we are pleased to announce that your pension rates are increasing. If you are on the pension please press 2 to continue. If not press 1..."
I did not press either. The voice was not clear. The Senior Cat would not have understood what was being said because her diction was so poor.
If the message was genuine it was also the wrong way to go about informing people. It would be confusing for many elderly people. It would frighten some. Had they done something wrong? Were there more buttons to press? Who was talking to them? Why had they got a phone call when they always got a letter? Or, for the few older people who get their Centrelink information by email why was Centrelink phoning and not emailing them?
I don't know if the message was genuine or not. I didn't have time to listen. I was getting the Senior Cat's meal on the table. I had work to do and a deadline to meet.
Given the number of telephone scams around I wouldn't risk pressing button 2...and then more buttons. I wouldn't give them any information over the phone. I keep copies of official correspondence I send. I date it and, once in a while, I have even sent it registered post so that I can have proof of delivery at the other end of whatever department or office or person with whom I need to make contact.
It doesn't always work of course. I have sent four letters registered post this year. Two were ignored to the point where I went on social media and demanded action. (It is amazing what even the most mild negative publicity can do in terms of at least getting a response - and my demand for an answer was at least polite - politer than the response I eventually received.) I didn't expect an actual response to the other letters...but there should be some acknowledgment of it at a meeting today.
Phone calls don't always work. The Senior Cat likes the phone. He says, "I like an immediate response. I like to know the person at the other end has got the message. You can't tell with email."
I point out you can't tell with a letter either...and that people aren't always there when you phone and... well all sorts of things. He isn't going to change his views.
I reserve physical letter writing - and the cost of the postage - for important things and for the once a year Christmas letters. I use email where I can. If I want someone to do something then I want to give them time to consider their response. It puts people under less pressure than a phone call. I hate it when people phone me and ask me to do something then expect an immediate answer when I can't give them one. Sometimes it really isn't possible to give them one. Sometimes it is not convenient to talk.
And those automated calls? Why should I give up time to listen to an automated call?
If it is that important to tell me something then write me a letter. If you must, send me an email. I can choose whether to read it or not.
If there is absolutely no choice about an automated call then apologise, say it is urgent - and choose a person with a good, clear speaking voice!