Thursday, December 19, 2013

"If you have small children, please press ONE." By Hilary

I want to make a wager that whoever designed those phone systems where you have to speak your entires did NOT have small children.
Sometimes you just want need to talk to a human. Who's with me, here?
So the other day, I had to pay a bill by phone. The garbage collection bill.
I had just picked my boys (5 and 7) up from school. When we got home, I fed them snacks, gave them drinks, and then they disappeared for 30 minutes to play pirates downstairs. Didn't talk to me once while I played with my daughter (2) and folded some laundry.
The pirates came back upstairs with space guns and light sabers.
I suddenly remembered I had to pay the garbage bill.
I let the boys choose a show to watch, and told them I'd be right back, I just had to make a quick phone call to pay a bill.
I went into the dining room where I had the bill.
I called The Garbage Company.
The Garbage Company: "Thank you for calling The Garbage Company. If you'd like to continue in English, please press or say ONE."
My 5-year-old: "MOMMY! Could you please get me some milk."
Me: "One."
My 5-year-old: "MOMMY!"
The Garbage Company: "I'm sorry. I did not understand your entry. If you'd like to continue in English, please press or say ONE."
My 5-year-old: "MOMMY!"
Me, loudly, "ONE."
Me, whispering, "Hold on! I'll be right there! I need you to be quiet because I'm trying to talk to this phone thingy."
My 5-year-old, who has come into the dining room: "BUT CAN'T YOU JUST GET ME SOME MILK?"
I hold up a finger: one minute.
The Garbage Company: "Thank you. If you have a question about your service, please press or say ONE. To pay your bill, please press or say TWO."
Me, taking the phone away from my ear to PRESS two...
My 5-year-old: "BUT CAN'T YOU JUST GET ME SOME MILK?"
The Garbage Company: "I'm sorry, I did not understand your selection. If you have a question about your service..."
Me, quickly pressing two.
The Garbage Company: "Thank you. Please say or enter your 10-digit account number. Or, if you don't have your account number, please say or enter your 26-digit EZ Pay ID."
(Yes, the "EZ Pay ID" is really more than twice as long as the account number.)
I begin to enter it manually, but before I can push a button ...
My 7-year-old: "I have to poop. Do you know where my Star Wars book is?"
Me, whispering: "I don't know where it is. Just grab a different book."
The Garbage Company: "I'm sorry, that is not a valid entry. Please say or enter your 10-digit account number. Or, if you don't have your account number, please say or enter your 26-digit EZ Pay ID."
My 7-year-old: "But I really have to poop and I need my Star Wars book. Why are you whispering?"
I am now furiously typing in my 10-digit account number.
The Garbage Company: "Thank you. Please say or enter your ZIP Code."
My 7-year-old: "Why are you whispering? Hurry, I have to poop. Have you seen my Star Wars book?"
Me, whispering: "No! Go check in the book case."
The Garbage Company: "I'm sorry. I did not understand your entry. Please say or enter your ZIP Code."
My 5-year-old: "MOMMY! I need MILK!"
My 2-year-old: "Milk! Milk! Milk! Milk!"
The Garbage Company: "Please say or enter your ZIP Code."
I furiously type it in, while locking myself in the relative silence of the bathroom.
The Garbage Company: "I'm sorry. Your entries do not match our records. Please say or enter your 10-digit account number or 26-digit EZ Pay ID."
Me: "I'd like to speak to a human."
The Garbage Company: "I understand you would like to speak with a customer service representative. In order to best serve you, please say or enter your 10-digit account number or 26-digit EZ Pay ID."
My 5-year-old, through the bathroom door: "MOM! I'm THIRSTY!"
My 2-year-old banging on the door.
I speak the account number, loudly.
The Garbage Company: "Thank you. Please hold for the next available representative."
Ahhh. Finally.
I open the bathroom door, and say to my 2 youngest children: "I will get you milk in just a minute, I'm almost done."
The Garbage Company: "I'm sorry. I did not understand your entry. I'll reroute you to the main menu."
Just kidding.
The customer service girl came on the phone and said, "Can I help you?"
Me: "I certainly hope so. I'd like to pay my bill."
My 7-year-old: "Mom! I really have to poop and I can't find my Star Wars book."
The Garbage Girl: "No problem. Can I have your 10-digit account number?"
Me: "Sure. I'm not sure why your system isn't finding my account though."
The Garbage Girl: "Oh, it's not you. Our phone system isn't working."

After that 30-minute conversation (which should, by all rights, have taken me 5 minutes), I came to a conclusion. These phone systems should have an option, first thing: "If you have small children please press ONE. Right. Now."  





1 comment:

Megan Yakovich said...

Amen, sister!! A big thumbs-down to the automated phone systems!

Love this blog - thanks to both ladies for the laughs.

Looking forward to your posts!

(Mom of three girls: 4, 6 and 9)