Pushing my buttons

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 February, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 February, 2009, 12:00am

'If you want to listen to us plug our products, press one. If you want more useless information, press two. If you want to raise your blood pressure to lethal levels, press three.' Of all the misnomers used today, 'customer service hotline' takes the biscuit.

You've turned the cable television decoder off and on and checked the wiring - but to no avail. You have a number to call for help. You dial ... and so it begins.

After an eternity of 'hold music' the call is answered, by a machine. After the message offering you stuff you don't want, you listen carefully for the 'press button X to talk to someone who can actually help' message. But no. You get, 'please input your 21-digit service holder account number'. A furious rummage through a pile of scrap paper turns up a potential winner.

You grab the phone to hear, 'Thank you for calling, goodbye.'

You redial. Input your number. 'Sorry, the number you have entered is incorrect, please re-enter.' You do. 'Sorry, you have not entered a valid number, goodbye.'

After screaming and repeating the steps numerous times, you finally hear the magic words, 'An agent will be with you shortly. While you wait, listen to this shameless plug.'

'What's the problem?' asks a human voice 10 minutes later.

'My decoder's broken.'

'OK, we'll send someone around tomorrow at 2pm.'

'Thank you.'

Cable companies, you are in the business of communication; why don't you have a 'press one to send someone around at 2pm with a new decoder' option?