Stories from my past: The look of understanding

If you ever had to spend time in the DMV, Post office or other government office, you probably know what I am going to say next. There is a special kind of inefficiency that you experience when you are there. I don’t know how they manage it, but time seems to go slower when you have to interact with a government agency.

I went into the Post Office and I had a simple transaction. Unfortunately so did the other 10 people ahead of me. They had simple transactions too, but the gentleman who was employed had his own speed. Part of the problem is that he had a pattern of speaking and advertising that slowed it down, but I guess it helps make money for the Post office. So he had to go through his spiel with each person.

While I was waiting the lady in front of me asked a simple question and got the spiel that all of us had heard a half-dozen times with other customers. She looked over at me and gave me the look of understanding that said “Can you believe this guy? He is acting like a robot?” I just smiled and she went back to her business. What can you do but just tolerate certain situations in your life?

Just as an aside, is there a reason that Post Offices refuse to use the latest technologies? Many of them don’t have a stamp dispensing machine, and often their credit card scanner is out of date and slow. Do they get a kickback from card companies to take as long as possible to transact a charge? Couldn’t some credit card transactions have priority like say those of hospitals, police stations (bail), and post offices? Do people need to wait 1 minute to have their credit card go through so that Bob can buy some socks at Target faster? Why is the speed of services inversely proportional to their importance? It takes forever to get charged for an emergency room visit, but if I wanted to get a candy bar from a food dispenser I’m practically done in seconds.

Why I am saying Goodbye to Google

It has been a long time decision, but today I said goodbye to Google and deleted my account with them. I no longer have a Gmail address, or any of the other older services I use to use. Why did I do this? For the reasons I list below.

  1. Privacy. Google just wouldn’t stop being creepy with peaking in and letting me know it was looking at me. I don’t need any company to scan every word of every email I ever send. It doesn’t matter that it is free, your privacy is worth something. I switched to Fastmail a week ago and it has been a pleasure to use. No ugly interface, no spam, and a very nice threaded interface with long email chains. Google has not grown past being an advertising company.
  2. google walletPerformance. Gmail was down several times in the past few years in comparison to services like Rackspace that were never down. When a lesser funded company does something better and more reliable than a bigger company, you have to ask yourself why? Because for Rackspace they need the revenue, while Google doesn’t get money from its services. If you don’t get money from services, then there is no motivation to have a good product.
  3. Quality. I said before that Gmail but all of google services are ugly. Plus they keep changing the interface and so you spend time learning where things are. This is not worth it to me. The fact is that time is money and you can’t waste your time and not feel frustrated by it. I never liked the fact that google had poor service for Gmail, and when customers had problems they basically had no one to turn to. I had several customers who were hacked in their Gmail so to me, this is no longer a quality solution. Even with dual authentication they got hacked, so they had to go to application level passwords. At that point its time to change to another provider since Gmail clearly doesn’t have it anymore.
  4. iOS support. Gmail had an iOS app that crashed on me many times, and was a battery hog. Since I am not using it anymore my battery life has increased. When a company only has to do things “good enough” then it is wasting everyone’s time by “competing”.

I will not be using any Google services, and with my use of AdBlock I won’t be supporting them anymore in any way. I am also going to test Safari/Firefox and compare them against google for performance, quality and use. It’s clear that Google now goes on my list of Brands to avoid.