I’m on the phone. I’ve been on hold all morning since my blog’s website quit working. I called customer service. Ever since then, I’ve been listening to hold music, “The Piña Colada Song” by Rupert Holmes. I do not like this song.

I am desperately waiting for the sound of a human voice so I can finally…

—MUSIC STOPS—

RECORDED VOICE: Thank you. Your call is important to us, please continue to hold while you wait for a representative. Your approximate wait time is: Six hundred minutes.

—“THE PIÑA COLADA SONG,” RUPERT HOLMES—

TECH SUPPORT: Hi, thanks for calling your web service provider, this is Bill, what seems to be the problem?

ME: My website is not working.

TECH: Who am I speaking with, please?

ME: My name is Sean. My website is broken.

TECH: Okay, thanks, Wayne. And what seems to be the problem today?

ME: My website went down, I can’t access it, it’s a blank page.

TECH: Excellent. First I’m gonna need to verify your Social Security number, your zip-code, and I’ll need a quick blood sample, please. And who am I speaking with, please?

ME: I just told you.

TECH: Fantastic. And why don’t you tell me what your reason for calling is.

ME: I told you three times.

TECH: Super. My professional advice is, if you wanna take care of this issue, you ought to buy the Silver Package. That’ll clear this whole mess up.

ME: Fine, let’s do it.

TECH: Hold please.

—“HOW DEEP IS YOUR LOVE,” BEE GEES—

TECH: Hi, sorry about the wait, Phillip, I had to use the little boys room. Now, what seems to be the problem today?

ME: My name’s not Phillip, it’s Sean. I already told you the problem.

TECH: Hold please.

—“LOVE WILL KEEP US TOGETHER,” CAPTAIN AND TENNILLE—

TECH: Okay, thank you for your continued patience, Sigmund, we’re hard at work, and we want to thank you for being a valued customer, it looks like we can save you a lotta money if you will upgrade to the Premium Package.

ME: But I just bought the Silver Package.

TECH: The Silver Package is for chumps.

ME: Fine, charge my card.

TECH: Hold please.

—“RAINDROPS KEEP FALLING ON MY HEAD,” B.J. THOMAS—

TECH: Thanks for holding, Mister Rodrìguez. Hey, did you know that your website is down?

ME: Yes, I just told you that.

TECH: Splendid. Let’s see what we can do.

—KEYBOARD TYPING—

TECH: Well, to be honest with you, I was just crunching some numbers, Mister Bjornstäd, and it looks like I can save you a ton of money if you upgrade to the Gold Package.

ME: I don’t want to keep buying packages, I want my website fixed.

TECH: The Gold Package is definitely the way to go.

ME: But, I just bought the Premium Package.

TECH: That was a stupid move on your part.

ME: Fine, gimme the Gold Package, now can we fix my website? Please?

TECH: Absolutely sir.

—MORE TYPING—

TECH: Hmmm, Mister Preobrazhentsky, I think I see the problem.

ME: Thank God. What is it?

TECH: It looks like your website is not working.

ME: That’s what I’ve been SAYING.

TECH: Magnificent. Listen, I wanna thank you for calling today, take care of yourself, and have a great morning.

ME: Wait! Don’t hang up, I want my site fixed.

TECH: Fixed?

ME: Fixed.

TECH: Fixed?

ME: Yes.

TECH: Hold please.

ME: No, plea—

—“WHAT’S NEW PUSSYCAT,” TOM JONES—

FEMALE OPERATOR: Thank you for calling your web provider, how can I direct your call, please?

ME: I’m trying to get my website fixed, but they transferred me to you.

OPERATOR: Fixed?

ME: Yes.

OPERATOR: I’m just an operator, sir.

ME: Tech support just sent me to you.

OPERATOR: But, I’m in Winnipeg.

ME: Can’t you help me?

—MORE TYPING—

OPERATOR: Whoa, I see the problem right here.

ME: Oh, good.

OPERATOR: Yep, it says that we can save you some money if you upgrade to the Platinum Package, would you like to upgrade, Mister Čhernyshevský?

ME: But, I just bought the Gold Package.

OPERATOR: Only idiots buy the Gold Package.

ME: Ma’am, I don’t want to BUY anything, I just want my website running, is there anything you can do?

OPERATOR: Hold please.

