Sunday, February 21, 2010
People are often critical of government. Compare two recent activities: trying to get seats on a plane and filing for social security.
After Internet attempts and telephone calls aplenty, I still have no seats on an upcoming plane trip. This has happened repeatedly over the last few years. You hit a snag and there is no real person to discuss it with. The airlines are insistent that you figuring it out yourself. I've had similar problems with Comcast, Amazon, etc. I finally just gave up on the money Amazon owed me for returned goods. If my time has any value at all, I had to or go nuts.
Two weeks ago, I filed a short form online to begin receiving Social Security benefits. It took me ten minutes. Yesterday I got a call from a very polite woman, checking to see if there was an error in my having reported no income in 1997 (I didn't work that year). She asked me if I was sure I want to start collecting early. I said yes. She said she was processing my request and the first check would come within a few weeks.
The government was able to take care of a complex procedure in a total of 15 minutes. They were polite and thanked me for my time. I didn't speak with someone in India. I didn't have to follow a million prompts. No one insinuated I was dumb.
Government can work well. I don't want to debate that this may not always be the case. But sometimes it is. And I wanted to say it. Thanks, USA.