It was a simple question. It should have been on the website. It wasn’t. So it should have been a quick and easy phone call. Forty-seven minutes later, I realized I was in hell – that tortured no man’s land of a customer service phone call known as On Hold.
So it was only fitting that the purgatory playlist included Johnny Cash singing Ring of Fire.
But just getting to that loop of music is a herculean task in the customer service Olympics. Because before you can even to listen to the Bee Gee’s Stayin’ Alive you have to talk to the automated lady who rarely understands whatever words are coming from your lips, regardless of the volume or tone in which you speak.
She starts out nice enough. “Your call is important to us,” she says sweetly. Robo Lady tells me to listen carefully because the menu options have changed suggesting that I might have the interest and brain capacity available to have this memorized for reference.
Robo Lady seems committed to getting my call to the proper destination and offers up a detailed array of menu options. “If you’re calling about warranty questions, say warranty,” she says. I say, “Warranty.” “You said technical support, right?” she continues. “Please say yes or no.” “No, warranty,” I tell her. “Sorry, I didn’t get that. You said technical support, right?” she says starting to sound annoyed with me. “NO. NO. NO! WAR-RAN-TEE,” I enunciate slowly and carefully like I’m auditioning for The Actor’s Studio. “That is not a valid option. Please hold while I transfer you to the next available customer service representative,” she admonishes me now morphing from her once helpful persona into a cranky, peri-menopausal broad with passive-aggressive issues.
Now I realize I have a Southern accent that routinely transforms one syllable words into three. But unless it’s a numerical sequence involving fives and nines, or I’m trying to order pie, as a general rule, most folks can understand me. This snotty menobot seems to be the exception.
I don’t think she likes me.
Suddenly, the strains of Sail Away start playing in my ear to soothe my slightly frazzled nerves. But before my mental ship can leave the harbor, a voice interrupts my reverie. “Your call is important to us. Please wait for the next available customer service representative,” a new voice tells me.
Like I have a choice.
Carly Simon takes over and sings You’re So Vain as if she can see what I’m doing while balancing the phone in one ear – looking in the harsh light of the bathroom mirror armed with tweezers while looking for chin and neck hairs that seem to be sprouting with alarming frequency.
That’s not called vanity, Carly, it’s called multi-tasking.
The Voice cuts in and I expect it to tell me I missed a whisker. Instead it says, “We are experiencing unusually high call volume. Please expect increased wait times.”
Gee, I hadn’t noticed.
After I complete my facial deforestation project I head to the kitchen as Hungry Like the Wolf cues up and load the dishwasher.
The 80s called, they want Duran Duran back.
Once again, The Voice insists my call is important. I’m starting to doubt its sincerity. Not surprisingly, Aerosmith’s Dream On starts to play.
I vacuumed to drown out Jethro Tull because I’d rather eat broken glass than be forced to listen to Aqualung. I cleaned the bathroom to Bohemian Rhapsody.
I never heard from The Voice again. But I should have.
It should have finally told me to just press zero. Because that’s the chance I had of ever talking to a person.