The other day I got yet third email reminder for an appointment with a dermatologist. And it wasn’t the day before. I also had received two text messages already, demanding that I text back to “confirm” – even though I had made the appointment, in writing, via email, per my request.
This is the second healthcare provider who thinks it’s okay to do this (our dentist is another), and refuses to stop these communications no matter how many times we ask. Neither of us mind the reminder voicemail the day before an appointment, that’s expected, but the barrage of emails and texts starting three weeks before the appointment – one being on the day I made the appointment…last month! Ironically, while they stalk you with technology this way, they still don’t have their technical shit together enough to let you make an appointment online.
Why am I bringing this up? Well, sometimes enough is enough, and I was sick and tired of being overloaded with unnecessary messaging. And the most annoying part of it all are the receptionists who we request over and over to stop it with the barrage of emails, with a zero-accountability, robot response of:
“We can’t do anything about it. It’s the computer system.”
Y’all, we are not quite living in the movie where the robots have gone wild and are trying to eat our brains. There are few things more fucking stupid than these assholes in doctors’ offices saying that nothing can be done because the software they paid for is set up to stalk you and they are poor, poor powerless victims of it all just like the patients they are supposed to be serving. Basically, these little fuckwits are saying, “I don’t care about respecting your wishes, and I certainly am not going to take ownership for something our software is doing, even though I could get off my lazy ass and call them to try to get this customized.” Because here’s the thing – if a customer tells you to stop contacting them, you have to stop. You don’t get to keep harassing them via technology. And when I get 6 emails and 4 text messages before ONE appointment after telling them to stop multiple times, you bet your ass I consider it harassment…especially after they admitted during this conversation that they were required to call, email OR text – yet refused to stop the emails/texts and simply do the one phone call the day before.
(What did I do about this doctor by the way? I told them that we will be finding a new dermatologist since they refused to stop the multiple reminders. Lots of people I’m sure will say “why are you making such a big deal out of this, just mark these as spam and forget about it” but it’s become a matter of principle. It’s invasive and disrespectful and this world is getting to be way way too tolerant of technology invasions, big and small. Hell, millions of people still use Facebook despite the fact that they as a company have done nothing to stop harassment against women. People still use Twitter even though Twitter allows the dickhead in the White House to use it to spread lies, make racist and sexist statements, not to mention Twitter does nothing to protect women against threats of rape and murder. It’s time to take a fucking stand against bad behavior and call it out – big and small. It’s time for us all to look at ourselves and audit whether we are walking the talk. Are you supporting companies, big or small, who disrespect their users/customers? Are you genuinely benefiting from this technology, or using it because you don’t want to make the effort to connect with people one-on-one? I can tell you, there’s nothing better than getting off of social media to find out who your real friends are. You know the people who don’t need billionaire Mark Zuckerberg to stay in touch…who by the way, is a massive hypocrite and real SOB – check out what he’s done in Hawaii this year, or how he’s trying to avoid paying Facebook’s fair share of taxes…). The older I get, the less I’m willing to compromise when it comes to this kind of thing.
Back to the constant electronic reminders…
Ironically, “alert/alarm fatigue” is something that there are many articles on in the medical industry, because of so many beep boop beep sounds in hospitals that they all meld into one. ERs are constantly whirring with the sounds of technology…and if you think about it, so are many of our own environments. You just stop reading stuff when you get a deluge in your inbox, you just stop paying attention.
And that’s why I’m writing about this, not just to vent but because we all have a lot of technical shit being blown our way by so many folks, from personal emails to bill paying to online newsletters to work email account(s). AS for me, I currently have 5 active email accounts for myself, my business, and my active clients, so my level of organization and tolerance for spam and unnecessary information is very, very low. And the one thing I’ve learned is that if I don’t like something, passive-aggressive bitching is not going to do it – asking for change is the only way to potentially improve things, and letting those companies know that you are not going to tolerate bad behavior, showing them in that they will no longer profit from you directly or indirectly (remember, you might just be sharing pictures on your Facebook, but you are giving them – for free – personal information on yourself and your activities, and by your membership supporting the same company that profited off of Russian trollers in the 2016 election, among many other icky things? Remember, they’re a marketing company – they are NOT whatsoever about connecting people. Not even close.).
Here’s the thing – life is an adventure enough as it is without allowing technology to constantly interrupt us on their schedules (not ours). And when companies, big or small, profit off you through unscrupulous practices? It’s time to think long and hard about how we connect, our indifference to privacy,
“The problem lies not with our desire to connect, but with our form of connection. Our technology gives us a form of connection with the whole world, but at the same time it can limit the depth of our connection to the world around us, to those closest to us, and to ourselves. Technology has been very good at giving us what we want, but less good as giving us what we need.” – Arianna Huffington
(PS – for those curious about my own social media use, my husband and I had Facebook in the old days, closing our accounts 5 years ago. Our last adoption agency said the only way we’d get updates is if we were on their FB page and upon looking at it, it was just a bunch of jesus freaks yammering on about how god gave them these children and “sent them” to go rescue them, totally ignoring the fact that a large number of these children do have biological parents and there was a ton of scandal going on. Anyhow, in 2011 my employer required I get Twitter as part of my recruiting work, and not long after leaving that company to start my business, I was off of it after the massive lack of accountability in Twitter to protect women along with the disgusting and hateful behavior of users towards me and others I knew. I tried Instagram for about 5 minutes before realizing a) they’re owned by Facebook, and b) it’s kind of ridiculous if you already have a blog and more about getting attention from folks you don’t know. I’ve never used Vine or Snapchat or any other video apps, I don’t see the reason. As a longtime recruiter, LinkedIn is a requirement for the work I do so that’s not possible to avoid. So I’d say the only active social media I have is Pinterest, where it’s pretty much just a different form of search engine/bookmarking tool since I only follow a few people and use it primarily for organizing thoughts around our future homestead, gardening ideas and such 🙂