Here we are again – let’s see what nonsense I can provide you all with today. Being an old fart, it is rather easy to come up with something age related to talk about. Especially if you are as old as I am and give some credence to Bette Davis’s old quip: “Getting Old isn’t for Sissies!”

So, before I go any further regarding aging, I read somewhere that the most famous quote about aging is just this:

Age isn’t a number, it’s an attitude.

I try to keep a positive attitude. Perhaps my comical rants and raves assist you all in your endeavor to keep a humorous frame of mind every day. I hope so.

While it is true, now that I am older, I may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer but when conversing with others, many times I still get the point across. At least nowadays when someone asks me a question that I should know the answer to but don’t, I have a legitimate excuse for forgetting the right answer. I can finally blame my memory shortcomings on old age.

Although, over the years, we old fossils do come up with a trick or two when in a conversation with others and do not want to appear that we are “Out to Lunch” or not paying attention. How does this happen? Well, my educated guess is that there are times when our memory puts the “Out to Lunch” sign out but fail to let us know – you know, like giving us a hint indicating that “Elvis has left the building.”

How do we handle situations like that? Here is one little trick I learned regarding questions asked that we do not know the answer to but give an answer to anyways. When supplying someone with the wrong answer to a question being asked, and the person says, “What does that have to do with what I asked?” All one must do is respond with the statement “Oh, is that what you asked? I thought you asked me a different question, keeping in mind that you must then quickly make up a question that you thought they had asked so that the answer you provided would be correct. Did our memory step out to lunch without telling us? Probably not. What really happened was that we probably didn’t hear the question clearly because of one’s old age hearing.

Okay, let’s change the subject about getting older and our memory for a moment and discuss what many seniors deal with every day – “customer service”. Not any customer service department, I am referring to the talking computer that has a patronizing attitude. How many of you reading this remember the comment HAL makes in the 2001 film, A Space Odyssey?

I am putting myself to the fullest possible use, which is all I think that any conscious entity can ever hope to do.” 

Supposedly that is what today’s AI talking computer responses are about. We all know the purpose of talking computers being used by large businesses today. An educated guess on my part is that they are assisting with the cutting the cost of operations of the firm using them (talking computers) so that the higher mucky mucks can get larger bonuses. Others might say that they are designed to merely frustrate the customers calling for customer service. But mine is not to wonder why – mine is but to – what am I saying – I don’t even like that quote. Back to the talking computer voice mail.

Think about it for a minute – what does this computer do – it has a pre-recorded voice mail that apologizes for the delay because all the service representatives are busy taking other calls. It proceeds to give you a bunch of gobbly-gook tempting you to buy more of their services all the while telling you that someone will be with you shortly. And let us not forget the never-ending loop repeating the same spiel over and over and over.  After a while, in many cases, the customer hangs up or completely forgets why the call was made in the first place. Bottom line – the company is saved from having to address the problem.

Oh, and let’s not forget all the questions being asked of you when you do get through and try to discuss your problem with – are you ready for this – the computer assimilated voice, not a human being yet, that comes later. It happened recently when our WiFi went out.

Computer assimilated voice (CAV): Why are you calling?

Me: I would like to talk to a customer service representative.

CAV: I didn’t quite understand you. I think you said you wanted to speak to customer support. Is that correct?

Me: Yes

CAV: Okay, what do you need customer service for? Is it for your wireless telephone, home phone, television, or internet?

Me: WiFi

CAV: I didn’t quite catch that. I think you said you were calling about your WiFi. Is that correct?

Before I go any further, let me just say that after a while I got frazzled with the conversation and so I just kept hitting zero with the hope that I might bypass the computer assisted voice. It didn’t work. Shortly thereafter the computer assisted voice came back and being the optimistic person, I consider myself to be, I thought to myself: “This time it will be better”. I wanted so much to believe I was making progress.  And I did stay positive – positive that is until I heard the next phrase uttered by this computer assisted voice which said:

“Before I pass you to a service representative, I have just a few more questions.”

Just what I needed – “More questions!”

Finally, twenty minutes later, the next available customer service representative (a real live human being) finally came on the line and said:

“Good morning, what seems to be the problem?”

And I wonder why I feel like I am aging faster than an overripe banana.

Until next time!

6 thoughts on “Old Age & Customer Service!

  1. Years ago, when I was in college, a fellow student said something I haven’t forgotten: “I never let the question get in the way of my answer.” I’m not sure that this relates to what you write about in your essay, but it sort of does. See ya! Neil S.

  2. Some weeks ago, I had an experience with a computerised customer service operation and had to wait for quite a while and press many buttons and eventually when the the agent came on line, I asked him to press one for English, two for any other language and so on till he got pissed off with me.

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