Wednesday, May 29, 2019

Oh, Just Shut Up About How Great Your Crappy Website Is—Trying to Get Things Done in the Age of Technology

karfelt, shut up, trying to get things done, technology

It's after 1:00 a.m. and I just got off the phone with American Airlines. All I've been trying to do is reserve a gluten-free meal on an international flight. 

If you google it, you'll get instructions directly from the AA website. Go to "My Trips/Check In", enter your record locator (reservation #). Click on "Entree Reservations" in the "Flight Option". NOPE.

You can search for HOW TO BOOK A MEAL ON AMERICAN AIRLINES WEBSITE or various variations of it. You'll get slightly differing advice. None of it works. When you BOOK the flight you can request a special meal, but only if it's leaving within 30 days. Once you book and return within the allotted time frame you can't access that screen again.

When I booked my flight I figured this would happen. It's like a Murphy's Law of website usage. 

Today I was determined to figure out HOW to book that gluten-free meal online. DANGIT. I'm a capable woman. I can do the things! I'm not even going to admit to how much time I've been working on this. Today was not my first try. Suffice to say give it up and CALL American Airlines to reserve your gluten-free meal. 1-800-433-7300.

Also, when I called them the wait was over an hour to talk to someone who could help me with the website. I left a callback number. An hour and fifteen minutes later I got a representative who was most definitely NOT tech support. Also, she put me on hold for about a half hour. 

But Marianna said she'd booked the meal for me AND said that you can't do it from the website. So ignore the instructions on the AA website telling you how to do what cannot be done.

I'm taking a couple containers of gluten-free instant oatmeal with me for the nine hour flight. If I can't see it on the website, if I didn't do it myself, my life experience has taught me it's just as likely not to happen. 

The past few weeks, oh, who am I kidding? The past couple of decades have been insanely crazy busy in my life. Every day is just another 24 hours of mad chaos. This means I order take out WAY TOO MUCH.

Sometimes I play Panera roulette, which if you're gluten-free and ordering something from Panera Bread you realize is stupid anyway. But I like their salads. I've not gotten glutened with the Green Goddess salad once and I've eaten a lot of them.

I use Panera's app. It's convenient for take out. You walk in and grab your order and walk out. I love technology. About half the time, though, there's a note for me to see the cashier. This means I have to stand in line and wait. Then when my turn comes, they have to figure out why I've been called to the front. Usually this means that they're out of gluten-CONSCIOUS cookies. I get to pick something else. I always say, what else is gluten-free? They give me that YOU DO REALIZE YOU'RE AT PANERA BREAD RIGHT? look. 

Still, half the time I do walk right out of Panera with my order in just seconds. About half the time I do that the order is WRONG WRONG WRONG though. People tell me that you can call them. HAHAHAHAHA. No. Who has time for that crap?

There aren't many take-out choices here in the shire. Last week I was looking for something for my husband and I. He refused to eat another Panera salad. Recently I discovered that Olive Garden has a gluten-free soup "Zuppa Toscana". I was heading out of town on a road trip and had an eye doctor appointment, shopping to do, a soccer game to attend, and a meeting to go to before. 

I figured I'd order the soup online before I left the house. That way I could request it at a certain time and pick it up on way into the mountains. NOPE. Sure, you can order things ahead on the Olive Garden website, I just couldn't put anything in my cart that day. It just buffered while I packed my luggage. I even downloaded and tried the app. NOPE.

So I called the store where, you guessed it, I got put on hold for several minutes to listen to advertisements about how EASY it would be to order online. 

Eventually, after I'd packed the car and was driving to my first errand, I got a person and placed my order. The whole thing worked out fine then. They even boxed the soup up beautifully and it stayed hot on my two plus hour trip. Hubby even liked it. He said, I'm going to order this next time I come up here just for myself. I said, "It's so easy. Just go to their website." That's the kind of wife I am. Why get married if you can't play with your spouse? But I'm telling you the truth, and please feel free to share your favorite unhelpful website stories. 

1 comment:

  1. Even tech companies have bad websites. I can't get it either.