I cannot possibly be the only person in the world  who hates those automated answering devices.

All I wanted to do was change the data plan on one of my phone lines.  A quick,

“Cancel the data plan on 214-333-3333, please,” would have sufficed, but oh no!  The world of getting rid of human bodies made sure of that.

First off I am greeted by a woman with a honeyed voice who asks me if I want to hear all she has to say in English or Spanish?  I choose English, haha, and remember that a lot of companies now have English as the default language…hey, hey, hey!

Then I’m asked to choose the reason I’m calling by saying one of the following phrases.

“Add a line, billing, balance, change of address, customer service or just say anything,”  right, like my English accent is going to help things along here, they may as well have added, ‘water’ to the list, just for laughs!!

“Data plan.” I say, loudly and clearly, and I am connected to billing and told I have a zero balance.

Yipee, I know I pay my bill on time.

“Do you want to make another  payment.”  I ignore her and find I am being looped back to the main menu to start again.  My husband is telling me just say “Customer Service,” which I do.

To which the machine replies,

“I’m sorry I can’t understand you, did you say add a line?  Just speak ‘yes’ or ‘no’.’”

I speak “No,” firmly, knowing my accent is against me.  Then I say, “customer service” more slowly and more loudly, the machine is deaf and dumb!

“Say the last four digits of your social security number,”  I have to ask hubby for his because he’s the main account holder.

“8…” I say, the recording is still talking and stops when I speak, so I continue, “…306, to which the clever little number says,

“You said, 3068, is this correct?  Just say ‘yes, or ‘no’.”  I again say “no.”

“Say the last four digits of your social security number, ”  I have to ask again and this time I wait and Mrs. automated person comes on and says,

“Let me transfer you to a customer service representative.”  So I wait and hear the familiar sound of a phone being hung up and a dial tone in my ear.  Unmistakably a hang.  I’ve been hung up by an automated machine!

I take a deep breath and dial again, choose English, although I’m thinking I may do better in Spanish, and  say,

“Customer Service,”

Miraculously I arrive and am greeted with,

“I need your phone number, you can either speak it or key it in on your keypad.”

I speak it and then someone is on the line.

“Good afternoon,” says this marvellously alive, human, person in India, “how can I help you today?”  Dangerous question with me.

“To start with you can tell me how to bypss your automated answering service with complicated menus so that I can just dial a numer and talk to a warm body.  I am sure I cannot be the only person in the world who does not get along with automated telephone conversations.”

“Oh,” she says, giggling in that Bollywood way, “most of our customers actually find it quicker, Ma’am.”

I’d been on the phone ten minutes and was no closer to getting my data line cancelled.

“What else can I do for you Ma’am?”  as if she was going to get off the phone.

“You can cancel the data plan on this number, 214-333-3333,” I said.  My voice was getting edgy, in a reluctant sort of way.

“Well, ma’am, I’m showing you don’t have a data plan on this number,”

“You’re right.”  I say, “but we do have one on one of the other lines…”

She pitches the data plan to which I turn a deaf ear, and when she has finished I insist on the cancellation.  Another five minutes and I’m finished and she assured me she would send me a text  confirming the transaction.

Come to think of it, they haven’t yet…

Where’s my phone?  Inward groan!

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