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I need a living, breathing person on the line

POSTED: August 14, 2013 4:00 a.m.

I had lost it. Like really, really, lost it. I was about to unleash the locusts. It was Saturday night and I could feel my blood boiling in my veins.

And all because I was trying to get a real live person on the other end of the phone.

My Internet connection kept dropping - not an ideal situation for me, seeing as I was trying to finish an annotated bibliography for a class.

Being the procrastinator master that I am, I had put this torture laden process off until the absolute last minute. I should have known that Sudie's Law of Technological Malfunctions would mean the dingdang wireless connection would decide to take a hiatus at that very moment.

I called my provider and got that dreaded automated phone system. You know the one I am talking about - it's that robo-woman with the voice that I guess is supposed to be considered soothing. She infuriates me and gets my Irish up to the point I scare the dogs.

Her annoying voice asks me what I need to do. I press three for tech support.

"To better serve you, tell me what you are calling about," she says, like she is going to understand what I have to say.

I say "wireless Internet connection." Just as plain as day. Didn't stutter, didn't mumble. I enunciated each syllable. Don't tell me it's because of my Southern twang they can't understand me. These aggravating little roboticized nincompoops can understand accents far heavier than mine.

"I'm sorry, I didn't get that. Did you say you'd like to ride an elephant?"

I took a deep breath and spoke louder. "Wireless. Internet. Connection."

"I believe you said you would like mime the alphabet. Is that correct?"

I felt my scream building in my throat. Cole scatters with the dogs to the bedroom, calling like Paul Revere, "She's about to blow! She's on the phone and she's about to blow!"

I was past the point of erupting. All I wanted was to talk to a real, live human being. Not some stupid machine that corporations erroneously thought would replace the interaction of a breathing person to better expedite the process.

Whoever thought a computer could offer better customer service than a person definitely had their head stuck somewhere dark and dank.

Finally - a man came on, named Matthew. And even though Matthew had a good old Midwest accent, he had no problem understanding my shrill complaint.

"I completely understand your frustration, Ms. Crouch," he emphasized. "I would be upset too. Let me look into the problem and see if I can't remedy it for you, I will get you to someone who can."

"Will it be a real person?" I asked.

"Yes, ma'am," he assured me. "It will be a real person and we will try our best to get this resolved tonight."

Suddenly, my temper subsided. My blood pressure started creeping back to its normal level. All because I finally had heard a human voice, assuring me that this problem would be taken care of.

I was on the phone with Matthew for a few more minutes, then transferred to Byron.

Byron was just as nice and as concerned about getting my problem fixed as Matthew was.

Something robo-demon was not.

"Is there anything else I can help you with tonight, Ms. Crouch?" Byron asked as ended the call.

"Can you get rid of that annoying automated woman that is on every 800 number in the world?" I asked.

I knew he couldn't but it didn't hurt to ask.

I know for the most part, technology has made our lives a lot easier. But no matter how far we've come or what we create, we still can't replace a good old living, breathing empathizing human being.

Sudie Crouch is an award winning humor columnist and author of "The Dahlman Files: A Tony Dahlman Paranormal Mystery."

 

 

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