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May 16, 2016


Sally Schmidt

I love it when the unhelpful human asks me at the end of the conversation if there is anything else he/she can help me with. Right. Kind of like Taco Bell: "I'll have a burrito and a Pepsi." "Great! Did you want a drink with that?"


I just know that this was so frustrating. I hate those phone trees. I hate that our world has come to such that it's no longer worth paying a person to answer the phone when a machine can do it "just as efficiently" (yeah, right!)

I am glad that this mailing was found, as much for the selfish reason of wanting to read that book, as for concern for your sanity. Now, deep breaths, Cynthia.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

OR! When they start selling you stuff. Grr.

I used to just dial 0 the minute I got into the tree, but they're on to that now.

And sometimes I just start off by saying agent agent agent.

Then they say: all agents are currently busy..

OR: Before we can connect you with an agent, please enter five million numbers--

which you'll have to tell the agent again anyway because the numbers are obviously a way to have you use up the waiting time.


But Cynthia! Tell us about your book!

Marcia Talley

My daughter has had success with screaming into the receiver instead of punching buttons. After 3-4 screams, about 80% of the time, a real person will come on the line. I tried it with Comcast one time and it worked, but now I usually opt for the automated chat session if they have one. That way, you have a record of the conversation that they can't "forget" or weasel out of.

Mary Sutton

I hate, loath, despise, and detest automated voice response systems. Try talking to one when you are trying to track a prescription while driving in your car. Ugh.


I once had a package that claimed to be delivered a week before I checked on it. I didn't have it. I called and started the process for insurance payout from the post office. Guess what showed up in the mail the very next day. A substitute mailman delivered it to the wrong address and my regular mailman found it and delivered it to me. The package hadn't been opened and looked just it had been shipped a few days before from out of state.

And if you believe that's what really happened with the package, I have a bridge to sell you. I think it got misplaced at best or almost stolen at worst.

LynDee Walker

Oh, Cynthia! I'm having stress on your behalf! I'll steer clear of my soapbox about how much the post office hates me (the feeling is mutual), and say I agree about the automated phone systems. So much that when I find a company that really shines at customer service I plaster it all over social media. Sad, when you think about it, that excellent service has become so rare we have to shout from rooftops when we find it...

Cynthia Kuhn

Thanks so much, Femmes Fatales, for letting me visit today!

Sally, yes! So frustrating when they can't help us with the *actual* thing we're calling about and they say that. It's basically taunting us. (And LOL about the drink.)

Thank you, Kristopher! So appreciate your support. Now taking deep breaths...

Hank, yes, yes yes! (Every time I have to enter the number and then tell the person the number, I want to shriek. Do you think they're just giving us something to do so the wait doesn't seem so long? Pointless.) Once the book was found, it proceeded through appropriate channels, but here's the funny part: it was delivered to a place near where it was supposed to go so was sent to some far away re-sorting place before being redirected to the correct location on the EXACT SAME STREET. So it took weeks for the package to go a few buildings down...meanwhile, I thought it was gone forever and the delay meant deadline missed/window slammed shut. (Not much to say about the book itself at this point except that it did finally happen, thankfully!)

Marcia, that's hilarious! I can't *wait* to scream into the receiver next time...aside from getting an agent on the phone, it will help with the pent-up frustration! Thanks for the tip!

Mary, that sounds like one of the circles of hell. HUG.

Mark, that is awful. Glad it showed up. And yes, how ARE we supposed to prove that something has not been delivered if it says it has? Sigh.

LynDee, that's an excellent point--how sad that it's the exception rather than the rule! I bet those companies love you for saying nice things. So nice!

Marla Cooper

Yes! So funny (in retrospect, that is; probably not so much at the time). Damn those automated systems."Operator. OPERATOR!!" Thanks for the laugh. :-)

Cynthia Kuhn

Thanks for the comment, Marla! In retrospect, yes! :)

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Oh, yes, I think a lot of that stuff is to take up time so we don't realize how long we're waiting.

And every time you enter something, the real person asks you for exactly the same info. Once I said--I just entered that a few minutes ago--don't you have that?

And she said no.


Cynthia Kuhn

She didn't even have it? HA is right!

From now on, I'm going to enter all symbols instead. Let's see what they do with that!


Back in 'the days' when there was no electronic systems the argument boiled down to
"I sent the package to you last week."
"I didn't receive anything from you."

Yikes! There's no non-person to yell at, no 17 digit tracking number to punch into the computer tracking program, nor any way to prove I REALLY DID SEND IT.

I'm not sure that either system was productive, but I rather like the yelling at the phone procedure. Somehow cools the burning brain. Akin to demanding to know the computer's number because "I'm going to report you to your Superior ."

Hank Phillippi Ryan

Oh, the old supervisor thing--I am CONVINCED they all just take turns pretending to be the "supervisor," right?

Cynthia Kuhn

DCJG, you're right--maybe neither system is really productive. I wonder if supervisors even keep track of those reports...

Hank, that's funny. If it was my turn to be supervisor, it would be Refunds For Everyone Day...then I'd be fired immediately.

Hank Phillippi Ryan

And lucky you, right? The Robin Hood of tele-stuff. xoxoo

Storyteller Mary

My dad did once pretend to be his own supervisor when a woman called to complain about him, "I'll deal with that driver, ma'am. Thank you for letting me know." A student once pretended to be his dad, but I just called the dad at work the next day "to clarify one more thing." Busted!
My phone number, one digit away from the right number, was made part of an automated snow chain call from a neighboring school district. I called several times to ask not to be awakened on snow days, but it wasn't corrected until I told their head of personnel that I was could file a No Call List complaint. ;-)
I just signed up for Netflix -- friendly real person! Same thing at Consumer Cellular.

Cynthia Kuhn

Storyteller Mary, love that story about your dad. And about your savvy catch of the student. And smart use of the complaint mechanism. You have excellent skills!

I have much empathy about your snow chain calls...you reminded me that 15 or so years ago, we started getting a zillion calls in a row that would make that horrible screeching fax tone whenever we answered...or we'd come home from work and have an answering machine full of EEEEYAAAAAAAWWWWW sounds. Eventually, we bought a machine and started faxing whoever was faxing us with a note saying something like: This Is Not A Fax Machine! Please Tell Whoever Has Given You This Number That It Is Incorrect... :)

Ritter Ames

This is one of the things I love about living in a relative small town--and a county seat, no less. I just pop into my post office, and the counter person who has known me for years takes all my info, pats me on the hand and says, "I'll check it out and call you. Don't worry." BUT, if you were talking about any kind of medical insurance or medical billing problem--and for my husband, no less, not myself (so I have to wade through the HIPPA rules too)-- then my eyes roll to the back of my head and I start twitching when I get transferred from machine to machine to human-that-doesn't-really-help. And then all over again when I have to call back because the call gets dropped by the insurance company's phone system just after I get the whole problem explained to the human I will never be able to connect with again. You have my sympathy, Cynthia, and I'm glad the manuscript was found, but I prescribe several glasses of wine or something with tequila when this happens (which means we're all going to ultimately turn into alcoholics because it happens all the time!)

Cynthia Kuhn

Thanks, Ritter! Ah, yes, the mid-conversation call drop is the icing on the cake, isn't it? Loved the description of your post office...that is just lovely.

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