So when I started doing court reform and judicial elections work over 10 years ago, one of the common threads was how much court systems assume that the people access them don't need[fn1] to know anything about the process. Especially if you have an attorney, you're expected to just go along without explanations or answers because the systems don't provide those answers and having those answers does not give you any tool to change timelines or outcomes.

It's this thought: having those answers does not give you any tool to change timelines or outcomes that I keep bumping into this week. Not in court access, but in customer service.

The pandemic has screwed up supply chains. It's screwed up business processes. It's hamstrung employers and a bunch of terrible things, even putting aside the people it's killing. But I'm seeing an interesting divide between business that are handling the disruption with candor and those who stonewall.

In April, I placed two orders: one with HerRoom (which sells mostly bras) and one with Ikea. Both took my money; both discovered problems with their supply chains. HerRoom not only updated me ("Sorry. We know you ordered this, but we still haven't received it to ship to you. We'll let you know more when we do. You can wait or cancel by clicking here.") at regular intervals, they answered my one email with what little they knew in response to my direct, specific question and a sorry, this stinks but it is what it is.

Ikea. Well, Ikea have been complete assholes. The phone tree disconnects you if you select "talk to someone about an existing order"; the webpage only has an option to cancel an order. The Twitter account is a bot that says "sorry. we're experiencing delays." I have a specific direvt question about the bill of lading which they emailed me. A specific question which the bill of lading directs me to talk to them about, at the phone number that hangs up on me.

See, Ikea knows the answer to the question and also what impact my knowing those answers will have. They have decided it is unnecessary to allow me access to that information. That is about as frustrating as not having the information. Even if the information is: we really don't know. This is how we will send you an update--that would 1000x more satisfactory than how they are handling it.

[fn1] oindeed, courts often assume people don't deserve to know anything about the process but that's a digression into the malice or brutal heirarchy of the law and I'm really thinking about the more benign or unthinking motivations or just inconsiderate choices.

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