—“KNOCK THREE TIMES,” TONY ORLANDO—

SAME TECH GUY FROM BEFORE: Hello, and thank you for calling tech support, who am I speaking with?

ME: It’s me again.

TECH: I’m gonna need to verify your Social Security number, height, weight, religious preference, and I’ll need the blood sacrifice of a small goat, please.

ME: Look, I just want my website fixed.

TECH: Outstanding. I have good news then.

ME: You do?

TECH: Yep, it looks like we can save you a shipload of money if you upgrade to the Lifetime Member Package.

ME: Fine, FINE, I’ll buy it. I’ll buy whatever you want, just fix my site.

TECH: Okay, great. I’ll transfer you to my supervisor.

—“BRIDGE OVER TROUBLED WATER,” SIMON AND GARFUNKEL—

RECORDED VOICE: Thank you for holding, your call is important to us, please remain on the line for a representative. Your approximate wait time is: Seven hundred years.

—“THE PIÑA COLADA SONG,” RUPERT HOLMES—

This song is kinda growing on me.

44 comments

  1. Sherry E Ware - August 7, 2019 4:39 pm

    Thanks, Steve … I just caught myself singing “Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head!”

    Love your column! Keeps me laughing. And crying. And laughing.

    Reply
  2. Jan - August 7, 2019 4:43 pm

    Sorry your website has been giving you problems. So glad to hear from you though … I was getting worried!!!

    Reply
  3. Linda Moon - August 7, 2019 4:44 pm

    I think you finally found your HALLELUJAH! Us Emailers (not Facebookers) are happy, too!

    Reply
  4. charliestsimons - August 7, 2019 4:48 pm

    At least you got to write about something new. That ought to satisfy that other yahoo that was bitchin’ and moanin’! You just keep on keepin’ on and don’t fly on any old clunker airplanes! Love, Santa Claus

    Reply
  5. Frederick S Crown Jr - August 7, 2019 4:49 pm

    So true. It reminds me of the time our electricity went out at our very rural Alabama cabin. We were on a different transformer than our closest neighbors and they still had power. So I called the unnamed provider. Here is how it went:

    Hello, thanks for calling xxxx, how can I help you?

    Me: Our power went off. We are located at xxxx

    Rep: OK, I am going to need the number on your meter.

    Me: OK, I am on my cellphone so let me walk out there and get that….Uh, there are 6 numbers on the meter. Which one do you need?

    Rep: The six digit one.

    Me: There are 2 six digit numbers.

    Rep: Give me the first one listed

    Me. 123456

    Rep: That’s not the right number, give me the other one.

    Me: 654321

    Rep: OK, let me see what it looks like on your account. Now he is typing as I can hear the tap, tap, tap. Uh, sir, we don’t have an account with that number.

    Me: Well, I have power with you are you sure you don’t see my account?

    Rep: Tap, tap, tap, Uh, no sir, no account.

    Me: Look, I have an account and the power is off. What do you need to find the account?

    Rep: Hold on. . .. Hey Joe (yelling in background) see if you can find this account 654321

    Joe in background: Yep, sure does and it’s paid current.

    Rep: Oh, I got the numbers mixed up. Tap, tap, tap. OK, there is your account and by the way, your power is out.

    Me; Amazing, can you send someone to fix it?

    Rep: I think so but it may not be right away.

    Me: I don’t care just send somebody.

    Rep: Will do and you have a niiice daaay!

    Me; hanging up.. Welcome to rural Alabama!

    Reply
  6. Stephen - August 7, 2019 4:50 pm

    I feel this in the bowels of my soul.

    Reply
  7. Connie Havard Ryland - August 7, 2019 4:51 pm

    It must be in the air. My email was down at work this morning. I was seriously having withdrawals though when I didn’t have your column first thing this morning. Hope all is well now.

    Reply
  8. Dave - August 7, 2019 5:12 pm

    You should get an online girlfriend-she’ll send you nice pics, and love messages and cost you about the same-well ok she’ll go for the platinum package within a week-but she will call you names too if you want. One thing though she will never tell you the truth-at least you now know you’re on hold for 700 years. This is one of your best-the sarcasm is beautiful, the only bad part is ITS ALL TRUE!

    Reply
  9. Steve Hall - August 7, 2019 5:13 pm

    I had a very similar thing happen with my WIX account and finally got it resolved through their chat feature. I had to laugh because I lived the same on hold tech support experience before I hung up. Funny thing is I work in IT support and experienced this many times for work as well. Thanks Stan for posting this!!

