If You See Something, Say Something

This morning I logged in to my online banking to verify that my mortgage payment had been applied properly and as per my routine I wanted to print and save a copy of the monthly statement. Unfortunately, today I was getting a corrupt file. I tried clearing my browser cache, using a different computer, with a different operating system, using a different browser on the other computer and sure enough, I was still getting a corrupt file.

I could have gone to Twitter and said “ZOMG my bank is a bunch of stupid poop faces, their website is broken,” but I didn’t. Primarily because I don’t want to broadcast where I bank because that’s just asking for identity theft, and two, it’s not going to fix anything. Instead I called customer service to let them know about the issue.

After selecting the appropriate menu items (which was less of a chore than you might expect, though I do resent “press 1 for English”) I was greeted by the website support rep who said that because it dealt with a mortgage and not a regular checking account he couldn’t help me. They’re on the same website, so why this was an issue, I’m not sure, but I was swiftly transferred to another person who told me that apparently I wasn’t the first person to report the issue today.

While he wasn’t able to fix the problem, knowing that they’re aware of it made me feel better. He said to give it a try tomorrow and if it’s still not working within a few days to give a call back. All the while he was very polite, and, as someone who has done his fair share of phone support, I can tell you that a reasonable person on the other end of the phone makes it so much easier to be helpful.

Another recent incident about reporting something was a sign that was vandalized along my route to work. Someone thought it was a good idea to spray paint a giant blue penis on the sign. When I tweeted about how to properly report vandalism on a sign I got a few responses back along the lines of, “Oh, do you mean that big schlong on the bridge sign?” That means that quite a few people saw the sign, at least enough that people were aware of what I was asking about without even directly referencing it, yet no one said anything to someone who had the power to change it. (For future reference, you can report graffiti to the police and they’ll contact the appropriate city department to clean and/or replace the vandalized sign. In this case they were able to remove most of the blue paint.)

The lesson from this is that you can’t assume that someone knows that there’s a problem. In the case of a website, it’s not reasonable to assume that the owner is out there looking for problems constantly. With respect to the vandalism issue, where it wasn’t clear who to report the issue, I can see how some would feel it’s not worth the trouble, but to me it’s a much better use of my energy to actually do something to solve the problem than to see it every day and complain to people who can’t do anything to fix it.

This of course gets into the topic of gossip which could probably be another post in and of itself, but why do people complain about problems to others who can’t do anything to make the situation better? It’s one thing to want to air your frustration, but why not do so to the entity that can make the problem go away? Are you afraid? Do you feel that your concern isn’t valid? I really don’t get it.

Do yourself a favor and instead of griping, spend that same energy on trying to find a solution. You’ll feel a lot better, and hey, you may actually fix it. How cool would that be?


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