April 12, 2024
These chirpy "customer service" interactions make me want to scream.

DEAR ABBY: Can people in this society please stop assuming that everyone has a smartphone?

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Not everyone is willing — or able — to spend $1,000-plus for one. Some of us carry older, less expensive phones that receive calls and text messages and that’s it.

I just got off a really annoying phone call with the secretary at my elderly mother’s doctor’s office, who said she was “sending a link” for a video conference on her phone. I nearly choked. I said, “Stop, OK? Look, not everyone has an expensive phone!” So then she chirps, “OK, I’ll send the link to your phone, and she can use yours!” I then had to explain that I don’t have an expensive phone either.

Our society forces people to spend big bucks on these toys. You go to a bank and ask a customer service representative for assistance, “Oh, it’s easy. You can set it up yourself with your phone!” You call a business for an update on an order and, three hours later, when a live person finally picks up, you are told, “You can just track your order with your phone!”

It makes me want to scream into my $30 flip phone.

— LOVE MY CHEAP PHONE

DEAR LOVE: Thank you for letting me help you to vent. I understand your frustration because your problem is one I have heard about from other seniors, too. Although technology moves quickly, not everyone is on the cutting edge.

Because this is going to happen more and more frequently, for your own sake as well as your mother’s, it’s time you start seriously considering upgrading one or more of your devices.

DEAR ABBY: We lost my mom a couple of years ago. This year, Dad started dating, got engaged and married — all in a span of two weeks.

This is a woman he knew through missionary work. Side note: Mom had wondered for a while if he wasn’t having an emotional affair with her because every time she called, he would go somewhere so she couldn’t hear him.

They are now cleaning out the house and essentially getting rid of every sign of Mom! My sister told him she feels like her childhood home is gone. The other sister asked (hypothetically) if they are getting ready to sell the house.

Apparently, the gal he married told him she expects to be his “little girl.” Gag.

Dad is no longer responding to any of my text messages. I believe his new wife is running the show.

What should we three do? Must we resign ourselves to the fact that we may have just lost our father as well?

— SIDELINED SISTER IN NEBRASKA

DEAR SISTER: If at all possible, the three of you should try to maintain a cordial relationship with your father’s new wife. If you do otherwise, you will only drive them further away.

You stated that your mother suspected your dad of having an emotional affair with this woman. If that was true, he waited quite a long time to pursue it.

What’s happening with the house is not unusual. Your dad and his “little girl” (gag) have a right to a home of their own. If you want any of the items that are being discarded, speak up now.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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