Monday, January 24, 2011

Hold That Thought

I spent a blissful 45 minutes on hold tonight. Wait, did I say blissful? I meant Excruciating. It was the worst kind of hold music, too. That tune-less, high-pitched orchestra song that just goes on and on and on and on, with brief periods of interruptions from the "helpful" automated woman, encouraging me to stay on the line as my turn would come just as soon as the next operator becomes available. She may as well have said "Yup, you're still on hold. I don't feel your pain because I am but a computer and lack human emotion." I'd rather she mind her own business and let me enjoy the horrible, yet consistent music.

I'm definitely preferable to having a countdown when I'm on hold. You know, the "Thank you for holding," - oh, well you're quite welcome - "There are..." pause for even more robotic voice - "seven.teen. Callers in front of you." I like that a lot, because I look forward to hearing that strange woman. She comes on and it's like playing the lottery. I'm all "ohmygod ohmygod ohmygod! Am I close? Am I close!?!" It's just a much better use of my time on the phone. Then there's the rare time when you'll go from like the 17th person on hold to the 12th in one period. It's times like that when I pity the poor folks who couldn't hack the hold. That, or they just had a wicked quick question, and if that was the case I would guess they asked the kind of question that could have been easily answered online. Either way, they are schmucks and I reap the rewards.

You know what I'd like to hear when I'm on hold? Other people's calls. One, it'd make you think twice about calling with something stupid or personal which, okay, could be a bad thing arguably. But think of all the juicy personal problems of other people you'd be privy to! Awesome, and possibly super hilarious. I would love to hear the ONE call, to like Comcast, from the person who DOESN'T have the power turned on on their TV. "Oh, I have to turn it on? Okay! Yup, that seems to have done the trick. Thanks!" Dummy. And two, who knows how many people on hold have the same question I have? If I were #214 in line on hold, I'd be willing to bet a nice chunk of change that the person at #3 has a similar, if not the exact same, question as me. See? Everyone's a winner.

Okay, I get the theory behind hold music, though. It lets me know my call is still connected, keeps me paying attention by every once in awhile playing an awesome instrumental version of "Rich Girl", and it calms me down usually. I hate being on hold, but that darn cathartic flute solo eases my frazzled nerves every time. So, yeah. I get while we all have to suffer through it. It, much like PMS, is a necessary evil.

But aren't we far enough along technologically that Hold Music is simply archaic? I don't think I've even used my phone to talk on it for like weeks. And yet, when I finally do make a call, it's like calling 1988. "Where we're going we don't NEED roads." Yes, that was a Back to the Future reference. Love it. We're all used to instant information, you know? So hold music is just, well it's just DUMB. I can't even believe I'm writing about it. It just totally caught me off guard. I was on hold for SO long, and the music was SO bad I just couldn't wrap my head around it. I wish I had the capability to video phone customer service places, and then instead of hold music, they'd have like Hold Movies. Or Hold Family Guy Episodes. That would, well, that would just be tops.

Geez, even WRITING about Hold Music has calmed my nerves a little bit. I went from stressed and worried to mind-numbingly bored. I guess we'll call it cheap therapy for now. A quick fix for a broke nutjob. I suggest next time you find yourself traveling back in time and waiting on hold, you try and enjoy the forced slow down. It's like watching Sixteen Candles on VHS. Not ideal, but a good way to slow down and enjoy some Spandau Ballet.

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