Bear With Me While I Put You On Hold

As I was saying to a writer friend – who might be Kylie Ladd and who might never have felt the sting of rejection (oh settle down Kylie, I know the school newsletter once refused to publish your story, working title: Turtles: The Love That Dare Not Speak Its Name. But that doesn’t really count.)

Anyhoo – I said to Kylie, “What good is a blog if not a dumping ground for rejected pieces?” Because this piece was rejected by one of my usually friendly websites. They swear the rejection is completely unrelated to my own brand of awesome. But then they probably say that to everyone. Nevermind. I’ll have another piece with them one day.

But this piece was fun – and not my usual writing bag. I find I can’t usually sustain humour beyond 140 characters. That’s not saying that I’m funny on Twitter. Or even that this piece is funny. But… don’t you hate an overwrought preamble?

However, the main reasons for posting this piece are:

1. Telcos have shitted me senseless this week. So get that up ya Telco 1 and Telco 2.

2. I really feel like getting up @AnIdleDad‘s goat cos I know he misses me. And he gets all snarky when you talk about telcos, cos even though he hates his job he has to live in corporate hell in order to fund his appetite for ukes, wine and sharp knives. He also has a rockin’ wife and magic daughters who need to be kept in a manner deserving of their awesomeness.

3. I had a cool writing buddy in on this piece. It was fun (even though he made me pull out my loving copy/paste of my Twitter stream…). We deserve to be published. If you can call a blog ‘published’ (which IMO you can’t really). But we will. Just for today. ^_^

Bear With Me While I Put You On Hold

I always thought whinging about telcos was the resort of mean-spirited types who didn’t understand that everyone is just trying to do their job. Whenever I speak to someone in a far-flung call centre I put on my smiley voice and try to infuse my pesky (one-hundred-and-twenty-seventh) request for whatever-it-is-this-time with an ‘I know what it’s like to be working for the man’ empathy.

Well, f*&% empathy , this shit just got real.

Although the digikids recently talked me into signing my life away for a jabscreen,  I have resolutely held onto my old-school landline. Maybe it’s nostalgia. Or perhaps it’s the fact that I don’t really know how to get out of my telco contract. Or who I am actually contracted to. Or why ‘bundling’ everything might make sense. Or what ‘porting’ my number means.

I’m Generation X so bear with me…

A few weeks ago I had a phone call from Telco1 who wanted to know why, since I had once been happy with them, I had changed to Telco 2. I mumbled something like, “Cheaper.”

Then Telco 1 started saying something like, “Shiny, shiny, My Precious and would you like us to bundle it all, port your number over and give you as many lovely new techno devices for your house as you would like?”

I was all: Yes please. How much?

Telco 1: Oh exactly the same as you were paying before. Just a little bit more expensive. But more shiny.

Me: I don’t have to do anything, right? You can do it all from your end and just deliver the shiny things here? And it will all be good and everyone wins?”

Telco 1: Yes. Yes, that’s exactly how it will work.

Then the voice got all fine-print and disclaimer-ey and I think they said something like: Blah, blah, change your email, blah blah, Gen Y do it all the time, blah, what’s your problem, blah, blah, ringthisonenumberandcheckthatyou’renotundercontractwithTelcos2through48thismessagewrittenandauthorisedbyblahblahblah.

Me: Sure. Can I do it tomorrow?

Telco 1: Yes. You have until (unintelligible date which may have actually been some time in the past).

All was fine until last week when our landline stopped working. And then the internet died. And a then black hole opened up in our kitchen.

Actually I didn’t realise any of this – happily jabbing away as I was at my jabscreen – until my kids said, “Mum! We can’t get onto Club Penguin!”

And that’s when I entered my Telco absurdist nightmare.

Call to Telco 1

Me: Hello. I seem to have a problem with my phone.

Telco 1: Bear with me while I put you on hold…

Me: Oh.

Telco 1: Sorry to have kept you waiting (8 minutes). Ok it seems you’re changing over to us but that’s not actioning until this Friday. We can’t do anything. You need to ring Telco 2.

Call to Telco 2

Me: Hello I seem to have a problem with my phone.

Telco 2; Bear with me while I put you on hold…

Me: Ok.

Telco 2: Um, ok sorry to have kept you waiting (12 minutes). It seems that Telco 1 have actioned the changeover. We can’t do anything from this end now. It’s in their hands. By the way you might need to cancel your contract with us now that you’re with Telco 1. You owe us 95.70 for breaking your contract.

Me: Oh. Ok. Can I cancel it then?

Call to Telco 1

Me: Hi. I was speaking to someone earlier about my phone…

Telco 1: Bear with me while I put you on hold…

Me: But…

Telco 1: Sorry for keeping you waiting (18 minutes) but it seems you have cancelled your contract with Telco 2 and we can’t really action anything from this end until Friday. If you want your phone on, Telco 2 has to do it. You’ll have to cancel the cancellation.

Me: Oh. Ok.

Call to Telco 2

Me: Hi. Can I bear with you while you put me on hold? And when you feel sorry for keeping me waiting for 23 minutes can I talk to you about cancelling my contract? I need to cancel that cancellation.

Telco 2: So what you’re saying is you want to cancel the cancellation order? Because there’s only about 15 minutes left before the cancellation takes effect. If you want to cancel it I’ll have to put you through to the cancellation department. Bear with me…

I swear I’m hardly making any of this up.

And this next part I actually really didn’t make up at all.

Telco 2: Sorry for keeping you waiting (47 minutes), but we’ve checked everything and it looks as if Telco 1 has pulled your plug out. Now, I’m not talking behind anyone’s back or anything (and at this point the voice took on a decidedly teenager-ish tone) but they do this, like, ALL the time. There’s nothing we can do.

