Wright to the Point

They do it for one reason only—to drive you crazy.

By Jonathan Wright

You can look at it every from every angle possible and exude every bit of fairness and understanding within you—but you’ll inevitably come to the same pointed conclusion as I do: they simply do it to drive you mad.

I was reminded of this very thing this past Tuesday evening when I called my cell phone provider to ask about a problem. Usually I’m on hold with them no more than five or ten minutes, but apparently due to some new billing procedures, lots of folks were calling in, and I ended up on hold for 40 minutes.

Yes, 40 minutes.

Of course, when the recorded voice told me that my wait would be in excess of 15 minutes, I put my phone on speaker and went about my business of getting ready for bed with the phone blaring nearby. No need to waste time holding a phone to my ear for who-knows-how-long.

The excessive wait was not the problem. I could understand the high volume of calls they were receiving and had sympathy for the overworked, likely underpaid tech people who were doing their best to get to everyone as soon as possible.

What quickly got to me, however, was the cute little jingle and the three promotional announcements focusing on various services of the company.

That’s fine. I don’t mind a jingle and a few commercial spots from time to time. In fact, my own brother in Florida owns a business,, offering such professional services. It’s obviously a needed commodity that people respond positively to.

However, the entire rotation of the music and announcements took no more than three minutes—only to start all over again.

And again.

And again.

Ad infinitum.

That’s a lot of repetitions within a 40-minute period.

By the time the pleasant-sounding customer service expert rescued me from this never-ending loop of verbal hysteria, I virtually had the whole spiel memorized—plus the maddening jingle.

As mentioned, the only obvious reason the company does this is to drive the customer crazy. The customer will become so exhausted by this incessant sameness that he or she, not able to take it anymore, will finally hang up in desperation and conclude that the reason for his or her call was not really that important—thus reducing the call load on the customer service reps.

Fortunately, it didn’t work with me. I hung on until the bitter end.

Pity the many other poor, less-determined cell phone customers who perished by the wayside in the meantime. They failed to get their questions answered and their problems resolved.

But it was worth it for them. By hanging up, they barely salvaged their sanity for more important ventures.

Sometimes, it seems, that’s all that matters.

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