Tuesday, January 10, 2012

For Self-Loathing, Press Three

Some things are very difficult for me to do: fold the laundry, return my library books on time, make phone calls. Especially phone calls. I once took cold showers for ten days straight before gathering up the motivation to call someone to repair the water heater. It was July, so it was hot outside. But still.

It's just so hard. First I have to find the number, then I have to dial the number, then I have to talk to someone. I mean...just thinking about it makes me sag with exhaustion.


Last week, I spent hours trying to call a government agency, just redialing again and again, hoping to get through.

It was my own fault. I was over a month late sending something in. If I'd done what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it, I could have avoided making that phone call. But I didn't do what I was supposed to do when I was supposed to do it. We can add "doing things that I'm supposed to do" to the list of things that are difficult for me.

And so, after thinking about calling the government agency for two weeks, I finally pick up the phone.

I start with a smile plastered on my face, a remnant from a customer service workshop that I'd once attended: people can hear you smile.








The smile slips from my face.

OK. That was a bit strange. I would have expected to be placed on hold.

Redial. Redial. Redial.


Redial. Redial. Redial.

My index finger is getting tired.

Redial. Redial. Redial.

With every beep of the phone, I slip deeper and deeper into despair.

This is all my fault. Why did I do this? Why can't I be a proper grown-up and take care of things? If I just did stuff, then I wouldn't have to sit here pressing the same stupid buttons over and over again. If I wasn't such a failure, I wouldn't even be making this phone call.

Redial.


I choose one. No, three.

Redial. Redial. Redial.


I hate you, phone. I hate you, robot lady voice.

Redial. Redial. Redial.


*twitch*

Redial. Redial. Redial.


*sob*

Redial. Redial. Redial.




Wait a minute...

Did she say...?

Sequence...?

No! No, wait! Wait, I changed my mind!

Come back! Please!



Redial. Redial. Redial.






Redial. Redial. Redial.


Redial. Redial. Redial.




In the end, after three hours of hitting the redial button over and over again, I got through. The perfectly nice (real live human) woman who finally answered the phone was very apologetic and sounded even more harried than I felt. I asked if the wait time was normal. Her answer: unfortunately, yes. I can only imagine the harsh words that people holler at her all day every day.

(Seriously, though? Hire more people. And then invest in a phone system that puts people on hold instead of hanging up on them.)

I explained the situation. She apologized again for the delay. And then she told me that I'd have to call back the following week.

Sometimes I hate the world. Or maybe the world hates me. I haven't quite figured out which one it is yet.

39 comments:

  1. OMG my favorite one is the one with your head against the desk. Been there!

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  2. 3 HOURS?! That is horrible and then you have to call back. I'm sure we have plenty of capable people here in the US that could answer a phone.
    You are much more patient than me. I wouldn't have waited that long.

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  3. LOL. I can so relate to this. I loved the "wait did she say sequence?" part. I have totally done that. After redialing a thousand times, it's just a habit to hang up even if you actually get a person. Also, I can totally relate to the not wanting to make calls. At work, no problem, but when it comes to my personal life, forget it. I am the world's biggest procrastinator when it comes to making appointments or dealing with people like Verizon or whatever. Arg. Right there with ya.
    I'm pretty sure this happens at my job all the top with the phones. I just got yelled at yesterday by a woman who had been on hold with Customer Service for two hours. Of course they won't hire more people, that would cost money.

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  4. ah, i feel your pain!!! i dislike phone calls, too.
    but this post is hilarious, as usual, stephanie! i love your made up options.
    what gets me is the systems where you have to state stupid choices like "english!" "no!" etc -> you sound ridiculous!
    i so would not want to work in a call centre. i'd be batty.
    thanks again for your very funny take on this unfortunately common scenario! glad you got thru FINALLY!!!

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  5. My sister and I once got into a shouting match argument over who had to call the pizza place. I am pretty sure that working phone support most of my life has given me permanent phone-related psychological scarring.

    I am also a procrastinator of things I don't want to do so they are harder when I finally get around to them.

