Digital Punk

An abandoned burnt out car

What comes to your mind on the subject of the largest_online_retailer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned? The NZZ (Neue Züricher Zeitung) says on 16.05.2021: ‘Largest_online_retailer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned makes it happen: Digitalisation is bringing a new working class to modern society’. This is predominantly about the people who are employed with shipping and on the hotline. In my opinion, they should be used to optimise processes, because, don’t we all know, often the software doesn’t even allow special cases to be handled by the employee.

At largest_online_retailer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned there are only special cases. Imagine that you have written a book and it is distributed by largest_online_retailer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned and only by largest_online_retailer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned.  Imagine further that this book is available in English and in German, the former published by and the latter by

All clear so far? Good. Now let’s say there was an issue with a review of the English version. The reviews are all great, but they can’t be seen. So not on, but on, because at some point you find out (that is, only if you don’t give up after three weeks and 30 contact attempts) that the reviews are not shown where the book is sold, but where the buyer writing the review is registered. That may seem illogical to some, but that’s the way it is.

But now things get a little more complicated with a further challenge to your imagination. Let’s assume that there is another issue with your publication, namely ‘Look inside the book’ does not work, even though you have supplied and checked off all the boxes necessary. Please don’t get the idea that you could address these two issues in the same place at largest_online_retailer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned. You can, but either none, or only one of the issues will be dealt with by largest_online_retailer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned. But don’t expect to be told which of the issues will now be dealt with.

Now, there are two basic ways to address such issues at biggest_online_dealer_whose_name_must_not_be_mentioned: You can wade through the service pages and endless lists of categories and sub-categories and select your particular issue there, provided your problem has anything to do with those listed there. You can have someone call you, provided the button for calling back is not greyed out for your problem. In your case, regrettably, neither is your issue listed nor is the button available.

You, as someone who never loses their way in the jungle of digitalisation and knows all the tricks, are aware of the possibility of specifying a particular issue to be connected to an employee, because entries like ‘I would like to return my purchased product’ or ‘What do I have to do if I haven’t received a product?’ don’t help you at all.

As a connoisseur, you don’t expect this employee to be able to tell you the solution to your problem, because you only want them to forward it to the right place. But woe betide you if they direct you to the wrong place.

Let’s assume that the employee listens to you carefully, which I wouldn’t bet on, and asks you if you are a “seller“, because they can’t find a corresponding entry with your email address in the seller directory, and let’s further assume that you said, “No, I am an author“, then everything, but absolutely everything depends on the employee’s next step. This has the power to send you into the depths of digitisation hell, where you will have to suffer the agony over and over again, day after day, email after email.

You realise that you have landed in hell when you receive an email from telling you that 1.) all your questions will be answered on and you have to log in there to do so, 2.) this is an automated email to which you should please not reply, because your reply will not be read and 3.) your email address is not known to sellercentral.biggest_online_dealer_whose_name_may_not_be_mentioned and please would you log in with the correct email address in order to correct it.

So you start looking for a way to send an email to a place where it will be read. And let’s assume that someone actually reads this email, but don’t be surprised if you get an email back telling you that 1) they understood your problem, namely that reviews of books published in English and German are visible in the UK but not in the US, 2) this is an email to which you should please not reply, because the reply will not be read and 3.) your email is not known to and that you should please log in there with your correct email because everything will be explained there and while you are at it, you could also solve the problem with your email.

Assuming you still haven’t given up and tried to address your problem again, be prepared to receive an apology email for all the inconvenience and the advice to please contact with your questions and also to please rate the service quality there, after all they want to improve it.

Oh, I forgot to mention that it can also happen that you receive emails in Portuguese or Spanish in between.  

And then there was the second unsolved issue….

Original text: RGE
English translation: BCO


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