I know we are all busy and on the go. Most of us are multi-taskers, even though we know better. This is where mistakes happen, like putting the butter in the trash and the plastic bag with the dirty diaper in it in the fridge. (Not that it can happen).
When we have to complete a task, for example, check the fiber optic account or call the technical support at the computer store, it is not a big deal at all to be put on hold because we could all stand still for a minute and think or contemplate or compose a thank you note or make a list or play mahjong on the computer.
We know that they, the people on the other line, are also busy, so that doesn’t bother us at all. Really, we can just put the phone on speakerphone and go about our business as long as the receiver is in the ear.
So when the computer-generated voice told me my rank in the queue and told me that my wait time was around 45 minutes (no exaggeration), I thought I’d take advantage of this. chained to a locked phone and working on my computer. In fact, I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to work on my column for this month, which I had planned to write on my granddaughter’s second birthday.
I wrote this sentence three times: Mary Jane started her birthday in tears.
I say. What a hook! Why was she crying? What happened? How did the day end?
But all I could think of was the most irritating, cringe-inducing jingle that came out of my phone. I turned my phone to the lowest possible volume, but I needed to be able to hear a human voice in case anyone had any intention of answering on the other end of the line. So, against my will, I was forced to endure the most boring form of music ever – over and over and over again.
According to Time magazine, “elevator music, with an easy-listening melody that can repeat endlessly, invokes a sense of dread in many of us.” Well yes. And that’s an understatement.
This easy eavesdropping thing really infuriates me. Not only did someone randomly decide on the best music for each client, but this person/committee/institution somehow determined that each person should listen to said best music.
Someone actually made an unwritten law (or maybe it’s actually written and notarized) that no one is allowed to be put on hold on the phone without being subjected to tasteless, infuriating music. What? We have nothing else to do while we wait for dodgy customer service to pick up the phone?
By the time the customer service rep actually picks up the phone (I know, big guess), I can’t remember my question.
I know that about me, so I took notes. “Mary Jane started her birthday in tears,” I said.
“Please wait. I will connect you to this department,” the voice said.
* * *
Ferris Robinson is the author of three children’s books, ‘The Queen Who Banished the Bugs’, ‘The Queen Who Accidentally Banished the Birds’ and ‘Call Me Arthropod’ in his pollinator series ‘If Bugs Are Banished’ . “Making Arrangements” is her first novel. “Dogs and Love – Stories of Fidelity” is a collection of true stories about man’s best friend. His website is ferrisrobinson.com and you can download a free pollinator poster there. She is the editor of The Lookout Mountain Mirror and The Signal Mountain Mirror.