So it’s not just the news business that seems to be having brain cramps on customer service. Here is the voice mail message of a medical clinic I called while trying to get an appointment for my ill mother around 10:30 Monday morning:

“Thank you for calling (center). Our hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. An answering service will pick up calls after those hours. Please do not leave a message between these hours, as it will not be answered. Thank you.”

The voice mail beep kicked in after that, so I could leave a message that, apparently, nobody will answer. And, as you notice from the message, there are no options to get out of voice mail during business hours to talk to a live person, or even another machine.

I’ve been whining about newspapers cutting out and outsourcing its primary link with its customers, and fretting that it — more than changing readership — may become the death knell of the industry. But maybe it’s just endemic of the American economy. And look where that is right now.

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