Thursday, June 12, 2008

Automated Systems

I think I know why more and more people suffer from anger issues, hypertension, obesity and anxiety. I think it stems from the computerized systems that now "answer" the phone when you call a place of business. The anger is obvious, the hypertension is obvious...the obesity? Because you then must eat everything in sight to ease your anxiety and anger.
Tonight I call United Airlines to make sure I am exempt from their new policy of paying for every piece of baggage (since my ticket was purchased before that policy took effect) and the automated voice tells me that my call may be recorded for training purposes (what? they have to train computers?) yada yada yada...Then it asks me a series of a few "yes" or "no" questions which I answer carefully but then one of my children comes in yelling for me and there goes the computer. It cannot understand the response. Duh! Neither can I! So, we start over. **eyes rolling** then it wants to know my miles number. What is that? So, I say I don't know...the response? "Ok, you don't know. That's okay we can look up your reservation another way" They then ask for my reservation number and tell me to say it slowly using common names to distinguish between letters (such as "m" and "n"). So, I very carefully read my number (note: this is not my real reservation number) ZV9T8R4. I say "Z as in zooloo, V as in Violet, the number 9, T as in Tequila, the number 8, R as in Romeo and the number 4." The machine says H7TI4MN...huh??? Yeah, that's what I said... No. So, when it asks me if that's correct I say (very nicely) "NO". It says "Ok, my mistake"--really? You don't say. Now, it asks me to repeat it...I say it again and the same thing (only it comes up with an entirely different conglomeration of numbers this time)...One more I Need the TEQUILA for letter T. It's a very good thing that you cannot see these people face to face by the time you get a live person because you would very likely strangle them.
By the way, in very broken English...the person I finally reached did tell me that I'm exempt from that new policy since my ticket was purchased before May 20th--phew! I can take my suitcase (1--no more than 50 lbs and 61 linear inches) and my carseat is a freebee too. Anyone else wish that it was like the old days when some gum smacking receptionist answered the phone in a nasal voice and you could ask for the department or information you needed?

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