Pinch of Faith: Every day brings new reminders that if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it

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Even on trips to the grocery store, it seems like things we could take for granted are not longer what they used to be. Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

It seems to me that things that we always took for granted in our everyday life are no longer what they once used to be, and I find more validity in this fact every day. 

We found some frozen fruit bars at the grocery store that became an everyday treat on summer afternoons when we would literally chill out on our patio. They were filled with chunks of strawberries or pineapple and seemed to be just the right size to cool our bodies down a bit without adding too many calories. 

Two weeks ago, however, when I retrieved the latest purchases from the freezer, we were dismayed to see smaller bars packaged in the same box as before. Not a single morsel of frozen fruit was anywhere to be found and the texture was different also with more water content. 

I checked my register receipt and learned that the price had also changed and the increase of 30 cents, while no great hardship, confirmed that we were paying more for less product. 

After my husband retired several years ago and I was still working, he took over as house husband, doing the grocery shopping, keeping the house tidy, doing laundry, and paying all the bills. He did such an excellent job that I considered working forever.  One innovation he made was to set up all our monthly bills to be paid via our computer to our banking online.  It was so successful that we have continued to utilize this time and postage saving practice.  

Everything was running smoothly until last week when the bank initiated an “improved” version of the system. He got locked out of it after three unsuccessful attempts to log on, and we got a message to contact the bank. Easier said than done, as many of you know.  

Calling any institution or service provider now requires infinite patience and nerves of steel. Not only does the local branch send their incoming calls to a central call center, but it is impossible to speak to a live person. The automated system kicks in and for some unknown reason is unable to understand why the customer is calling.  

With a variety of menu options that do not seem to fit the caller’s needs, we shout “representative” to the inanimate machine. It appears to be hard of hearing, so we try punching buttons on our phone. 

Learning that “due to high volume of calls, your approximate wait time is two hours and 37 minutes,” we opt to “receive a call back and not lose our place in the queue.” Those promised calls never seem to materialize, and we wait like a jilted date by the phone for hours, afraid to leave it lest we miss the anticipated call and have to initiate the entire process all over again.

After some investigation, I discovered that we could request an appointment at the local bank branch with a live person, so I hastily completed all the necessary forms and received confirmation for an appointment on the following day. 

Gathering all our information together, we showed up at the specified date and time, eager to resolve our issues. We were asked if someone could assist us, and we advised the person that we had an appointment. Since we were two of only three customers in the lobby at the time, it seemed there would be no problem.

“And whom are you seeing today?”

“I have no clue ma’m. I just made the appointment online and got a confirmation.” I scrolled through my texts and showed her the written confirmation.

“It appears that it did not get entered in our system, but I’ll see if someone can assist you.”

Clenching my teeth and steeling myself for what might come next, we were relieved to be escorted into a cubicle and seated across the desk from an incredibly young man who appeared to be the age of our grandsons. My husband explained the problems he experienced as the representative politely listened.

“I think the problem might be that your IOS is not large enough to download the new version of the online program, sir.”

Because neither of us spoke computer language, we accepted his explanation and asked him to just revert back to the original program that had worked just fine until yesterday. It took him about five minutes and a few clicks of the keyboard, and we were back in business.

We proceed with caution now towards anything “new,” “updated,” or “improved.” The old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” seems to be the best idea for survival mode. 

Copyright ©2023 Mary Margaret Lambert

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