Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Hold On a Moment

At night, I am a cantankerous and surly blogger, during the day I am a meek, mild-mannered paralegal who works in records acquisitions.  As such, I spend a lot of time on the phone not talking to anyone. 
Yes, I’m supposed to be talking to people, but here’s how I actually spend my time:
 In On Hold Hell and Message System Hell.

First , On-Hold Hell:

Apparently the people that made up the on-hold system now believe that most people are morons.  It used to be that you’d dial, you’d hear the standard message “Your phone call is very important to us, please stay on the line and your call will be answered in the order in which it was received” and then you’d wait, listening to non-offensive music until someone answers your call.

Not anymore.  Now, they play music for 7 seconds (I timed it!) and then they repeat the same f***ing message over again.  Music.  Message. Music.  Message.  Like an automated verbal Chinese water torture.
I’m guessing that before people were reminded every couple of seconds that they were on hold people would just forget.   They’d be on the phone vacuously staring off into space, eyes glazing over, their minds rapidly turning to pabulum as they listen to the soothing elevator music depleting their IQs.  Then after a minute, they’d stare at the phone and say “Hey, <blink, blink>what am I doing here with a phone to my ear <blink, blink> and why is there music coming out of it?  I….  I … vaguely remember someone saying something at some time about my call being important and…. Something about some order received….<blink, blink> But it’s been SO LONG.  I just can’t place it anymore!  Oh, I guess I’ll just hang up and not worry about it….”
Either that or some extremely anal people were calling up to complain:  “How the HELL am I supposed to get the entire nuance of the phone message if they only play it only ONE time?  I mean did he say the phone call was very important?  Kind of important? Important on a Monday but extremely unimportant after 4 on Friday?  And did they say that they need to receive an order to answer my phone call?    That’s not right!  Who gives the order?  Will you PLEASE repeat the message every seven seconds so that I’ll be able to diagram the sentence properly?!??”

But at least with on hold hell you will generally be able to reach someone if you wait long enough.  Message system hell is a system designed by practical jokers to see how many buttons they can get the monkeys to press.  I do gotta hand it to them.  They lure you in pretty good with the first one or two categories of options:

Message guy: If you’d like to speak to someone in technical support press one…. If it’s with....
You:< Press one>
Message guy: If you’re having software issues press one if you’re having…..
You: <Press one>

Message Guy: If your issue is with Microsoft Press one it it’s with…
You:< Press one>

Message guy:  If you’d like to speak to someone in Mandarin, press one, Italian, press two, German, Press Three, Latin press 8. If you’d like to repeat your choices, press 9.

You:  <talking into the phone like an idiot> What?!?!  Wait!?!?!?  Where’s the English option!?!?  I don’t speak those languages!  How can the message system be in English and they don’t have anyone that speaks English?!?!?.
You:  What?!?!  Wait!  <Press 0 in an idiot’s hope that this will actually get you in touch with a human being>
Message guy:  That is not a valid response!  Goodbye!   <click, dial tone>.

You know, if you’re going to hang up on me after I’ve been trying to get a hold of someone for five minutes, please don’t say goodbye.  I’d prefer it if you just said “f**k you”.
Or better yet, break into the Goodfellas Joe Pesci:  “Did you think I gave you those options to AMUSE you?  If I wanted you to press 0 don’t you think I’d of ASKED you to press 0.  Well take THIS with your phone call! <click, dial tone>.

I believe the whole message system is an elaborate prank designed by college kids who crack themselves up at the end of the day at what they’re able to make us do. 
Nerd One: Dude you would NOT BELIEVE how many buttons I managed to make this paralegal in Cleveland press!

Nerd Two: How many?
Nerd One: Twenty eight!

Nerd two:  <both crack up> DAAAAAG!  And did you let him get in touch with the guy eventually?
Nerd One:  Yeah, but get  get this- I told him that the mailbox is FULL!
Nerd two: <both fall on the floor cracking themselves up> DAAAG!  YOU ARE EVIL!
Nerd One: I know it! <high five each other>

Eventually they’re going to tire of having us press buttons to humiliate us and they’re actually going to have us perform:
Message guy: If you’d like to talk to someone about your software issues sing “I’m a little teapot” into the phone.  Make sure you have one hand on your hip and that you curtsey at the end of the song.  If you’d like to talk to someone about your hardware issue, sing “Mary had a little Lamb” into the phone making sure to bah like a sheep after each verse” …. If you’d like to …

Since the obvious intention of these message systems is to make sure that we never talk to anyone can’t they at the very least be entertaining? 
How about Action hero message system:

Message guy in Dirty Harry Clint Eastwood voice:  You know in all the excitement of your phone call I can’t honestly remember whether you should press option 4 or option 5 to reach technical support.  But seeing as how your entire computer system is breaking down and that you’ve been trying to reach someone for 25 minutes the question is do you feel lucky?  Punk?  Well, do you?  PUNK?!?!?
You: <Press 4>
Message guy in Arnold Schwarzenegger voice: Negative.   Your phone call is terminated! <click, dial tone>
Phone sex message system:
Message female in sultry voice:  I know what you want and you want it bad don’t you, you naughty boy?  How bad do you want technical support?  Do you want it bad enough to  press three!  Oh yeah!  Press it!!  Press it!!  Oh yeah, right there!  RIGHT THERE!  That’s it!  PRESS IT!  PRESS IT PREEEESSSSS IIIIIIITTT!  OOOOOH!!  YEAH!!!  PRESS IT!!!!!
Yeah, I still wouldn’t reach anyone, but at least I’d be entertained while failing miserably. 
Anyway, I think I’ve been at this job too long.

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