if you'd like to end this call, please throw your phone against the wall and yell an obscenity
Thirty minutes into a once valiant effort to speak with a human at my local cable/Internet provider, I'm pacing my kitchen this morning like a cougar.
A cougar that can speak English and enjoys the different inflections her voice takes when she uses the "f word". And then picks the bones of the unheard dead she's trying to reach from between her glinty fangs.
Twelve automated hangups (after following all directory options to the letter! make that number!) later, I'm finally in touch with someone at a local office.
"Thank you for calling, how can I direct your call?" a lady asks.
"Let me direct this to you, though you're not responsible, and I know that, I get the feeling I'm not going to get to participate in the 'end of the call' survey I've been promised many times now," I respond. "You suck. Here's my telephone number as it appears on my bill. Look me up. Then repeat what I just said back to me, and when you do, I want you to say my name, bitch."
(That last part? OK, part of it is true. A lot of it was in my head. Though I'm a huge fan of "say my name, bitch" lately...).
"So...how can I direct your call?" I'm asked again.
"Listen. My cable? It's frozen on the Cartoon Network. Mommy needs to watch "The Young and The Restless" in an hour. How are you going to make that happen?" I ask.
Silence. I love customer service.
So I try another route.
"I've now tried calling via the automated number 12 times. Twelve times, after pushing zero, as directed to speak to someone in repair, I get hung up on automatically. I find that perplexing," I say.
"Oh! That's the problem!" I hear. "Don't press anything!"
"Um. That seems odd, don't you think? The directory gives you many options. Including an option to speak to repair," I say. "Never once does it say 'Don't press anything. Just hang on the line like an idiot who doesn't know how to work a telephone, say 'hello? hello? hell-oooo?' a lot into the phone and THEN get hung up on"
(Yes, I totally did the whole multiple 'hello' thing. Cut me a break)
I ask to be reconnected to try out this bit of magic she has suggested.
And get promptly hung up on. Again. After pressing no options. By now, guess what. I'm not happy. In fact, I said something about hating this company. In different, potentially uncomfortable positions.
So I call the local number again. Same lady.
"Guess who! Heard you missed me! Gimme some suga!" - in my head. Mostly I said "Hey, yeah, great idea. Not so successful."
She seemed shocked. At the very least, she feigned it well and if that be the case, I applaud her.
"Well, I know they're busy. They're taking lots of calls," she tells me.
"I can't imagine how that is even possible," I say. "Quirky, considering you also provide phone services. But who am I to split hairs."
"What is your customer service need, ma'am?" she asks.
"I need to not watch 'Camp Lazlo' all day. I need to be able to bring up my DVR recordings of 'The World Series of Pop Culture,' 'Dirty Jobs' and 'Ice Road Truckers' immediately. I can't do anything with my remote!" I say.
"Have you tried changing the batteries in it?" she queries.
Here's the part where you're going to think "Well, duh! The woman HAD a point with that idea! Did you? Did you actually TRY to change the batteries, Miss Smarty Pants?"
And I will tell you two things. First, I freakin' love it when you call me Miss Smarty Pants (what's my name, bitch!). Second, obviously, I changed the batteries! Well you should know my need to have the house stocked with various batteries in situations such as this and others that are, actually, sometimes more pressing then the need to change the batteries in a television remote.
I assure you and I assured the lady on the phone I gave that a hearty shot.
"Oh, well, you can just come down to the office and exchange your remote! We're open until 6 p.m. tonight!" she says.
And while I'm not that convinced that that option is actually going to solve my problem, while I'm irritated no one has suggested one of the company reps I see cruising around in their service vans out here just deliver me a new remote nestled on a red satin pillow, the fact is I do need another one. Because I tossed the one I was shaking at the television and trying to make work that way against the floor. Kinda hard.
You would too if you were stuck on the Cartoon Network all day, Smarty Pants.