The Tyranny Of Idiocy

I kept receiving SMS texts reminding me to renew our claim for Working Tax Credit and so I did, online, well before the deadline. I received another text confirming I’d done it…followed by days of increasingly alarming texts warning me of the consquences if I didn’t renew it as a matter of urgency. So I decided to phone HMRC. First though, I had to get past a robot which needed to know the nature of my call. It didn’t understand and instead offered me a range of suggestions none of which applied. I tried several variations several times in ultra-clear-speak all to no avail. The magic phrase turned out to be “Fuck off you stupid fucking robot”…which put me on hold for “an adviser”…not the right one but an adviser nonetheless, who almost immediately diverted me to hold for the right adviser who never answered. I rang off, still unsure whether our payments were about to cease, accompanied by demands to pay back all of the current year’s credits.

How much simpler it was when you could make an appointment by phone with a real(ish) adviser and sort it all out at your local tax office. Now they’re all redundant and the offices have been sold — because we can do it all online now.

Just one of several personal examples involving bureaucrats and corporations (Ebay, PayPal, water company, &c) where the best advice — frequently confirmed by their own human staff — is to ignore what their robots say and do.