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  6. Completely frustrating phone experience and not resolved. No wonder not calling is easier! The clay you, w/ "Please" - looking so sad...the photo and expression are so real!

    I hate making calls too; every few years I start to feel guilty and set aside a day to make calls and set up appts. for all my over due stuff - doctor, hair, eye doctor...

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  7. You never fail to make me laugh--AND wholeheartedly agree with you--with every single one of these. I had to call social security the other day, and was on hold for 45 minutes...thank god for speakerphone, but if I ever hear whatever that hold music was again, I'll probably punch the closest person.

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  8. I always laugh out loud at these. You have incredible talent ... but perhaps you know this already?!

    Anyway ... glad you finally got through, but oh, I know exactly how this goes ... beep ... beep ... beep...

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  9. Oh, I feel your pain. Now imagine doing this with a cell phone that doesn't work inside your house and barely works in your neighborhood. I have thrown my phone across the front yard a time or two.

    I was having computer problem (never buy a Toshiba!), and I was on hold for customer service for 45 minutes before anyone answered (but I was determined to wait). When I finally got someone on the line, she said "Do you mind if I put you on hold for less than 5 minutes while I research your problem?" My response was "Well, I've only been on hold for 45 minutes now. What's another 5?"

    I hate the phone. But I do love text messages...

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  10. Ha! Bring sexy back! Love it!

    I also completely loathe the phone. I will talk to people I really love if they are living in another timezone, but otherwise, I don't even want to talk to my own friends on the phone, let alone call a random person I don't know. I feel your pain. You did try, though, so good job.

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  11. @her royal fabulousness, I may have actually been in that exact same position several times during the whole debacle.

    @Andrea Ward, oh, trust me, I wanted to give up. But I couldn't. Because it was a Really Really Important phone call.

    @Shell Flower, you have all my sympathies for having to use the phone for a living. That's like a nightmare for me. I'd rather be verbally abused face-to-face rather than over the phone.

    @cathy, I HATE those "voice recognition" phone systems! I can feel my blood pressure rising just thinking about it.

    @Leauxra, I hate ordering pizza too. Hate it with a fiery passion. I liked being in the city because I could order online.

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  12. @sara, I also put off making appointments. Especially to the dentist. But dentist visits could be a whole 'nother post.

    @forgottenbeast, and did you also get the intermittent "Your call is important to us" messages meant to reassure?

    @jhl, glad I made you laugh. I'm not sure about "incredible talent". Maybe "no job and therefore a ridiculous amount of free time that I have to fill in order to keep from cleaning the house" is a bit more accurate.

    @areyoukiddingme, I have the same problem with my cell phone. It only works in half the house. It's so frustrating!

    @jen, thanks for the pat on the head. You're right...I did try. I deserve a cookie.

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  13. I think I actually wrote this post. Because I have the same issues. In fact, I've spent a ridiculous amount of time contemplating with my mom why making phone calls is SO HARD. I used to have my sister do it for me---she loved to call up anyone and make them give her customer service (she was kind of bossy so...). She was nice, and she always got more than she asked for...and free stuff too. I try to convince myself to do it, but I can't.
    I wish on my voicemail outgoing message I could say, "Please don't call me. I prefer emails at ...."
    One thing I have learned is that you can often put things off for a lot longer of a time than you think you can and still get away with it.
    One thing I've learned is that

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  14. @Lisa, it's true that you can put things off for longer than you think, but eventually they catch up to you. At some point you end up curled up in misery, mentally abusing yourself for being such a failure. Errr...not that I have any first hand experience with that or anything.

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  15. Thank god they invented the phone menu business after dial phones were replaced. If you'd had to really dial a number with zeroes in it, for three hours, your index finger would have fallen off. And some of my very favorite things involve my index finger.

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  16. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH I died laughing over this one!

    "To give a dog a bone"!!!

    "To punch my face through the phone"!!!!

