Passwords over people; technology in control | Columnists

All I wanted to do was order a pizza. After a long chore-filled Saturday, I simply wanted a pizza, but when I tried to order one on my cell phone, I realized I’m an old fuddy-duddy. Nobody calls for a pizza anymore. They order online.

I Googled my favorite pizza place, but before placing an order I was told to set up an account and a password. I did that, but after I finished, there was no “next” button to the next screen. There was no way to proceed to the next step of placing an order.

I gave up and Googled another pizza site. Three separate times, it asked for my address, but the fourth time I provided the address, the site informed me that my address was “outside our delivery zone.” Huh? It’s just half a mile down the street.

Mary Jane Skala, column

Mary Jane Skala

Angry now, I picked up my cell phone and tried to order the old-fashioned way, but I was put on hold, with the same blasted jingle over and over and over. After 15 minutes, I hung up in disgust.

I Googled a third pizza place. This time, I was able to place an order and pick up my pizza 10 minutes later, but now I’m receiving daily emailed ads from this place touting their pizza, their secret sauce, their discount soft drinks, their dancing dogs, etc. etc. Spare me. I scrolled down to “unsubscribe,” but the next day, they sent an email asking me why I’d unsubscribed.

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Since returning to Kearney after a very brief time away, my biggest obstacle has been attempting to resume life using websites, passwords, sign-ins and the so-called #$@% technological wizardry.

Even getting hooked back up to Spectrum was a hassle. Spectrum, which had provided the cable box, initially hooked me up to the wrong (?) cable system. This chore that should have taken five minutes ended up taking nearly an hour.

Then there’s the internet. Here at work, it took an entire day to be re-connected with the computer system. During that process, which included a couple of calls to the IT gurus far from Kearney, I’d had to change my work password over and over and over. In that quagmire, I erroneously changed my personal email password, but I couldn’t remember what I’d changed it to. Google storm troopers mounted an assault and shut down my email.

I panicked. Those IT gurus told me that Google feared that some sleazy pirate was trying to invade my system, and that I should just ignore my email for a couple of days, then try again.

I tried it two days later. No luck. I tried it three days later and at least got my big toe in the water, but then Google wanted to send a “confirming number” to the email address from which I was locked out. How could I find that number if I was barred from the system? I finally slogged through the hoops using my work email, but really?

I’d hoped to withdraw the funds from a 15-year-old savings certificate, but the paratroopers blocking me from my account say I can’t prove who I say I am, so it has set there for years, unreachable, like Rapunzel and her long long hair.

I tried to correct some outdated information on an electronic form here at work, but the system wouldn’t accept the corrections.

I have a friend whose cable TV service billed her for someone else’s account. She went in personally to correct it, but the next month, that faulty address showed up again.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been at some gala lunch or dinner only to have the Power Point show go haywire.

In May, I had dinner at a restaurant that offered no menu. Instead, we had to scan some little squiggly square on our phones.

I’ve been working online for 40 years. I pay bills and taxes online. I book flights online, reserve tickets online, shop online, order groceries online and listen to music via Spotify, but I’m no match for today’s technology. Sadly, our world now prefers passwords over people, and that’s sad.

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