Open Thread Update: Unpaid Second Jobs

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Looking at my inbox or my smartphone, one would think I am:

-a data entry clerk

-an appointment secretary

-an answering service

I do not want any of those jobs, but I have been drafted for all of them!

Data entry hell

One of the things that made going to the doctors tolerable was the quiet ten or fifteen minutes spent in their offices filling out their forms. The receptionists were all nice, sometimes there was coffee, and I had the chance to collect myself before seeing the doctor.

Nope. Now it’s two or three emails inviting me to open an account and enter all my info for them once I make up a user name and figure out a unique password with more than 8 letters or numbers, one symbol and one uppercase letter.

Then I must negotiate my way around the online appointment calendar.

Thing is, I’ve done all that and I have never seen the doctor any sooner, – and last time I counted I had 62 passwords.

Call me old school. I say bring back receptionists.

And that’s just the medical ones, Don’t get me started about the financial ones, the membership ones, the insurance ones, the shopping ones, or the corporate ones where you have to go through a phone tree for fifteen minutes before you can talk to a human.

To add insult to injury, none of these entities pass along any of the savings to the customer even though I am an unofficial employee.

I swear I’m working harder and at more jobs than I did when I was working full time….and there’s no vacation time from any of these!

Call me old school. I say bring back receptionists.

And in person customer service without fifteen “press 1, 2 or 3” options.

And answering services that actually answer instead of requiring me to speak into the void with some quite personal information. Sometimes the callback number is unidentified and I miss it because I think it’s the thousandth person telling me my auto warranty expired when I don’t have a car.


I could go on and on, but that’s me. How about you? What old school human contact do you miss the most that’s been replaced by an automated/online service….and you? Let us know in the comments!

Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send  Open Thread suggestions to

Photo; (middle): Museums Victoria on Unsplash

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