Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Non Human Response Computer Program

We all know the frustration of dealing with a computerized response to a customer service question when the telephone program won’t allow you to speak to a real live person and the canned response doesn’t answer your question or solve your problem by referring you to option 1 or 2 or 4, but now we have to deal with the vileness of virtual email responses.

That’s right folks, some computer programming genius convinced that he has all the answers is now responding to our plaintive pleas for help via email with a programmed response. Don’t think I am telling you the truth – try asking for a manager in an email reply when your question isn’t answered or your problem solved.

These geniuses are convinced they can give us canned answers that are no responsive to our questions and that we will have no choice, but to accept them.


If I can be of assistance to you in the future, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

But they didn’t answer my question or solve my problem. I will spare you the details. All they did was give me excuses as to why they couldn’t help me and then end by offering to help me in the future. I will not be pacified by such nonsense. I want real answers from a real person; someone who can think on his feet without referring to a data bank for the wrong answer once he thinks he has profiled me. We can’t be stereotyped so easily, can we?

What does some computer program really know about me, or you for that matter: our passions, our wants, our desire to overcome the obstacles that constrain us.

I ended my reply email by asking to speak to a manager before I print this article. If you are reading this now I have not spoken to or heard from a manager by email or any other means of communication known to man such as by mail or telephone, but then what would some virtually vile software program know about a response from me that they could not possibly have anticipated or stored in their knowledge bank.

They don’t have human managers, only programs.

My question to you my friends is are we going to sacrifice out individuality to the machinations of some computer program designed to save the institution money and drive us crazy in frustration, and if not what are we going to do about it?

Would only real people please respond to my question?

Hi, this is Arthur Levine asking that if you share my frustration with programmed responses that you answer my question at the comment section of:

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanksgiving Without All The Fancy Trimmings

This is shaping up as the Thanksgiving when people return to old fashion values and go sparingly on all the exotic side dishes that have come to signify the opulence of the Holiday and our own sense of excess.

In a lot of respects this Thanksgiving promises to be something special – something we can really be thankful for. In spite of a recession families will once more gather to rejoice in their freedom and the bounty of their table, but this time most if not all of the trimmings will be homemade and not store bought. Is that so terrible? I rather like it, and the smells coming from the kitchen make my mouth water in anticipation.

You do remember the aroma of a home made apple pie wafting from the oven through the kitchen and out into the living room of a home you can afford to live in where a happy group of family and friends are gathered before a roaring wood burning fire, don’t you? Life can be good.

Is eggnog any better when laced with twenty-five-year-old brandy than with cheap dark rum? Does a Ford compact car get you where you want to go as well as a Mercedes Limousine?

What store bought barbequed bird can compete with a twenty-pound turkey basting in its own juices as its skin crisps and the smell of sausage and cornbread stuffing sends the dog whining in anticipation and dancing in circles?

Do the children playing games in the hallway know the difference between Oysters Rockefeller and chestnuts wrapped in bacon?

Is pumpkin and squash soup any less delectable and tasty then lobster bisque from the gourmet store? Are eating fish egg caviar what the pilgrims had in mind for their day of Thanksgiving?

If we are not alone, if we can share the holiday together, what difference does it make if we can’t spend a lot of money on some fancy trimmings? We have more than most people can hope for. We have a bounteous table of our own making, and the family and friends to share it with. We have a lot to be thankful for. We are together. We are free.

Too much emphasis on having all the exotic trimmings we can conger up may be why we got into this recession to begin with. Thank God the American public has enough sense to know when to stop spending on fancy luxuries they can do without, and start saving for their own and their children’s future.

When we all remember the lessons of the past that our parents and grandparents tried to teach us, we will truly have something to be thankful for. Then this recession will be gone, and the real trimmings of a wonderful life will come racing back to us with our heartfelt thanks. They will always be ours to cherish and remember.

May the trimmings of your heart and mind make your cup full of love to the brim and your sense of joy running over.

Have a Happy, Healthy Thanksgiving.

Hi this is Arthur Levine and Johnny Oops the principal character in my new novel wishing you and yours a very happy Thanksgiving. To read about Johnny’s escapades please join us at