Anonymous: This Call May Be Monitored (Popula)
How did a person grow up in a society governed by financial institutions and never get taught how they work?
Navigating life in this century revolves around our ability to interact with an interlocking series of bureaucracies run according to their own precise rules and delicate timescales. No matter how consumer-focussed these institutions are or deem themselves to be, you will, in the end, have to follow their procedures in order to perform tasks that are essential, unavoidable, or necessary stops in the pursuit of your own happiness. We all know that we often need to look out for our elderly friends, neighbours, and relatives, who learned to navigate a very different maze, and sometimes struggle to keep up with the rules of this one. That’s because it’s hard. It’s a complicated business. And we all know how rubbish a bad interaction with a corporation makes us feel. The recurring term, chosen spontaneously by thousands of callers, is nightmare.
This inner machinery reveals the billions of ordinary “consumers” who use Facebook to be Romans in their baths: enjoying the futuristic technology of adjustable plumbing and heating, blissfully unaware of the Thracian slave shovelling coal into a boiler just a few feet below. Except, in this case, the facility we are all using and responsible for keeping alive influences elections, convinces people to join the far right, pushes Britain to leave the European Union.
As stable work has started to disappear, call centre work and other customer service has remained one of the best options for entry-level work. Nearly everyone in my office works there because they needed stable hours and a guaranteed income, and nothing else available to us offered those things. Nearly everyone is under 30. And as impenetrably designed digital services take the place of more and more straightforward face-to-face interactions, more and more things will be contested, and thus explained, assessed, queried, and escalated to a payment expert.
Maybe you’re cool with that. Personally, it sounds pretty dystopian to me, considering that those interactions are nearly all immiserating.
If you must contact a bank or an insurer, do so knowing that it has been made impossible by design for you to talk to anyone with real authority. When you scream down the phone you’ve ruined my life, your system error means I can’t get a mortgage, you will rarely if ever be screaming at anyone who could help you.
This design places those with power and responsibility safely away from the impact of their actions, and pits two enormous groups of stressed-out working people against each other. Rather than resolve conflicts in a constructive or efficient way, we are forced to abuse and hate each other as proxies.
If somebody has to be traumatized in order for Facebook to function as a business, then Facebook doesn’t function as a business. If somebody has to be mistreated and dehumanized for a business to function, then it doesn’t.
I’m not sure if many know this, but a great many people every day, in this society we live in, destroy their finances on Amazon or ASOS, buying four pairs of $200 trainers on credit when they live on minimum wage and support a family. I can’t say how many, all I can say is that I speak to around five of them a day. Who failed them? How did a person grow up in a society governed by financial institutions and never get taught how they work?