I’m in my car. I’m in transit. I need an address. I need it now. Been there? Yeah, me too. So, I activate Bluetooth in the VW — I’m a proud hands-free driver — and dial 411. I go through the “city and state” preamble and finally connect with an Operator? Information Technician? AT&T Associate? I have no idea what the actual job title might be, but I do know what the job description is: information giver. Or so I thought. Hourly employee with an attitude might be a better descriptive nowadays — or at least in my personal experience. I’m on the phone in the car asking this woman to try every county, city and suburb to find the phone number of the, yes, you guessed it, VOLKSWAGEN DEALERSHIP I’m heading to.
“I’m sorry, there is no listing for Luther Westside Volkswagen.”
“Yes, there is. You just aren’t finding it.”
“I’m sorry sir, I do not have any listing for a Luther Westside Volkswagen.”
“But you have to, it’s a major business. It’s a car dealership. It’s not like it’s a vintage clothing store.”
“I’m sorry, sir, I’m not finding any listing under that name. Perhaps you aren’t spelling it correctly?”
Did she just ask me if I was mis-spelling the name Luther? Seriously? CLICK. After disconnecting, I swear off my 100% hands-free driving record and Google “Luther Westside Volkswagen” while changing lanes. (And with that sentence, I’ve just ensured a “not on my watch” lecture from Chris…) Bingo. Score. The number is right there on my iPhone. I simply touch the number on my screen and it connects me — hands-free, of course.
“Hello. Luther Westside Volkswagen. Press 1 for sales. 2 for service…”
Okay, so it was a pre-recorded menu. But I got the number and got through to a human. I’m already further ahead than my last number/human experience, right? So… The big question here… Have any of these communications companies considered using the Internet to source information? And if not, why not? I mean, seriously. If I can physically find a number faster than a paid “Information Technician” — while driving — then what’s the point in calling 411? I’m assuming they are sitting in a cubicle somewhere with access to a computerized database, so why not simply access Google, Bing, Ask Jeeves, Yahoo!, or any other search engine and FIND THE NUMBER I NEED when their own sources cop out? Crazy talk? Or sane language? I’m thinking the latter. You?