Case in point. For work, I have to go to a website to complete a ridiculously long and tedious survey for the Medicare Coordination of benefits, which apparently has something to do with the federal government and Medicare, and our employees who are eligible for Medicare, I dunno, some nonsense. I’d already been frustrated with the whole thing, because a couple weeks ago when I first tried to go to the website, (naturally it’s a really long web address with lots of forward slashes and dots) I couldn’t navigate to it. It kept telling me “website not found.”
First, I realized I had been forgetting to type “https” and had been typing “http”. Grumbling to myself, I typed in the web address, using the requisite “s” meaning secure. Still, no go. I couldn’t get there six ways from Sunday. I had a colleague try to type it in from her computer at her work, and she typed it in and was able to get to it no problem. I contacted our IT department to see if perhaps our server was blocking access to it for some reason known only to the IT gurus, and no, that wasn’t the case. Finally, in frustration, I called the 800 number for help, and found out that I wasn’t typing the “slash” at the end of the string. Arrrghhh. Who knew that slash was so important?? I never type in that ending slash and it’s never been a problem before. Ok so it was a PICNIC – Problem In Chair, Not In Computer. I sighed and typed in the correct address, and registered our EIN and PIN and choose a user name and password.
Naturally, when you are considering a password, it has so many rules it took me forever to finally choose a password that worked. It has to have a capital letter, at least one number, at least one special character, has to be eight characters long… seriously?? Thank you, hackers, for making our online lives a living hell and turning something that is supposed to be fun and beneficial into something that is more difficult to access than Ft. Knox.
So I logged in and began working on the survey, getting interrupted numerous times and finally I got timed out. That was last week. I wasn’t able to get back to work on the survey until today. So, I went to the website to continue working on filling out this really boring thing (type the “s”, don’t forget the forward slash at the end). Then, try to log in. I couldn’t log into the website (okay, I tried to use the wrong password three times and it locked me out), so I called the 800-number to get myself unlocked.
Press zero. The woman comes on the line and I explain my predicament.
She said, “Okay, I will transfer you to the EDI department, but first I have to make sure you are on the correct website.”
“I am at the login page right now,” says I. “No need.”
“No, she said, doggedly. “Before I can transfer you, I have to do this.”
“But, I’m at the log in screen right now.” I insist.
She doesn’t listen, because she is beginning a painstaking delivery of the web address. “type in ‘https colon two forward slashes, then www dot c as in Charlie, o as in Oscar, b as in bravo….” etc. etc. This web address is 42 characters long, which she then proceeds to spell out in agonizing detail. I pull the phone away from my ear and look at it with disbelief, as if that is going to help but it makes me feel better. I put the phone to my ear she is droning on “…dot g as in golf, o as in Oscar, v as in victor forward slash . . . “ I pull the phone away from my ear and stomp my feet in frustration. I put the phone back to my ear and hear her finishing up: “a as in alpha, t as in tango, c as in Charlie, h as in hotel, forward slash. Now, do you see the consent page?”
“Yes,” I say through gritted teeth. “I told you five minutes ago I was at the login screen already. I didn’t have trouble navigating to the website; I simply used the wrong login too many times and it locked me out!” I am white knuckled on the receiver.
“Okay,” she says brightly. “Let me get you to the EDI department.”
I bite back the response that would have gotten me arrested, and said, “Thank you” as politely and unsarcastically as possible. (I wasn’t very successful, but oh well).
Listening to her hesitate, punching some buttons, talking to herself as she follows the steps to transfer me, it is all I can do not to bang the receiver against my desk in frustration.
Finally, I get the EDI department. A very nice woman takes all my information (our EIN, our PIN, my name, my title, business name, business address, phone number…. wha??? Do these people not talk to each other??) and then says she is going to have to reset my password.
“Seriously??” I said, frustrated beyond belief at this point. “I already reset my password once because I couldn’t remember it, then I locked myself out because I kept mistyping it. Now I have to come up with ANOTHER fu….ummmm freakin’ password??”
“Yes, I’m afraid so,” she said apologetically. “And you can’t use any of your past six passwords.”
“Oh wait,” she said. “When did you lock yourself out?”
“About 45 frustrating minutes ago,” I tell her, with clenched teeth.
“Oh,” she says. “I can’t reset you until an hour has gone by.”
Once again I pulled the receiver away from my ear and look at it in disbelief. I honestly can’t wait until they get picture phones so she can see the
middle finger look on my face.
I sigh deeply. “Is there a number that I can call you directly, so I don’t have to go through the 800-number and talk to the woman who has to first spell out your entire website address, even though I was sitting at the login page at the time??”
She laughed and gave me the direct line to the EDI. Wish me luck people. I have to navigate the gates of hell (otherwise known as the government phone tree) in just a few minutes.
God help us. If this is how the government handles a mandatory survey that I have to complete upon penalty of fines if I don’t do it within a prescribed amount of time, how in the holy hell are they running the government with this kind of red tape?? Are you fu….freakin’ kidding me???
I need a drink. Instead, I am off to dial the number once again. I hope you hear from me again and I’m not writing you from prison for verbally abusing a federal employee!!
Ta ta for now!