Tuesday, January 01, 2008

How do you spell that?

Last evening, as I sat down to work on our "moving to-do" list, or shall I say project plan which is more aptly the case, my task for the evening was the change of addresses. The change of addresses to friends and family are in progress, as that is the easy part. This activity pertained to the notification to clubs, charitable organizations, magazines, newspapers, etc. so that future correspondence can be maintained. Really, this should be so easy. I mean, people move all the time so this should be down to a science, right?

Well, interesting note that most US magazines do not allow changes of addresses for international destinations online as their systems are not set up for international addresses. By that I mean, one HAS to enter a state. What is one to do when one has no state to enter? Well, the fall-back position is to pick up the phone and call the magazine subscription helpdesk. Which I did a painstaking 6 times.

OK, so as I sat on hold "waiting for the next available customer service agent", I pondered the question, "I thought we lived in a global society". Well, apparently not all the time.

Once I finally got a "live one" on the phone, I was usually told that my postal code was not a US code, this being after I prefaced my call initially by saying I needed to provide a change of address for an international subscription. After a few false starts, my name and address were usually located, but it sometimes took a couple of agents to locate my data.

Now, the change of address should be simple. I mean, this is the 5th country I have lived in, and a UK address must be easier to understand and spell than a Korean, Taiwanese, or even German address. I can forgive the agents' questions for these countries when they would ask, "Can you spell that, please?

In this case I was dumbfounded when I was asked for the name of the city I was moving to, and after replying, "London", I was asked by the agent, "Can you spell that?". My first thought (but I kept it to myself) "Do I really need to spell this city?" Egads!

To make matters worse, I was asked what country was the city of London in? I thought for a moment, "This is a scene from Jaywalking with Jay Leno", but I politely replied, "United Kingdom", as after all, I do want to receive my magazines.

Clearly, a little stronger geography course is needed in US schools.

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