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18 December, 2008

"Hold" music designed specifically to incite murderous rage

Seriously. It is fortunate that I do not often need to be on hold for things on the telephone. Because each time I am, there is a gradual ramping of emotions toward violence. Why? Why must the music they choose be so incredibly aggravating? And repetetive? Why? I have had some conspiracy theories about this. For instance, one possibility is that they want to annoy you as much as possible so that you hang up and this reduces their call volume. I honestly doubt that, because if people do not get their problems solved, in the long run, one would have to assume it will have some negative impact on the company. Another possibility is that some completely out of touch moron selected tracks that they thought would be peaceful and relaxing. I would like to sit down for coffee with said individual and "school" them on the topic. But I don't think that is correct either. Another possibility is that someone in the company has an extremely untalented family member who likes to record smooth jazz on their Casio WK-101 keyboard, and they thought they were helping their relative "make it big". Another possibility is that the company just contracts the music out from some Muzak like company that "takes care of everything". In reality, this company is employed by devious individuals who would like to trigger chaos and destruction throughout corporate America. The list of possibilities goes on.

One thing I find odd is that the same annoying music is used by different, competing companies. The help line music for T-Mobile, for instance, is the same as the help line music for AT&T. That raises an entirely different possibility which is that these are actually the same company, or that they use the same help people located in some corral in El Paso, Texas, and fed nothing but Sanka and Captain Crunch.

So, there's the repeating music, and that's annoying.

Then, there's the intermittent (not sure if it is every 60 or every 300 second) message of the woman coming on the line and saying "All of our representatives are still assisting other callers. Please continue to hold. Your call will be answered in the order which it was received". This message is like being stabbed in the lung by an awl, each time it comes on the line. Why do we need to be told this? Did I have any doubt? If it were not for this message, would I have otherwise thought: "Our help line is not working anymore, or our agents have decided to play Scrabble instead of answering calls. Your calls are not answered in the order received. They are answered in alphabetical order by caller's middle name, between the hours of 8am and 2pm. Then we switch to answering in the reverse of the order received from 2pm to 5pm. Therefore, we suggest you do not stay on the line, but rather, you should hang up and redial repeatedly".

Seriously. I don't need them to have nice female computer voice tell me they haven't forgotten about me. Because I know that the reality is there are three people working at the help center. Lionel, Juan, and Tiffany. And they are working as fast as they possibly can to not assist the customers with their problem.

And I forgot one of my favorite things of all, so I must edit and add more to this happy blog! I just *love* when hold lines do one of the following two things:

  1. Explain to you how you could have your problem not be solved via their website, instead of having it not be solved via the telephone - the direct translation of this message is the following: "We have just laid off 75% of our support staff, and farmed the remaining 25% of the work out to Tuscaloosa Penitentiary. Therefore, you might want to try typing your question into a poorly designed webpage that will give you a FAQ that is completely irrelevant, and then have the kindness to include a 30 question survey, asking how satisfied you are with the answer provided.

  2. Make you listen to glorified commercials for the company, while you wait. There's nothing more inspiring than having the company who just sold you a defective product, or accidentally closed your account, or changed your service plan without notifying you, telling you about the special deals that they're offering right now!

Okay, now I think i am done for real.

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