That’s when I started rocking back and forth, clutching my jabscreen.

Later that day my husband decided to deal with things. He may have used a swear word. He may have used a loud voice. He may have cried real tears.

We still have no home phone connection.

16 Comments

Filed under parenting, telcos, twitter

16 responses to “Bear With Me While I Put You On Hold

  1. Never felt the sting of rejection??? Oh, baby- 28 times last year alone (and that wasn’t even my writing).
    …. But rejecting this was nuts because it’s so funny. And true. And raised my blood pressure even higher than the 45 twitter mentions just waiting impatiently for me to reply to them any minute now. Funny, true and visceral- it’s a brilliant combination and this is a great piece. Now bear with me while I put you on hold and go RT it. xxx

  2. Oh my I feel your pain but luckily my phone is reconnected. I wouldve been screaming between the 2 telco companies and I think something may have been thrown (yep great anger management strategies I have). Only last month I had to deal with one telco company but got pinged around to 7 different ppl over various departments. Over an hour “bearing with them” phone and net disconnected and who-har over unpaid amount that I was disputing in addition to their processes. To top it off I got allocated a “case manager” ha! I didn’t know whether they were taking the piss. They were either being really helpful and personalised or they felt I was being the customer from hell and had to keep me contained. I can feel I’m getting all agitated again with the whole scenario. I’m with you here. I was ready to tell them to stick there phone line BUT I wouldve been lost without Internet. Hope it resolves quickly.

  3. Linda

    God this brought back memories. None of them good. And my blood pressure just shot through the roof.

    I think this happened to me in Hong Kong. And the reason I say ‘I think’ is that no one could talk to me about it in English.

    (Yes, I am a culturally insensitive English-speaking, imperialist… blah blah… and I don’t speak Cantonese. I am aware that expecting people to deal with me efficiently in their second language is not fair, except that their companies promise they can.)

  4. Bill Stocks

    So painfully true. Why couldn’t it just be funny? Anyway. Last episode with my telco when they said they would put me on hold to check into it, I said “No. I’ll hang up, you check into it & then call me back” at an agreed time. Then they called back & started with “I’m ringing back as agreed.” Me – “yes, so what did the supervisor say?”. Them “I’ll just put you on hold and check.” Me – “NO. I’ll hang up & you’ll do what we agreed last time. You’ll talk to the supervisor, get the answer & THEN you’ll call me back.” I find this works in as far as not being on hold for so long. Unfortunately I haven’t found a way of passing a brain and some common sense down the line.
    The simple truth is scary. These telcos know you need at least one of them and they play the odds. It doesn’t matter what they do to you because their competitors are doing exactly the same thing to their next customer. I’ll say it again. The truth is very scary. Hence my tweet – will telcos ever be banned from advertising like tobacco companies have been? You know telcos (& energy drinks) are a problem when they’ve taken all the places tobacco was advertised in the past. #justsaying

  5. AnjWrites

    Utter awesomesauce and craziness that it had to *first* be published here rather than somewhere else. That said, who cares – it contains all the best bits -humor, snark and mentions of @Kylie_Ladd and @AnIdleDad

  6. Pingback: Bear With Me While I Put You On Hold « The Notion Factory

  7. That was a brilliant post and I have no idea why they rejected it. Not that I know what this ‘rejection’ is. Every single thing I write has been eagerly snatched up by a publisher.
    Oh look! Another pig is flying past my window! Woo hoo!!!!

  8. That was painful to read… not the writing, that was fab and *I* wouldn’t reject you. It was painful because it was all too familiar, only in my case with silly doctors and their red tape.

  9. Jono Krantz

    I sure can relate to all that crazy telstra/optus crap they put you through… Sometimes i’d sit there with the phone against my ear for over half an hour thinking “surely it’s about to answer now!” each 5 mins…
    I’d love to see a “behind the scenes” doco of what really is going on at Telstra. Shouldn’t it be legal for film crews to get in and show the public what they’re actually paying for / the $ the company’s paying?

  10. I’m not going to confess to having worked for a major telco.
    For 17 years.
    I recognise everything that you’ve described.
    I can only apologise.

  11. Great post, except I was so frustrated by the end of it. Which is the point! Telco’s are just so darn annoying and tedious to deal with. I especially can’t stand being put on hold while they transfer me from one department to another to another.

    Just popping by to read/follow blogs before the AusBlogCon. There’s so many I find it hard to read them all and this way I am finally “meeting” some new ones x

  12. They suck. That is all ….

  13. You have my utmost sympathy, empathy, and other -thy that makes you feel better! The silver lining to your cloud is that 47 minutes is on the good side – I rarely get off a call to Telstra in less than an hour, much of that spent on hold :-)

  14. You had me at Telco’s. #nice bit of writing.

  15. Mike

    So relate to that – changed from Optus to Telstra in hope of better service – back to Optus – but thankfully so service calls so far,….

    Now Jetstar last week – dont get me started

    Got a txt to say flight from Newcastle was cancelled….. So rang call centre da da

    “we have a 20 minute delay @ present”

    After 30 mins got through to a lady – guess somewhere in Asia

    She put me on hold 4 times – total call time 50 mins

    Result – wait for it ,,,,,,

    Coach to Sydney for a flight 5 hours later…

    Coach took off and blew a tire half way

    Fire Brigades and RTA ,,,,, Lane closures

    Made flight in Sydney with 20 mins 2 spare

    Ahhhhhh Jetstar
    :) Hot home – 11.30 as opposed to 6.00

  16. Love this – attempting to change my mobile carrier very shortly and this is good preparation for what lies ahead. The joy.

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