Two incidents happened to me this week that caused a near meltdown. Has this happened to you or am I merely becoming a grumpy old person?
The first incident involved paying a bill. Who would have thought that actually handing money over to a company would be so anger-inducing?
I opened my laptop and went to the site of my water company, armed with my credit card as per usual. Just as I was to hit the credit card button, up popped a sign. “Welcome to blah blah- you now need to register details of yourself as a customer.” Wait a minute, I already am a customer and I have a special number on the top right-hand side of my bill. Had the same number for 10 years in fact and the company had never had any difficulty in taking my money.
The pop-up sign wanted me to fill in some personal details – my date of birth, my driver’s licence, etc, and that is when I saw red. Why on earth would I need to provide these details just to pay for the water I have used?
My anger and annoyance and grumpiness escalated as I recalled the data breach I had been caught up in months earlier. Yes, I had been a victim of the Optus hacking and my details had been scattered across whatever version of the dark web is out there.
I have no intention of needlessly giving away any more of my personal information to an arbitrary private water company that probably cannot ensure its safety. I closed the browser and paid the bill via BPAY.
The next incident involved buying a gift. I headed to an exclusive bike store. You know the sort. Very trendy, only a few items hanging on racks, very expensive, minimalist concrete décor, edgy part of town, aimed at bike riders who needed to flash their clothes and their wallet.
After parking hassles, I lurched into the store and asked to buy a gift voucher. “Oh, we don’t sell vouchers here, you have to purchase them online,” came the reply. I was dumbfounded and annoyed in equal parts. Something in me snapped and I replied: “So, I have come all this way and you won’t sell me a voucher? You are suggesting that I have to go all the way back home empty-handed and battle with your website to spend my money in your store?” The sarcasm was obvious in my voice.
“Perhaps with that computer in front of you, you can log on for me and I can give you my details and then I can purchase the voucher?” This time my voice had a slightly assertive tone, raised an octave.
The young shop assistant looked askance and quickly handballed me to an older man. The situation was explained again and I even suggested that the kind store could use their printer to print off said voucher. The older sales assistant met my eye and realised the futility of arguing with the grumpy customer. Visa details were exchanged, the purchase was sanctified by the banking system and my voucher was duly printed out. Thank you I murmured, finally a happy customer.
But the clincher came when as I was about to depart. I was told that the voucher could only be used to purchase products online! Oh dear, I shook my head in disbelief and headed home, feeling not just grumpy but completely out of touch with the modern world of online consumerism gone mad.
Have you become reticent about giving out your personal details? What makes you grumpy? Share your views in the comments section below.
Also read: What humans can do to other humans