A Cowboy’s Faith: Complications of modern communications

A Cowboy's Faith: Click to read more from Frank J. Buchman.“Where’ve you been? I’ve tried to call six times, and the phone just keeps ringing.”

That aggravated customer Thursday afternoon wanted to get a Saturday night dance advertised on the radio.

It was an offensive setback, as anxious to assist anybody wanting to spread good news and increase patronage. Most humbly apologized for the inconvenience making sure it wasn’t a direct line call, because they’re always answered efficiently.

No, the main number had been dialed, and it’s been going through transitions. Relieved, explanation cleared the air, so direct contact will be made in the future.

Modern technology to increase efficiency seems more time consuming than old ways. When wanting to talk to somebody at a business with many employees, it’s a major rigmarole.

After excessive rings, typically, a machine answers. Mechanism is usually apparent, yet sometimes it sounds like a real person, and conversation begins. There are situations when a verbal response is requested, and occasionally even correctly acted upon.

More common, the contraption first explains that everything will be recorded, so “please don’t be vulgar.” Then, “punch in the extension of the person wanted.”

Generally, there’s no clue what that number is. Others must be naïve too, as the next step is “say the first three letters of the first, (or last) name.” Another problem, “how’s Cathy spell it, C or K?”

Even when correct extension is known, automation doesn’t heed the ranch phone dial. These phones are only 46 years old and work fine. They shouldn’t be replaced with push buttons to call somebody.

Can’t help but remember two longs and a short worked well on Aunt Marie’s crank phone. Didn’t need to spread any community gossip in those days either as the neighbors listened in.

Then, of course, there never was any problem either when the operator requested: “Number please?”

“Sarah, please get Maxine at the café.” She answered in one ring.

Those were the good ole days.

Nowadays, if and when fortunate enough to get voice of the one desired on the other end, too often, it’s another recording. “Leave a message, and call will be returned.” For a salesman, there’s no guarantee of that.

Reminded of Luke 24:17: “What type of communications are these that you have?” Then, Job 32:17: “I will give my answers, express my opinion and share knowledge.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.

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