Oh for crying out loud & Me
Posted January 19, 2010on:
So a standup comedian walks up to the microphone and says, “Stop me if you’ve heard this before.”
There’s a pause, and then she says, ‘“Your call is important to me.”’
The audience erupts with laughter at the idea of any call being important to any business that tells you that, whether it is a financial institution, insurance company or cable company.
After hearing that, you go through a “menu” to make choices after being advised to “listen carefully because our menu has changed.”
One friend told me at one company, she was given a menu with 20 options. She knew she couldn’t keep them straight.
Sometimes when you get to a menu like this, you can push zero on your phone to bypass the automation to serve us better and get to an actual person. Sometimes, saying “agent” or “representative” works.
But these companies who care so deeply about our calls, have rearranged their menu so you can’t get to a human directly. (Of course when you do, it may not be a person with any power.)
I’ve been in menu hell. I’ve listen to the choices, picked the one that sounds like what I need, only to be returned to the beginning of the menu. Or. after waiting an ungodly amount of time, I’ve been cut off without reaching anyone.
I especially don’t like it when the recorded message pretends to be a person. “Hi, this is Mindy. I see you’re having problems. Let me try a few things and maybe I can correct the problem.”
I’ve been known to yell at Mindy, or whatever her name is with the cable company. I have been known to use foul language – lots of it when I reach the frustration point. I apologize to Mindy. Errors were made.
The funniest story of all comes from a friend of mine who was trying to withdraw money from her retirement account. She had gone through multiple steps in phone menu hell, where it kept telling her to key in her password. “I had one on line but I wanted to talk to someone. It just went round and round and round,” my friend said.
She decided to go to password help and at that menu site, the electronic voice urged her to pick a password. “Oh for crying out loud,” she said in exasperation.
What did she hear next? The mechanical voice said, “Your password is “Oh for crying out loud.”
“I was laughing so hard I had to hang up,” my friend said. “My husband was in the living room and I didn’t realize he was hearing this. He came into the kitchen and said, “You sound just like your mother.”
When my friend called back and was asked for her password, she dutifully supplied it: “Oh, for crying out loud.” It worked.
For the record, this friend no longer has her money with that company. Also, as I wrote this blog entry, I was on hold for my insurance company still trying to get the approval for radiation simulation and treatment.
Simulation is two days away and no, I can’t go ahead until I get what’s called a “gap exception” from the insurance company.
It will allow me to have my treatment with the Mayo Clinic doctors who are down the hall in the very same cancer center where I received chemotherapy. The medical oncologists are employed by Franciscan Skemp, which is a part of the Mayo Health System and is in network.
The radiation oncology staff is permanently in La Crosse at Franciscan Skemp but employed by Mayo Rochester. I need a gap exception to allow the Mayo doctors to be considered as “in network.” I can’t go across town to Gundersen Lutheran, either. If I don’t get this approval, my plan calls for me to go to Eau Claire or Appleton, driving two to four hours each way, five days a week for six to seven weeks.
Even if you have insurance, there are no guarantees. However, I was hoping the CEO of this insurance company might spare some of the $1.8 billion he’s received in compensation over the last eight years so I can have my treatment. Heck, maybe he’ll be generous enough to allow radiation therapy for more than me.
In the words of that famous password, “Oh for crying out loud.”