"What Can We Believe?"
By Capt. Fred Davis
Published: Saturday, February 26, 2011

Are we really to believe when our phone companies lines are busy they actually mean what they say about it?

When the line does ring through after being busy a while, that is only the beginning. You get a recording telling you “Your call is important to us.” As this is repeated over and over should we actually believe our call is important? We also get the message “All representatives are busy at this time, but please stay on the line.” Do they really think we would hang up after we spent so long getting past the busy signal?

You may then get a recording that announces, “Your call will be answered in the order it was received.” How do we know what order we are in? And how do we know how many are waiting ahead of us?

We finally get through and the sun has not set on the day but now we face a battery of questions that need decisions. First one is always, “If you wish to proceed in English, press one” followed by “If you prefer Spanish, press two.” I think if the Spanish speaking people can understand the English recording, why would they need to press two.

We are now wondering what happened to the representative, (that was so busy) we were holding for?

Once we make the decision regarding what language we want to use, we expect the representative to come on the line but no — not yet we must listen to another recording.

“ If you wish to pay a bill, press 1 if you wish to question a bill, press 2 if you wish to speak to someone named Bill, press 3, if you enjoy Latin music press 4 if you prefer Irish tunes, press 5, for classical music, press 6 and for marches press 7. If you are calling for any reason other than your bill, hang up and call again.

Of course we all know if we do that, the whole process will start all over and never will a representative come on the line. He left at noon for the day but if you wish to leave him a message, simply press 000000 over and over until you actually do reach someone or they hang up on you. If they do hang up — which usually happens, you can start all over but if you are asked to hold — go for it, there may still be a representative (just hired) in the building.

If you ever do get someone on the phone and they understand or speak English, now you have to attempt to remember why you were calling. I highly recommend you write it down before you call or you may have to start all over again.

The type of experience I described happens, not only with your phone company but department stores, banks, credit card companies. Some (not mine) insurance companies use these phone delay systems as do pharmacies, hospitals, movie houses, some restaurants, car dealers — the list is endless.

Just about any company you call that may be important will likely have an answering delay device; these machines are designed to tell customers how little importance they are to the company being called.

To let the answering machine take a message just wait for the beep then leave a message such as; “The number I dialed was on a winning ticket to the one million dollar drawing held at beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.”

As I see it, the new phone systems are annoying and aggravating but who wants to talk to an unhappy employee in a bad mood anyway.


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