The agonies of voice mail…


So, this being the week before Christmas, I should write something snappy and dealing with the holidays and all that stuff.


Instead, I’d like to use this time to make my annual plea and whine about the agonies of voice mail. In the old day, back some years ago, you might remember that we dialed a telephone and actually spoke to a real live human being on the other end of the line when they answered. In the event they didn’t answer, then we knew they were (a) closed or (b) not at home or (c) ignoring us.


Today, we are bereft of any of those options. Someone always answers; someone is always as home and no one can ignore us.  My complaint is simple, instead of speeding up our lives and making us more productive, we are slowed down by the following:


‘ Welcome to XYZ Corporation. Our operators are busy assisting other callers; we will be with you in a moment. Please listen as our options have changed. This call may be monitored for training purposes.

Press 1 for English..

Press 2 for ..(here they list 15 different things you cannot possibly recall, so you have to go back and repeat this entry time and time again)

Press 3 to repeat the options.


Thank you, we’ll be with you in a moment.

Your approximate wait time is..5 minutes’ TIME PASSES

We’ re sorry, that department is not taking calls at this time due to heavy call volume, please hang up and try your call later.’




‘ We’ re sorry, there isn’t an operator on duty to assist you at this time, please hang up and try your call later.’




‘ We’ re sorry, but due to heavy snowfalls in some parts of the world, some of our people cannot get to your call at this moment. Please hang up and try your call later.’




‘ We’ re sorry, but due to an incoming number of meteors and asteroids, we cannot get to your call at this time, thank you for your patience, please hang up and try your call later.’




‘ We’ re sorry, but due to our lunch being delivered later than normal, we are unable to take your calls. Please hang up and try us again later.’




‘ Why not just send a letter to us, we only have one person here at XYZ Corp. to answer 85 incoming phone lines and she isn’t going to get to you today. Thank you for your understanding and please visit our web site’ WWW.XYZ CORP//-HTML/ GOV/NET’




Not only is this frustrating, and you finally give up’ but the really bad ones are the automated robots who try to answer your questions. Like calling information for a nationwide 800 number.


‘ How may I help you

You give them some answer.

‘ I’ m sorry I didn’t understand you, would you repeat that

You give them the same answer.

‘ Are you saying, the cat is in the garbage in Manhattan

You give them the same answer.

‘ How’s that again’ I still didn’t understand you.’

You scream into the phone saying something like’ no wonder you can’t understand me, you aren’t alive. You ask to speak to a human.

‘ You want to order Chinese food cooked Hunan style

You scream at the phone and then realize you are swearing at a robot piece of machinery in some place like Fargo, North Dakota or someplace in India.


I cannot for the life of me see that we have saved ourselves any time. More often than not, I end up hanging up and waiting until 1 or 2 in the morning to make my calls in an attempt to get through to whomever it is I need to speak with. Then all I have to do is deal with some guy who just woke up in Bangladesh. He may not be much, but at least he’s alive.


I think.


These companies spend millions of dollars trying to attract our attention to their product or service, then blow it all away on bad good will by not being responsive in something as simple as answering a telephone call.


Progress isn’t always the best way to go, is it’


Anyway, that’s enough of that for another year. I want to get back to doing some research on this guy named ‘ Tex. Seems everyone I meet has some cell phone or blueberry or something in their hand and when you ask them what they are doing..they just look at you and tell you they are sending ‘ Tex’ a message.


He is some popular guy. Must be some sports figure or something.


Merry Christmas.