I Don’t Know Why We Even Have an Internet

I am so freaking annoyed with businesses with websites that require you to give them your telephone number (forcing you to either receive or make unwanted calls) just to find out the most basic information about the services they offer. And I mean basic—information about the one thing that the company actually does isn’t clearly listed on their website.

Here are some examples:

Storage Facilities: They do not have rates listed for the various sizes of their storage units. Are these not fixed prices? Isn’t a 5x5 room the same price for everyone? If not, why not? Will I get a better deal if they like my voice? I don’t understand why the websites don’t have prices and they’re forcing me to call them on the phone to get information. What’s the point of having a website then? How much does your basic service cost!?!?!?

Vehicle Rental: Same problem. I can’t get a price from the website. I don’t want to have a salesperson call me with a “customized quote”. That is ridiculous. Suggesting their basic service is tailored to each individual does not make me feel special. It makes me think they’re up to something. Why aren’t there fixed rates based on type of vehicle, mileage, and length of rental contract? Why do they want to call me to follow up. I don’t like talking to people. That’s why I’m using the internet.

CenturyLink: First, you change your name from Qwest to CenturyLink like I’m going to forget your old name when it’s lit up in blue on my modem, then your website won’t even tell me whether your service is available in my new area. Seriously, I don’t need to log in to an account for this. I don't want to call you for information. You either have coverage in the area or you don’t. How about just showing me a map? It’s not that complicated. They do realize their service trucks still have the Qwest logo visible on them, don’t they? We haven’t forgotten your long name changing legacy, Compu-Global-Hyper-Mega-Net. Also, they’re putting the internet on computers now. 

US Cellular: Okay, these guys are a little better. They at least had a map of the coverage area. Great. I have service. But I can’t find any information on the website about whether or not I can keep my same phone number in that area. This would seem to be a common occurrence—you know, people moving to new states and wondering about keeping their phone numbers. How about an FAQ for that?

FAQs are almost always useless. All of the questions I had here seemed like good contenders for these companies' FAQ lists. But nope. The companies used their FAQs to tell me useless “facts” about how great they are. What a waste of your website. I went to the site to get actual service and pricing information, not to read your marketing materials. Also, there can’t possibly be enough internet savvy cell phone users with out-of-date Nokia brick phones asking about upgrades to justify such a question on an FAQ.

So, my question for these companies is this: Why do you even have a website if you’re going to force me to call you on the phone anyway? That is beyond annoying. And I know Qwest-I mean-CenturyLink is going to put me on hold for like three hours just to let me ask a simple question. US Cellular at least has a local brick and mortar store for me to go into.

Frequently, on this blog I complain about things that land squarely in the “first world problems” category. This is one of those blogs. In fairness, what more appropriate place is there to highlight a first world problem than in a blog? (Maybe Twitter, but I couldn’t get my irritation edited down to 140 characters. That’s another problem.) In the realm of problems, having to make phone calls to acquire the information I seek is really only a problem for introverts. I am an introvert. I need to rewatch some old X-Files episodes when reliable cell phone coverage would have averted the entire crisis du jour to remind myself that it could be worse.

In summation, remember telephone books and rotary phones? Those were the days.