Annoying Anonymity

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    It inevitably is going to happen. Sooner or later we are going to get charged wrong with an online purchase, or our phone bill will be wrong, or something will go wrong with our utilities, or a health insurance claim will be denied. Sooner or later we are going to have to call in to the call center to report a problem. We will dial the phone, wait as it rings about two times. Listen as the automated voice tells us about how important our call is to them. Then the automated voice will tell us to listen to every option because the menu has changed. Upon choosing the menu option that best describes our issue, we are then forced to wait through another menu until finally being placed on hold with annoying music playing. Yet they keep our hopes high because every 20 seconds or so they remind us that our call “important” to them. Then, after many minutes wasted on the phone we are finally connected with a person...but it is not the right person and they have to transfer us to the correct department to handle our issue. After being transferred, waiting on hold again, we finally get the correct person, yet they seem to not have enough authority to handle the problem.

    Technology has not made these problems easier. It seems the separation and anonymity has made it easier for them to treat customers with less and less regard, yet it has also allowed customers to react with less and less civility. By this point in the call we have been dragged through the ringer of menus, automated voices, and people that we can’t understand. Our frustration is at a peak and the person on the other end of the line is not addressing my problem. Yet they also cannot see me and don’t know me. All they know is my case number or name. They don’t know that I am a Christian. They don’t know who I really am. Therefore it is very easy for me to treat them differently than I would if we were face to face.

    Who are we when we have this “anonymity”? Are we less patient? Are we more prone to saying things we shouldn’t? Do we treat people with the same respect as when they are standing in front of us? The reality is, we are Christians even when they don’t know who we are. Our character is still important and being defined by how we react in these situations. True character is not just how we act when people know us, but how we act when nobody knows who we are.

    Jesus said in Matthew 12:36-37, “But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.”

    Let us always be careful to treat every person properly. Let us watch our words and manner of speech whether we are in person, on the phone, or hiding behind a screenname on a forum. We are still a Christian. We are still to live like Christ and treat people like Christ. Let us not change who we are just because others don’t know who we are. Let us not change our character based on how others in positions of anonymity have treated us.