Paul Miller deals with paper bills and phone trees.
And that brings me to the true bane of phone calls, and its primary metaphor shift: the lack of browser cookies. As I’m sure you know, any complicated phone-based maneuver will eventually result in a “that’s not my department, but if you’d like I can transfer you to…” This person, whose role seems infinitesimally granular, will indeed transfer you, but only to a brand new phone tree, where you have to start from zero with a whole new robot defense system. Before you’re finally connected to what is presumably the correct department, you have to identify yourself again with a long series of numbers: your Social Security number, your account number, your phone number, your zip code. You’re never greeted by name, only by a question: “Is this Paul Miller I’m speaking with?” Then you have to give another numeric identifier, even though you just touch-toned that number to a synthetic mere seconds ago.