Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Paper Routes and Push Button Phone Systems

According to the Houston Chronicle automated telephone system, I had "difficulty receiving my newspaper" this morning.
I had no difficulty what so ever.

The person that runs the route in my neighborhood obviously encountered some problems…apparently, selective attention deficit disorder, since both neighbors on either side of me received their papers.
Not me.

When you call the Chronicle, you never speak to a live person at this hour of the morning. It’s always an automated system.
The message says all their operators are busy attending to other callers’ problems.
That may be.
I doubt it, however, at 5:00 in the morning.

One of two things is happening: thousands of other irate subscribers, are also missing their copies of today’s fish wrap, and have jammed the lines…or, no one is there at this hour, hence the automatronic receptionist.

Dealing with automated phone systems is an adventure in technology and an exercise in patience:

Press 1 for English; para numero dos por Espaniol.
Why stop there?

Press three for Vietmanese and former Mayors who are grammatically challenged ; press four for all other Asian dialects.

Press five for French or Cajun, or if you’re still living here post-Katrina.
Mash six for ebonics.
Press seven gently if you’re calling while under the influence of steroids.

Press eight if you’re calling from a touch tone phone, sitting on the tarmac in an idling jet airliner. Press nine if your flight just landed in a body of water, and you would like to temporarily suspend home delivery of your newspaper.
Press zero for an operator…but don’t hold your breath.

In fairness, the Chronicle is pretty good about getting replacement copies of today’s edition out to its subscribers, once the company has been notified of the missed delivery.
Unfortunately for me, I won’t actually get to enjoy the tactile experience of reading my newspaper until this evening, when the stories on the page have long grown stale.

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