Monthly Archives: May 2011

I can’t get no …

Automated telephone answering systems are responsible for the 40% increase in psychotic events over the past 15 years.

That’s my theory, anyway. My hypothesis. I’m not sure how to prove it, but it is true. My secondary hypothesis is that all incidents of domestic terrorism are directly tied to automated telephone systems. The FBI should investigate.

Personally, I become psychotic each and every time I have to press 1 for this and 2 for that. I’ll cut them a break for language, though. I have no problem pressing 1 for English. People need to grumble in their native tongue. Spanish speakers should have that right too.

But in fact, nobody gets to bitch. We just press 1 or 2 respectively and listen to additional options, none of which are what we want. None of the prompts are even close to what really want to do. None of them says “Press 4 to scream at a human.”

I become progressively more apoplectic with each and every telephone prompt. Eventually, with perseverance, I finally get a person. And by the time I do, that person on their end of the telephone is thinking long and hard about their career choice.

It’s not their fault. I always tell them that. I know it is true. But that fact doesn’t alleviate any of my anger at the time I have spent just to get to them. And nine times out of ten, the human I have reached is the wrong human in the wrong department and usually in the wrong country. I must start again. My psychosis soars along with my blood pressure.

There is even one telephone prompt voice that makes my blood boil. I call her Sybil. Sybil is everywhere: at my cable company and my power company and a couple of the banks I briefly considered doing business with until I heard her speak. She is young, chatty. She pretends to be my friend. She is not my friend. I do not want to be friends with a telephone prompt. I do not want to talk to her. I do not want to do anything she asks of me. And I really do not want to press her buttons. She is pressing mine. Remotely.

On average, after approximately 5 different prompts I am invariably led to a dead end where I have the same four original choices, none of which remotely fulfilled my need at the start. Or, if somehow one of the choices would work, I am promptly disconnected. I must start again with Sybil.

I am pretty sure the cost savings in terms of personnel is not worth it for businesses. Often by the time I am done with a call about this or that, I am ready to destroy the building. And if all your customers feel that way—and they do–perhaps you should rethink your policy.

One minute with a person early on and my problem would have been solved, amicably, and I would be a satisfied customer. Instead, an hour later, I would give all that I own for a battalion of similarly psychotic customers who would help me storm company headquarters and pin down just one human for us to yell at in turn. But by the time my turn comes, of course, I will have forgotten why I want to yell at them. And then I’ll have to talk to Sybil again.

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Fifty-Four-and-A-Half

Because I am fifty-four-and-a-half years old, the world is against me.   The world would be treating me just fine, thank you very much, if I were just six months older.  Read the news lately?  Some folks in Congress want to change Medicare — starting with me.  Starting with folks currently under 55.  Am I the only fifty-four-and-a-half-year-old who is seriously pissed off about this?

Some might say that by the time Congress does something about Medicare I will be over 55, old enough to be, ahem, grandfathered in.  Oh, great.  That makes me feel loads better.  Why not just say, “hey soon you’ll be dead and you won’t have to worry”?

Besides, that is not the way life works.  I will live long enough to be a burden to society, with every health complaint currently known and several not yet invented.  And I won’t have Medicare to help pay the bills.

What’s worse, they are talking about a voucher system.  You know — coupons.  And that’s how I will get my revenge against all the people who didn’t bother to say to Congress,

“Hey, are vouchers really such a great idea?”

Because I will keep my vouchers in my purse.  Those vouchers will be somewhere in that big sack along with everything else: my grocery store coupons, my wallet, makeup, receipts dating back to 1998, mints, gum (new and used), extra pantyhose, toilet seat covers, hand sanitizer, and anything else I might have needed in the many years I’ve carried this particular purse.  You will get to watch me search through it all for my healthcare vouchers.

And, I will not be the only one.

In fact, health vouchers will be kept in the purses of all women over 65.  Based on data from the US Census Bureau, I calculate that in 10.5 years, there will be 20 million women over 65 getting vouchers instead of a Medicare card.

Now take a moment to think about that.  A moment to think about an entire generation of little old ladies looking through their purses for their vouchers.

One of us will be in line in front of you.

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