Hissy Fit - February 2016

Intolerables: Growing Numb to them Everyday

I don’t understand why we tolerate some things. I realize it takes different strokes for different folks to make the world go around, but there are some things Americans need to put their foot down about. Politics are one of those things, but I’m not going there. I am dedicating this article to aggravating telephone practices. And, while those can be numerous, I am limiting my complaints to two:

Automation and communication.

Recently my credit card was a victim of fraud to the extent a man successfully added himself to my account. When the company informed me of the fraud and reported my card lost/stolen, they said they would get a new card out to me as soon as possible. They did a good job of that and made sure the man who added himself to my account received a new card, too. Fortunately, it was sent to my address.

Thus, I have to call the credit card company...again. I am greeted by a lovely automated voice that tells me to listen carefully because the options have changed. I think there must be a very successful consultant for changing options because just about every single automated answering service has the same claim.

Anyway, I must now listen carefully to options 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9. I suddenly realize I am thankful there are only 10 digits on the telephone, otherwise I would have to take notes.

It wouldn’t be so bad if you pressed the button for your option and started making progress. But, that’s not how it works. Once you’ve pressed your option button, there is another list of automated options. What I particularly abhor is when you get so tired of pressing options, you press zero to try to get an actual person and the “system” tells you that is not a valid entry and then bids you “Goodbye.”

Who does this system actually work for? Why did we let America become automated? I called a company the other day and the last option stated, “If you would like to speak to a live person, press 8.” Really? Do I have an option? Could I speak to a non-living person? If so, I’d like for you to get my dad on the phone. It’s been seven years since his passing and I’d love to catch up.

Speaking of that live person—this is what my next complaint is in reference to. Why can’t the live person speak English? Why does an American company with predominantly American customers choose to make us solve our issues with people we cannot understand? And, it goes both ways. I feel sorry for them, too. I have a moderate Southern accent, so basically the customer service representative and I exchange a long series of:


What, Mam?


What, mam?

And it just goes on and on. If I wasn’t so frustrated, I would probably laugh about it because it is the basic foundation of comedy—miscommunication.

I struggle to understand this foreign customer service rep, who, by the way, was very polite and tried very hard to solve the issue. I probably would enjoy having a cup of coffee with this guy or even being in a book club with him, but I need someone I can understand to get the guy who added himself to my credit card account gone!

In my 43-minute conversation, this task does not happen. I have no clue why. However, I did gather that nothing could be done for 48 hours and that I needed to call back then.

In closing the calls he says, “Is there anything else I can help you with?” I’m not sure what to say at this point. I could say, “What do you mean by anything else because I’m not sure if you helped at all.” Or, I could say, “Yes, I need help with my nerves because our conversation just destroyed my last one.” Or, I could ask, “How are your nerves because you must have to repeat yourself constantly?” But I don’t. I just say, “No. Thank you,” and hope to call back and get a different person.

I wish the CEO of the credit card company had to call in to his own customer service department. I wonder if things would change…or I wonder if he or she just gets to push a special button the rest of us aren’t privy to.

Everywhere I look Americans are getting worn down to accept a whole lot of stuff
that makes no sense. It’s time to speak up or nothing will ever change.

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