    Reply
  10. Kelli King - August 7, 2019 5:14 pm

    Sorry your website has been giving you fits! I got on here yesterday and was like, what in the world is happening?!?! I love your stories and your podcast!

    Reply
  11. Dolores - August 7, 2019 5:16 pm

    Oh, Sean, I know just how you feel. I’ve been trying to get satisfaction from AT&T for days. I’ve been on hold, transferred to umpteenth different people. I am still having problems. And I have other things I HAVE to do besides sitting on the phone waiting for them to handle my problem. You have helped knowing I am not the only one who goes through these things! Thank you!

    Reply
  12. Cheryl - August 7, 2019 5:22 pm

    Sean, this is so TRUE! It is the only reason there is less hair on the right side of my head as I hold the phone to my left ear leaving my right hand free to pull out huge clumps of hair instead of going ape-sh** over these people! There is no NO NO NO local customer service, anymore! Current Customer Service has no idea of the conditions where you, or your devise, is. You would think, in this computer age, all that info you give the first person would somehow appear on the page that the next “tech” sees so they wouldn’t have to ask for it, over and over. I keep thinking they will ask for a stool sample next!

    Reply
  13. Marilyn Vance - August 7, 2019 5:29 pm

    Enjoy the music, Ralph. Would you consider upgrading to……..feel your pain!

    Reply
  14. Ken Dunn - August 7, 2019 5:29 pm

    Whatever your name is, everything will be “okeh”. It’s called customer service of which there is none. While you’re waiting 700 years have Jamie fix you a homemade pimento cheese sandwich. At least you will have got something done.

    Reply
  15. Karen Greatrix - August 7, 2019 5:30 pm

    I’m sorry you had so many problems with your website but I’m glad it wasn’t my computer since that was my first thought. Welcome back.

    Reply
  16. Beverly Mundy Weable - August 7, 2019 5:35 pm

    Aren’t you clever. You know that we will all click to see if your site is back up and ‘Lo! and Behold!’ site traffic metrics increase. Now, don’t throw me in that Briar Patch! Welcome back to the interwebs.

    Reply
  17. Hilary Nickerson - August 7, 2019 5:41 pm

    😂😂😂😂 so true. For me it’s usually Verizon! On top of dealing with the ill-named “customer support”, I usually have my techno-inept husband shouting at me while I am trying to hear what the person (finally) on the phone is actually saying.

    Reply
    • throughmyeyesusa - August 7, 2019 5:51 pm

      “Techno-inept”…..PERFECT!
      It describes my husband as well. I’ve been looking for a term a little kinder, gentler, and more elegant than, “techno-dummy”. You just supplied it. Thank you, Hilary!

      Reply
  18. throughmyeyesusa - August 7, 2019 5:45 pm

    “”Your business is important to us.”
    Words to strike terror in a consumer’s heart!!

    Reply
  19. Jeanne Butler - August 7, 2019 5:52 pm

    OMG. There is no such thing as tech support. That sounds like every time I call AT&T or Verizon. They know nothing. And what ticks me off more is getting someone with such a foreign accent I cannot understand them. So I yell I to the phone get me someone who speaks ENGLISH and they hang up in me. So I have to start all over again. Sad sad world we live in now. Love you Sean

    Reply
  20. Jim Keith - August 7, 2019 5:54 pm

    Geez Louise, don’t those people know how important it is to us to read you bright and early in the am? Glad you are okay and it was just the website!

    Reply
  21. Mary - August 7, 2019 6:02 pm

    Technology! Ain’t it great? Someone from X Bank left a message on my cell phone for Jane Doe. “This is very important! Please call me back. This is Sue Jones at X Bank and I can be reached at 555-111-3333 Extension 1234 [garbled] 2.”

    From the message, I’m concerned that Jane Doe really needs to talk to the bank, but Sue Jones has dialed the wrong number and doesn’t know that Jane isn’t just blowing her off and not returning the call. So being the caring person that I am, I try calling Sue Jones at X Bank at the number she left. The robo-operator tells me to enter the 6 digit extension. Ummmm…I only know 5 digits…so I push 0 to hopefully reach a human being.

    The operator answers “Thank you for calling X Bank. How may I direct your call.”

