Featured Column

C. Paul Luongo's Published Columns

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Normal Times

Normal Times

The President is at the World Series in New York practicing his pitching and being guarded by 1,200 of New York’s Finest along with the Secret Service and the National Guard watching all bridges, tunnels and subway stations.

A squadron of F-15 fighter jets stream overhead at Yankee Stadium in a 30-mile no-fly zone.

The Vice President is in a bunker at “an undisclosed location.”

Bomb shelters and gas masks are hot sellers.

The John Hancock Tower Observation Deck is closed and the whole block around it is barricaded.

Office buildings in New York, Boston and Washington, D.C. now require ID for entrance to floors above.

The LNG Liquid Gas tanker (that heretofore arrived and sailed away without notice) now requires a Coast Guard Escort into Boston Harbor and the bridges over it are closed for its arrival.

There are armed guards at all airports and the wait for security clearance is up to two hours.

Almost all airlines are bankrupt. The New York and Washington, D.C. shuttle is gone.

You cannot drive your car to the terminal in Los Angeles. You now leave it at a “satellite location” for a shuttle bus ride to the airport.

Knitting needles and jackknives are verboten for airline passengers.

Amtrak is booming with passengers!

The Post Office is installing equipment to detect “biohazardous materials.”

Anthrax has been added to our lexicon having affected postal workers, government employees and journalists.

Postal workers and other handling mail and packages now wear protective gloves.

The House of Representatives closes for almost a week due to Anthrax scares. Several Americans have died from it. The U.S. Supreme Court meets elsewhere.

The Emmys TV Show has been postponed twice for safety measures.

Unemployment is up and the stock market is down.

Profits are the exception and losses are reported everywhere.

Restaurants are empty and hotel rooms go begging.

Cruise lines are deep discounting and riverboats on the Mississippi sail no more.

The World Trade Center is gone along with 5,000 Americans including 350 firefighters, police, hundreds of young stockbrokers and innocent civilians.

“God Bless America” and the National Anthem are at the top of the Hit Parade.


Frustrations in the 21st Century

Frustrations in the 21st Century

The MBTA goes automatic. Awful. Why? No human contacts and the machines don’t always work.

Homeless doorman prevail at retail outlets morning, noon and night. It’s disturbing and should be outlawed. We need the vagrancy law renewed.

Automated telephone systems. Now here’s one that I could expound upon for days.

There ought to be a law that requires all companies to provide a system where a human being answers when you press zero.

Otherwise, companies today want you to be their unpaid telephone operators. Worse, they won’t give you any information about personnel or telephone extensions.

Since when has it been that companies go out of their way to not want you to connect with them? Is this the new American way?

How do they stay in business?

There are times I call and you’re given 16 choices! Can you believe it? 16 choices and none of them what you want or are looking for.

The minimum information a company should provide is the name of the President and telephone to that office. Most executives, however, do not want to bother with callers for whatever reason and most don’t even return calls.

I make it a practice to return all telephone calls even if I don’t know the individual calling. You never know what good news the caller might have for you or what information is important to your business.

There are many times I have to record in my business records that I could not get through the complex telephone system of a prospective client. That’s shameful, and whenever possible, I let them know about it.

This high tech generation has a lot to learn. I think it’s awful that they are comfortable dealing with machines rather than humans.

I have no cell phone. No ATM card. No iPod. I don’t do emails and I prefer human telephone contact rather than text messaging or computer printouts. In fact, some companies are now offering e-mail free Fridays so that employees can talk to one another instead of machines.

Mayor Menino agrees with me. Most top executives feel the same way.

We are over computerized, to the detriment of human contact. Little wonder that in this day and age humans are having difficulty connecting with one another despite all the social outlets.

Online dating services are proliferating. It’s another gimmick to profit from innocent customers wanting a quick fix for their social needs.

Give me a break. Take me back to the 50’s, 60’s and even 70’s. The times they were better then.