Wednesday, June 15, 2011
The toll-free number on the instruction guide was dialed to rectify a problem that either I or my “labor saving” device was experiencing. I could feel my knees weaken as I sank to the floor and assume the profile of one who is praying.
“ Please God don’t make me be forced to calculate numbers, may I speak to a human and may I understand what that human is saying.”
Apparently this split-second request was slow in arriving as once again I was subjected to a virtual bouquet of numbers. After being greeted by a cute sounding woman, who was actually just another computer, the statement was made that they had just redesigned their menu so I would need to listen closely.
(I immediately thought how lucky I was to have purchased an item from such an innovative company, as that was a phrase totally new to my ears.)
That statement was followed by the question that if I needed to hear the message in English, I should press 1. (Hey wait a minute!! This is America and over a million Americans have sacrificed their lives just so that I could speak English freely in America. But, that is another debatable subject.)
The operator further stated that if I knew the extension of a person, to dial it immediately. Now, I ask you, how is it possible to know the extension of someone when you don’t even know their name? Nonetheless, “she” forged ahead with another statement that for customer service the caller should press #1 -- and the numbers went on.
Finally, we arrived at #6, which I was to press for technical assistance and the opportunity to speak with a consultant. My enthusiasm was slightly increased as I pressed 6, but this ascension hit the proverbial brick wall when the technical consultant uttered her first words.
Now, I have not been granted a license to ridicule the ethnic origin of another, except when it comes time to seek technical assistance. But, since we’re attacking another’s deficiency, mine is a strong inability to understand those who have graduated at the top of their class in voice instructions.
In other words, I have difficulty understanding clear English.
Nevertheless, regressing to the consultant, her first words to me were, “Sahib, could I have your telephone number beginning with your code.” Right then I knew I should hang up, because the remaining time spent would be a waste.
After adjusting to being addressed as master (I am pretty sure that’s what sahib means in English, but on the other hand, it could be a very derogatory way of addressing a person in India), we proceeded to attempt a rectification of the problem.
Following her directions, with only 11 “Excuse me’s,” 21 “I beg your pardon’s,” 16 “Would you please repeat’s” and a few “Uh’s” thrown in for good measure, we managed to place the widget where it was supposed to be. Much to my surprise the device resumed its normal function.
My faith in God and technical service had been restored.
Shortly I resumed my function, with the device performing as it was intended. I was smiling, waving at the neighbors and completing the work, when suddenly the device stopped. As hard as I tried to re-start by repositioning the widget, the more tenacious the machine was not to start.
Upon my utterance of a few choice words and the continued failure of the labor-saving device, I was painfully aware that there remained only one option opened to me. And that was, to once more endure the 1-2-3’s.
Posted by Bob Cornell