Stevieslaw: The War on the Disorganized
Forget the war on Christmas. The war so many of us have to pay attention to is the war on the disorganized. Here at Stevieslaw, our former employer, The Penn State University, has decided to reduce its health care costs by rooting out the people who are claiming health benefits for dependents who aren’t. My guess is that there are less than a half a dozen people that fall into that category. No matter. To handle the task, dear old state has hired a company---probably at a cost of some umpteen million or so. Dear old State!
I have to prove that I am married---by presenting to a web site, or faxing, or mailing a copy (or perhaps an original) of our marriage certificate and an income tax filing from the last two years. Organized people, who have their documents filed neatly by subject, date and color of paper, can do this in about eleven seconds. Disorganized people must allow at least 4000 hours for the task. Karen and I were married in 1969. Do you have my marriage certificate? Neither do I. My computer---the one that had all of my income tax stuff crashed recently. Do you have my returns? Me neither.
For organized people, access to the dependent eligibility website is a piece of cake. For the disorganized, the website is bound to crash in the middle of your document upload, your password will be rejected, and the documents you scanned will disappear from the face of the planet. For the organized, the help line will be instantly available---a cheerful, young person will walk you through each and every step, with such charm and competence that you will end up writing a glowing letter to her supervisor. For the disorganized, the wait for help on the line will be several hours, the person on the other end will be learning the language through the job, and when you finally feel you are making progress, your phone will run out of power.
The organized see the task as it is---get the documents, submit the documents and get the confirmation. No sweat. For the disorganized, the request might as well read: Prove you are married by faxing three people (the living only please), not related to you or your bride, to 888-111-634, so they may attest to the wedding ceremony. Got to go, I think my fax machine may be in the garage or the attic, or possibly I donated it to Goodwill.