You’ll have to forgive me in advance here. I was going to publish this on my personal blog but, midway through, I started mentioning smartphones and figured it would be worthy of a post here.
The whole PPI claiming culture is, if we’re honest, highly annoying. I remember how it all started. I was one of many people who took out payment protection because I was almost “forced” into having it. The loan companies would imply – sometimes threaten – that you wouldn’t get the loan unless you took out that payment protection.
Now we live in a world of PPI “claim specialists” and there’s millions of unsolicited calls from PPI cash-back companies. They’re highly annoying, and that’s putting it nicely. I’ve taken to slamming the phone down when they call, and they range from pre-recorded messages, computerised voices to – sometimes – real people.
This telemarketing has, like online advertising, shot itself in the foot. There was a time, many moons ago, that I’d be prepared to listen to someone ringing my mobile or home phone, but now I answer unknown numbers and already expect to say “no” to whatever they say. That’s if I answer at all. I’ve become more short tempered with these people, and it’s devalued the importance of a phone call in a way.
However, in a conversation the other day with a colleague I had another example of just how lazy we’ve become as a society. Don’t get me wrong, this guy is a hard working individual, but we’re becoming so used to someone or something sorting things out that we don’t bother trying ourselves. I’ll tell you in a moment what he said, but I couldn’t get over the apathy that seems to be engulfing any task that takes more than a couple of minutes.
A lot of us have become lazy. It’s partially due to technology. We can have our weekly shop delivered to the door, we get food instantly without speaking to anyone at McDonald’s, movies are on-demand and we can even see the doctor without leaving the house. Going to work is the only thing we actually still have to go out if the house for, and even if you do head to a supermarket for something, you’ll find laziness there too..
So why bother leaving the house eh? Let’s all sit inside and get fat. We’ve got gadgets to help us communicate, shop, research and play.
In the past I’ve seen parents on trains telling their children that they’re “busy” and to “hang on” because they’re “doing something” on their phones. I’m not perfect, I’ve done that myself, but it’s when you spot that the “something” is actually just Facebook that things start to become worrisome.
Is this what’s making us “busy”? When did Facebook become so important?
Kids copy us. Monkey see, Monkey do. They’ll sit behind their tablet and phone screens, ignoring you in return. It’ll drive you mad, especially when it’s dinner time, but sometimes they’ve seen you do the same to them.
I have to fight that. Every day. I spend a lot of time on my phone doing all this craziness, so I’m on the phone a lot and I have to curb it. I have to make a mental note that I must stop using the phone and pay proper attention to what’s going on.
So when a PPI person calls you and says, “Hey, we could get you thousands in compensation, just click this button”, you’re going to be interested, right? Sure, you’re a “busy” person, so having someone do all the “hard work” seems appealing – plus it’s all free, right? Well no, and this is how the conversation I mentioned above started. I was speaking to a mate and he mentioned how he was going to have a nice holiday this year because of his PPI money, but he was getting a company to sort it out for him. He told me that he “couldn’t be bothered” and “it’s money I wasn’t expecting anyway”, so why bother doing the PPI claim yourself?
I couldn’t fully understand it myself. I’ve claimed PPI cash-back, but I went to that Money Saving Expert guy, grabbed an online form and sorted it out in about 5 minutes. It’s free to do this, but if you don’t remember the loan details then it might cost you £10 for an account breakdown and £2 for a credit check. That’s a max of £12 overall, compared to the 30% that these PPI claims handlers charge.
Let’s put this another way, if you’re getting “just” £3,000 as PPI compensation, the claims handler is going to grab £900 of that. That’s like me giving you £2,100 and saying, “You can have another £900 if you spend 5 minutes on a website”. How come we’re saying no to that? I don’t get it. Are we all too lazy and “too busy” to spend 5 minutes doing something for an extra £900 ?
It could just be me, but I’ve seen quite a few instances where “fiddling with a smartphone” is deemed as “more important” than doing something actually productive and worthwhile. We’re now spending hours on Twitter and Facebook “supporting” and “retweeting” things instead. Get out there and do something for you, for your family. Never mind other people and what they’re doing, what they look like, what their house looks like or where they’re going on holiday, because it doesn’t really matter.