    I say, “I’m returning a call from Sue Jones, but the message was garbled and I don’t know all 6 numbers in the extension.”

    Operator: “What number are you calling from?”

    Me: “This is my number ***-***-****, but it is the WRONG number of the person Sue Jones was trying to contact. Can you connect me with Sue Jones?”

    Operator: “Ma’am, I don’t show that number anywhere in my system. Would the account be under another phone number?”

    Me: “YES! It would, but Sue Jones dialed the wrong one and she thinks Jane Doe isn’t calling her back and I want Sue to know that she needs to contact Jane again and leave a message on the CORRECT #.”

    Operator: “But ma’am, unless you can give me another number on file, I can’t help you. This number is not in our system.”

    Me – REPEAT explanation 3 more times!

    Operator: “You don’t understand. This number is NOT in the system.”

    Me: CLICK. Sorry Jane, I tried to help you out!

    Reply
  22. Sal - August 7, 2019 6:03 pm

    Easy to identify with this situation you described.

    Reply
  23. Daniel Fyffe - August 7, 2019 6:20 pm

    WOW!! No request to complete to complete the customer service survey following the call? You got the Royal Treatment….

    Reply
  24. Teresa Tindle - August 7, 2019 6:57 pm

    You are exactly right. I was on hold with direct tv almost all day yesterday. I was transferred so many times, I absolutely for got what I called for. We appreciate your loyalty. Have a wonderful day!

    Reply
    • Susie - August 7, 2019 8:02 pm

      Hahahaha😅😅🤣

      Reply
  25. Barbara Porter - August 7, 2019 7:12 pm

    I feel your pain! Just went through that a couple of times yesterday ☹️

    Reply
  26. Pamasa - August 7, 2019 7:49 pm

    Sounds like AT&T to me!

    Reply
  27. Donna - August 7, 2019 8:23 pm

    I got anxiety just reading that, Alex. Too relatable!! 😉 So glad you’re back up though, I missed you this morning!

    Reply
  28. Jean - August 7, 2019 8:33 pm

    We feel your pain. I wondered why my day didn’t start right! Welcome back….ummm what was your name again?

    Reply
  29. mike - August 7, 2019 8:46 pm

    here’s my favorite: “Hello,” I am calling because I see that I can get the internet and cable package with 200 stations for $80 a month. I would like that package.”

    “But sir, you are already with us. You have that package.”

    “Yes, but I’m paying $147.00 dollars a month for it. I would like to get it for $80!”

    .”Sorry, but that s only available for new customers.”

    “But I’ve been a customer for four years, would you rather lose my business than give me what a new customer will get? Doesn’t customer loyalty mean anything.”

    “Sorry, but that is the company policy.”

    Reply
    • Steve Scott - August 7, 2019 10:32 pm

      Every time I hear “that is our policy,” I say “Who you like to hear my policy on dealing with stupid people?”

      Reply
  30. Jack Sanders - August 7, 2019 9:23 pm

    Sounds like my experience with DirectTV (ATT&T). After at least an hour I was able to cancel and switched to HULU with live stream TV. Saving a ton of $. Very pleased and many more choices of what to watch.

    Reply
  31. Steve Scott - August 7, 2019 10:30 pm

    We have become a nation of idiots! Me: “This order is to go.” Helpful fast food schlep after taking order: “Is this for here or to go?” Steely glare from me and silence. Schlep: “Here or to go?” Me: “That was the first thing I told you!” A snarky look at me as if I am causing a problem.

    Also, just got off the phone with a national lawn care company. I asked the question: How long have we had lawn service with your company? She was gone for ages and then came back and said: “You got our service last year.” I said “No, I didn’t. We’ve had it for a long, long time. “She said “Yes, but this is a new year.” I can’t even communicate any more!

