When I answer my phone, I do not want to hear a mechanical voice telling me to "please hold." I do not then want to have to say "hello" 3 or 4 times before some woman with a thick accent comes on and asks for Laura. I particularly do not want this to happen twice a day every bloody day for months and months. (This is at work, by the way. But it's the sort of thing which makes me screen calls at home.) I have tried repeatedly to explain that this is a wrong number and take me out of whatever database this is that keeps doing it and I have been at that number for over three years and there is not now nor has there ever in living memory been a Laura at that number. To no avail.
I've also gotten repeated annoying calls from America Online at work, by the way. For a while I was getting 6 or 7 calls a day, with a recording telling me to call AOL at such and such a number. Half the time the recorded message was in Spanish. I called them and got them to stop for, oh, about two weeks. Now they seem to have started again, but just a few times a week.
Another annoyance is phone death. I needed to reschedule a medical appointment. Silly me, I called the number that they had on the appointment card. The number printed right after the words :"to cancel or reschedule call xxx-xxx-xxxx). It tells you to enter your medical record number "for faster service." All well and good, but after being on hold for 8 minutes, the person who answers then asks me for my medical record number. What the hell is the point of typing it in if they're just going to ask for it anyway? And then it turns out that they needed to transfer me to someone else with another phone tree and all that to reschedule the appointment. Why do they print the appointment number on the card if that's not the number you need to call to change or cancel an appontment?
And don't get me started on voice response systems. No I do not want to say my frequent flyer number, thank you, it is faster to type it in and I feel like an idiot talking to a fucking machine and I know bloody well that whatever I want to do isn't going to be on the menu but it will take me going down twelve levels on the menu before they transfer me to an underpaid human in Bangalore. Please, if there is any power for good in the universe, do not ever let my HMO learn of the existence of voice response systems.
Alexander Graham Bell has a lot to answer for.
Copyright 2005 Miriam H. Nadel