 

now?  well, i don't read physical mail, my cell has caller id so i don't generally answer if i don't know who is calling, i never listen to voicemail.  i do read email, but i use filters like crazy -- so receiving tons of spam/unwanted newsletters/etc. has no negative impact on my life.  the only choke hold anyone really has left to get me a message i don't want is sms, and perhaps facebook (until their filtering gets more sophisticated).

on the inverse - when i needed to reach att i had to wait until they were good and ready to speak with me.  i don't need to speak with them often enough to care, but the one time that their systems decide to rake my credit score over the coals all i can do is patiently wait in line.  i have no other solution, and they can under-staff their customer service department all they want.  there isn't any local office to storm.  there is no executive to write (because his filters are just as good as mine).  maybe getsatisfaction plays a role in the future here, but maybe not.

i think that it is fascinating that in physical space, louder directional speakers, bigger digital billboards, screens, etc continually infringe more on my private cognitive space -- but the direct pipes/lines to my personal space are shutting down.

original swl blogposts and letters 2007-2010