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Thursday, May 15, 2008


A repair person came to my house yesterday and he wasn't crazy, judgmental or generally annoying. I was really afraid to call, because I've had bad experiences in the past. And, honestly, this time I thought it might be my fault. The internet disappeared after my housekeeper had been there and my toddler had been left alone with a sitter for several hours. The possibilities for accidental bumping (the housekeeper) and deliberate-not-visible-to-the-naked-eye destruction (toddler) were endless. But Barry (or was it Gary?) didn't make me feel judged. He made me feel like a competent human being with feelings...and a brain. Wow.

A day earlier, I called my internet service provider in a panic when I couldn't get online. Oh, how quickly we become addicted to these things... Somehow, I got stuck in an automated system that only understood voice commands. More accurately, it did not understand voice commands, but kept demanding them. I'm not inarticulate and I hadn't been drinking, so it shouldn't have been a problem. The voice command system, however, does not allow for the loud toddler who manages to yell "B'TRUCK!" at the precise moment when the system wants to hear a simple yes or no.

"I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Please answer. Yes. Or. No."

And she said it in this overly sympathetic voice, like she was pretending to feel my pain. That fake sympathy really cheapens the experience, if you ask me. But I would try, because even I know that "B'TRUCK!" is not the answer to any question regarding the internet. I hid in the closet while Baby J hurled himself at the door and steadily answered "blink. ing." to the following question,

"Please tell me. Is the ready light on your modem blinking. or. steady."

"Blink. ing."

"I'm sorry." I'm sure you are, you patronizing b*tch. "I didn't understand you. Please answer Yes. Or. No.
Is the ready light on your modem blinking. or. steady."


"I'm sorry. I didn't understand you. Please tell me. Is the ready light on your modem blinking. or. steady."

Huh? We went on like that for a while, my "yes" responses alternating with "blink. ing.", my voice becoming more hesitant and strained with each round of questioning. I just didn't feel, you know, understood. I hate that they record those conversations, or so they claim, because I eventually ended up screaming something I can't repeat here. No wonder Baby J cusses so much.

I was rewarded, though. My outburst did get me to a human being, who was very nice, even though I was a quivering mess by the time I talked to her. They must be used to it. I bet they all hate that automated lady. I bet they talk about her in the break room.

As it happens, B'Gary had to go around the corner to check some box that has something to do with our phone and internet connection. I appreciated his non-technical explanation. I can't stand when someone tries to give me a long, advanced speech about how they fixed a problem. I trust the experts. I have no intention of messing things up more by trying to fix it myself, so I don't need a fancy explanation.

"There were like a thousand things plugged into this box. One of them was unplugged. To be fair, whoever did it probably thought, 'Oops! Where does that one go?' "

But B'Gary knew. And he made me feel better when even he had trouble getting through to a human in customer service. And did I mention he wasn't crazy, judgmental, generally annoying or patronizing? And he fixed the damn thing with no drama or over-explaining. It was refreshing.

Namasté, y'all!

1 comment:

Tracee said...

Awesome! I am cracking up out loud. I totally despise those automated things! I have, for fun, tried to answer them with the biggest southern drawl I could manage (and i can manage some big ones!) and you know that it has worked on occasion? I'll have to find the list for you that gives what buttons to push to get to a human on those customer service lines. LOL!!