I've spent a lot more of the week in the office than I'd like, and a good part of Sunday on hold with various customer service reps, including a rep for the same company with whom I spent a good bit of last Sunday on hold. So it's made me a little peevish, and made me a connoisseur of the "on hold" music they play for you while you wait.
I wish I were big enough, this Sunday, not to be annoyed by the new generation of on-hold recordings, which for some reason feel that you should not be allowed to tune out the Muzak and go about whatever errands you can with the phone pressed to your ear, but should instead be interrupted every ninety seconds by a recorded assurance that they will be with you soon. The effect, of course, is to make the caller think, for a second, that he or she has reached a live operator, as the music cuts out and the infinitesimal pause of expectation follows it. Which means, gallingly, that you are once more forced to pay attention to the nothing happening over the phone, rather than allowing your mind to wander more profitably. It gets me every time. I clearly have a conditioned reflex to read that little hiccup in the music as the advent of a human voice. And this seems to be deliberate: some marketing wizard has decided that things go better for them if the caller's mind is not allowed to wander. It's a small complaint, but I'm peevish today, and it seems a bit uncharitable coming from companies who have generally gotten my attention by not quite providing the services they've sold me.
The company with which I was on hold for a second Sunday in a row has actually refined the snap-the-reader-to-attention trick by prefacing the recorded voice with noise like someone fumbling with a phone. That's right, they have recorded the sound of someone picking up a phone from its cradle to begin their recorded message. That's commitment, baby.
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