    You are a genius!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  17. I feel horrible laughing about your pain. But OMG...that was TOO FUNNY! I laughed out loud at the "Bring sexy back" option. Cuz, that's the one I'd have chosen. SNORT! :)

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  18. Okay...you got me started (oh, and I love this)
    I was in Chicago when hurricane Irene hit. The airline canceled all flights scheduled back to the east coast 24-36 hours of when it was going to hit (I guess a strategic move to ensure no planes were stuck there). And when you called customer service for some help, there was a message that essentially said "we're not even answering the phone now...go see our website" It was a complete mess!

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  19. I HATE the phone. I will do anything to avoid it - I'd rather go a place in person, wait in line, and/or suffer their bafflement at my appearance in person than just pick up the phone :)

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  20. Oh I love your work. This is the first time I've seen your blog, I was linked through from Cool2Craft, it is GREAT love it love it love it.
    Have a great day, away from the phone

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  21. Ohh you have outdone yourself. I loved all your "Press 2 for..." hehe. Definitely made me laugh.
    I can TOTALLY relate. I am a terrible grownup. I also hate calling anyone official on the phone (though I think in person may be worse), but so many times I don't do things by the deadline and it requires a phone call. So I am with you, I sabotage myself.
    At least we are not alone!

    You are a plasticine goddess!

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  22. @murrbrewster, we had a rotary dial phone when I was a kid. And this made me laugh out loud: "And some of my very favorite things involve my index finger."

    @Sophia, thanks! I dunno about genius. But hey, I'll take it. Ha!

    @abby, it's the one you DO choose. Each and every day.

    @strivingcynic, good to know they didn't even try! Preemptive giving up.

    @missohkay, I'd also rather go in person. Except that I really hate driving new places. So it's a trade-off.

    @hartyboys, thanks for visiting! I'm glad you enjoyed it. And I have absolutely NO intention of calling anyone today.

    @happyorhungry sabotage is the perfect word. I drive myself crazy because I see it happening, and yet do nothing to stop it. BUT, on the positive side, I finally got the whole issue resolved after one last (excruciating) phone call this morning!

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  23. @Lindsay, it's ok. I fixed it today. No more phone calls needed to that agency. I feel like twirling.

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  24. I find your blog amusing. I have RSS'ed you. I come via Da Cheeseblarg.

    Cheers!

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  25. Now I follow you on Twitter, too. I might be stalking you. It's hard to tell at this point.

    I see you also follow Jian Ghomeshi. I LOVE HIM SO MUCH!!!

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  26. @Bonnie, MAJOR intellectual crush. Major. Have loved him since his long-haired Moxy Fruvous days. Any Jian-lover is a friend of mine.

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    1. Awesome! He makes my brain and my heart happy. I got to meet him once when he was going a show in Winnipeg. I turned into a drooling idiot. It was embarrassing. My husband likes to remind me of it. :P

      Bennywho, it's nice to 'meet' you!

      P.S. I'm also stalking you on Pinterest now. :P

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  27. So true, so very true. Something else that is true? Whenever I get the "press 1 for..." menu I start hitting zero repeatedly. Nine times out of ten it takes you to a real live person and I don't have to try and figure out where my problem fits into their mess of options :)

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    1. Embedded comments make my heart happy! :) Jenny, I TRIED pressing 0. Again and again. But they kept hanging up on me. Bah.

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  28. Oh my goodness what an ordeal! I agree they should just hire some more people! I don't envy you having to call back next week.

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    1. Nope, next week was this week. I called and cleared everything up and now it's all DONE. Thank goodness.

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  29. sorry to hear about this frustrating experience- I do hate making phone calls like that as well!

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    1. It's ok. These struggles only make us stronger, no? ;)

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  30. Fellow phone call hater here! Absolutely can't stand it and it gets me into trouble, too. I hope that at the time, you got some solace out of the knowledge that the story would make a ton of readers laugh!

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    1. I'm not sure that I have a ton of readers! Ha! Phones are bad and awful things.

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  31. This is TOO funny, Stephanie!! I love it!

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    1. Thanks Fran! :) Glad I could make you laugh.

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  32. I did this a few days ago with a hospital that kept sending me threatening bills about a debt I'd already settled. When I finally got through, they told me it was a problem on the local branches end and I'd have to call them. I hate phones and I super hate automated systems!

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