Pain induced nostalgia…..?

March 8, 2013

whatever happened to elevator music?….

I had occasion to spend some time on my oral communication device this afternoon when my array of more socially correct technolaria (I just made that word up) let me down. I actually do enjoy my computer, even though it is an archaic Desktop model of borderline Pre-Columbian character. It usually works just fine, and when it doesn’t I can usually fix it myself without exhausting my repertoire of invective. When I can’t fix it anymore, I still have a box of .357 reloads looking for something fun to do on a Saturday afternoon.

But that’s not why I spent the better part of an hour today sitting at my desk, holding the telephone, and staring at the ceiling, while listening to strains of Fingernails on the Blackboard in e-minor played by Coprocephalic.

I had ordered something on line, and there was an error in the process resulting in my account being charged three times what I had intended to spend. In “Real Life”, such screw ups are easily resolved in a matter of minutes by leaning across a desk and chewing on someone’s eyeball. But with internet commerce, there are no desks and no eyeballs. There are multiple choice menus of FAQ topics which invariably fail to list one’s exact problem and send one on a continuous loop to nowhere. When I was a kid, rides at the amusement park that went around and around made me sick. The still do. The alternative is to use a telephone, if one is fortunate enough to be able to find a number to call. I was and I did.

Hence, my diatribe of the day. I spent the better part of an hour on the phone getting the issue resolved, most of that time having been used up pressing various numbers to continue my journey connecting the dots, and pressing one to continue in English at each stop.

I have a question. Why, when you opt to continue in English, do they connect you to someone who doesn’t speak it?

To make my torture complete, when I wasn’t pressing numbers, I was entertained with “music”. I think I spent fifteen minutes of the entire hour engaged in conversation with a collection of four different people, one of whom actually spoke English clearly and pleasantly.

I have another question. Who in the hell selects the music they play while customers are on hold? I’m hard of hearing, and whatever it was, it was so loud I had to hold the phone at arm’s length to avoid serious injury. It was also the absolute opposite of what one might select to relax someone, put them at ease, and facilitate a successful customer service interaction. This stuff was loud. It was disturbing. I don’t mean I just didn’t like it, although I didn’t; I mean it was atonal and sounded like it had been composed as a sound track for some grade-D slasher flick. It had the very real neurochemical impact of putting me into an adrenalin rich fight or flight state reminiscent of the one I experienced twenty five years or so ago when I ended up hanging upside down from my seatbelt in the middle of a cornfield one snowy night.

Whatever happened to elevator music?


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