This has been a rough month for me as far as customer service goes. It started with my laptop breaking, thankfully under warranty, but involved about two dozen phone calls to Asus tech support, Fedex, and Purolator before it was finally shipped off. Now nobody can find it. It may have been thrown out just to spite me for being a difficult customer.
So I’ve been using other people’s computers, my phone, and, since getting it as a gift, an Android tablet. E-reader. Whatever. The first attempt to log in to Flickr on the native browser worked fine. Now I can’t seem to get the password right.
I use three or four passwords, with variations on each. Places that require caps get caps; lengths vary according to requirements; etc. So each password is two attempts to verify I didn’t typo, times however many variations it takes. Yahoo, after a few attempts, starts to require a capcha with each attempt. Tablet browsers and pop-up CSS overlays don’t really get along.
So we’re onto the security questions. Once upon a time I couldn’t remember the answer to a security question and the bank official I was on the phone with advised me to treat them like passwords: ignore the literal question, just use a secondary code that is meaningless or otherwise hard to guess but easy to remember (i.e. “What’s your favourite colour” and “What’s your mother’s maiden name” are both “1234567890” or whatever). Good advice. I’ve used it for years.
Unfortunately, Yahoo doesn’t let you use the same answer for separate questions. Bully. So here we are on the second question, and I have tried everything. So I’ve been locked out twice in two days - a day after getting the password right with no issues. All of this activity had been in my mother’s living room, by the way, from one ISP address.
So I give in and message tech support. Maybe if they just gave me hints as to what the password requirements were, I’d be able to work it out? Maybe if I proved I was human and this was just some comedy of data-entry errors, it’d all get cleared up? Certainly I have plenty of other ways to verify my identity: birth date, address, phone, emailing them from another address with my name on it….. Of course all of these things can be compromised or faked or looked up. So tech support is having none of it.
What do they do? They send me back to that damn security question. Citing company policy.
Where did you spend your childhood summers?
I grew up in Dobbinton, Ontario, Canada. My childhood house was a 100-year-old house that unfortunately burned down when I was eight. Then we built a log house on the same property, where I lived until I went away to college at the age of sixteen. We didn’t travel, except when I was four or so, when we spent a week in Curacao. I made friends with a waiter at the hotel there and followed him around like a puppy. One day I fell and busted open my lip. He gave me ice. My other summers were spent in Dobbinton, running up and down the hill, playing with some neighbours. There were train tracks beside my house and we used to go a couple hundred metres back to a place where a culvert under the tracks had made some dirt fall down. We would climb between the rails and crosspieces and pretend we were on a bus. Is the answer “the bus”? There was also a hill behind my friends’ house that we used to call “groundhog hill” because there were lots of holes to fall into. They had a shitty treehouse there. Let’s see, also on the train tracks was a little area of trees around a tiny creek that we called The Oasis? Farther back, into the forest, we had each picked out big boulders that we called our respective Thinking Rocks. On the south side of the road, we could jump the fence next to the tracks and take a cow-path all the way up to the top of the hill, where my other friends’ house had a big barn behind it. So we would sneak up there in the forest, on the path, then pop out behind their house and surprise them. We used to toboggan there in the winter, but that’s not what you asked. You asked “summers.” I mentioned the beaches in my last email to you, because we went to Port Elgin and Sauble Beach a lot in the summers. My mother, who I’m visiting for the holidays, would like to contribute that we spent a fair amount of time on computers as children. Is it “Putt Putt Goes To The Moon”? Or maybe I spent time in The Legend of Zelda, or Secret of Mana. Hyrule? Is the answer Hyrule?
They haven’t written back yet.