Free Enterprise Can Screw Up as Badly as Government

Robert Terson

By now, the fiasco with the Obamacare Webpage is known to the entire world. It has been written about from here to Timbuktu. The problem, according to most of the opinions I’ve encountered, is government—government can’t get anything right, not even a Webpage. Okay, fair enough. I was in the Navy. I, too, have issues with government competency, or lack there of. The problem for me, though, is that attitude connotes that non-government entities, free enterprise, if you will, always gets it right. To which I say: baloney! We all know that!

Let me tell you a story. Recently, our insurance policies (Home, Auto, Umbrella) were due to renew. Since we have it set up for Travelers to charge the premiums directly to a credit card, and that credit card needed its expiration date updated for Travelers, I went online to update the information their letter asked for. (Huge mistake! I should have opted for the telephone method!

So I went to their site, clicked on the link to take me to the update page, filled in everything that needed to be filled in. Then I clicked on Submit, which was the beginning of an hour-long torture session inflicted by a website that could have only been designed by Machiavelli himself.

The Submit button didn’t work. Instead, an error-message window popped up, but when I tried (God knows how many times!) to click “Okay”, it wouldn’t work. I couldn’t get rid of it. No matter how many times I clicked “Okay”, the error-message kept popping back up—instantly. So…all I had to do, you’re thinking, is click out of the site, right? Uh-uh, it wouldn’t let me do that. I couldn’t get out of it. I was completely stuck. My Mac was completely tied up by Travelers, bless their little hearts.

I called customer service. They transferred me to one of their tech experts—nice woman. But she couldn’t do anything to get me out of the damn thing either. She tried and tried for what seemed like an Eternity, nothing worked. Until, finally, she came up with an idea and, God bless her, it worked—I escaped. My Mac was mine again. I can’t tell you what the solution was—I’m old and feeble, with a terrible memory, to say nothing of being a technological misfit. Phew!

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that free enterprise can screw up just as ferociously as government. Be careful out there. As to Travelers: fine insurance company; but their Web designers need to go back to kindergarten, or maybe go work for the government…where they’ll fit right in.


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