Wednesday 1 August 2007
I have discovered the true reason for our increased stress levels: the automated phone menu. The other day I attempted to book a couple of cinema tickets using a phone booking system. It was one of the longest and most painful discussions that I ever had with a machine.
After yes-ing and no-ing, and up-ing and down-ing I finally reached the option to enter my credit card number. I punched in my number. The machine, however, was in a terrible mood. It was a "computer says no" moment from the comedy, Little Britain. Due to a technical fault - or bad humour - the machine couldn't book my ticket. Instead it placed me in the queue for a human operator.
My trouble was only starting. "You are number four in the queue" the machine said, in a tone that made it clear I wasn't going anywhere. And I waited and waited and waited. Just before I hung up, a ray of light "You are number three". I dug deep into my vast reserves of patience and held on in hope. Still number three. Minutes pass away. Then two. More waiting and finally, I'm next.
Then shock, horror: "thank you for holding, you are number three in the queue". THREE? Evidently the machine was in foul spirits. It is probably on the minimum wage or has had its pension downgraded. Nonetheless, even machines deserve a second chance, so I persevered, chanting Hindu mantras to keep my soul from imploding.
Finally, an operator, a human being, and I began my booking. All the detail again, film, time, etc. Then, just as I gave my credit card details the call was cut off (I suspect that bloody machine). My wife heard me screaming, and thrashing the furniture. Oh the pain, oh the anguish, and still no film.