    Reply
  32. Lizzie - August 7, 2019 10:40 pm

    My soon took out a cable account for me at my new retirement apartment before I arrived from a different state. I paid the bill automatically once a month for two years from my checking account. One morning a sweet, young voice called and offered me a new cable plan for less money and better services. I said “Yes, thank you.” So she set me up to see the same channels and free movies. Then the sweet girl asked, said, “Do you want to pay your bill now?” I answered ; “Yes.” I figured “Why not?” ” She entered the payment.
    Are you authorized to pay” “Yes.” Are you Tom? “No.” “Well then, you’re not authorized to pay. Let me get my supervisor. Don’t hang up. Please give me a rating first”
    “OK” I pressed numbers to give her call ratings for ten robot questions.” She had been so pleasant. Suddenly the line went dead.
    A few minutes later the phone rang.
    “Why did your rate that girl so high? said an Angry Supervisor.”And how can you pay the bill if you’re not Tom.? Your account is frozen”
    “I . . .”
    “I’ transferring you to another department. If the transfer doesn’t work, call this number – 800-1234567. She hung up Of course, we were disconnected.
    I pressed those numbers on my keypad. Then I spent the rest of the day on the phone, listening to unpleasant too-loud music and waiting for ten minutes and more minutes each time, desperately hanging on so the cable would not be canceled.
    Customer service told me they would transfer me to the correct department.
    The “Correct” department transferred me to the business manager who after my lengthy explanation transferred me to “the person I should have talked to first” who told me it was too late to change what I had done and transferred me to the fraud department who locked me out of paying with my only bank account for one year so I put the bill on my charge card and then forget and just spent the extra $200.00 in my account on whatever I wanted to and accumulated a large cable charge by the end of the year and I’ll bet you could never guess the rest, but I’ve talked too long and will save that story t for another day.
    The good news is that my son won’t let me talk to anyone I don’t know personally so when I see an unfamiliar number, I can’t answer. it’s total peace for me, no disrupting phone calls. Unless I weaken when I see “Virginia unknown caller” and think it might be a different son, and I answer and hear, “It’s your lucky day. I want to give you $10.000 in two weeks and then $10,000 more two weeks after that and so on,” and all I have to do is press #3.” and temptation sets in.

    Reply
  33. William C Gardner - August 7, 2019 11:10 pm

    A G Bell had no idea about the problems because of his wonderful invention. Kinda like how kudzu was needed to save the South. And this is America?

    Reply
  34. William C Gardner - August 7, 2019 11:11 pm

    Moderation? You got to be kidding!

    Reply
  35. judy - August 8, 2019 12:29 am

    I love this! I spent an hour on the phone yesterday with Regions bank to try and find my “lost in the mail” checks and to order more. I couldn’t decide if I should laugh or cuss. I gave them my blood type, address, SS number, etc. I was told to wait I had to go through disclosure which was the same information I had just given her.
    😡😡😡😡

    Reply
  36. Shelton A. - August 8, 2019 1:42 am

    I had a good experience with Verizon. They were very helpful-alI had to do is show them how stupid I am with tech. It was so much better than I ever could have expected. Real customer service in 2019. It’s a miracle.

    Reply
  37. Mary T. - August 8, 2019 4:50 am

    I tried to cancel my in-laws water bill when they passed away. I was told I couldn’t because I wasn’t on the account. I said I would just not pay the bill and I’d bet they would cut it off. She told me that might hurt my credit rating. I reminded her I wasn’t on the account.

    Reply
  38. Mrs. Kelley Dibble - August 8, 2019 6:20 am

    Beauregard,

    You are the 21st century male version of the wonderful Erma Bombeck! I love BOTH of y’all’s stuff.

    This is the song that never ends
    Yes, it goes on and in my friends
    Some people
    Started singing it not knowing what it was
    And they’ll continue singing it forever just because
    This is the song that never ends
    Yes, it goes on and in my friends
    Some people
    Started singing it not knowing what it was
    And they’ll continue singing it forever just because
    This is the song that never ends

    *hugs*
    Kelley~

    Reply
  39. kathleenivy - August 8, 2019 11:17 pm

    Hi Sean (errr, Rupert? Mr. Smith?) I have been caught in that particular circle of hell before. LOL! My blood pressure went up just reading your experience.

    Reply
  40. That's jack - August 9, 2019 3:09 am

    CRAP, there you go, repeating what I just heard, Was that you > “This is Bill may I help you?” Then down hill.
    Night Sean, I didn’t need this ‘ hahahahahahahahahahahahahah but it helps…

    Love sent from NC (Figured you needed LOVE)
    Sherry & jack

    Reply
  41. Estelle - August 9, 2019 4:23 am

    I feel your pain. My husband sold auto-attendants for ATT and/or the Bell systems. I told him that one day this would take people’s jobs. Well not only has the machine take jobs but the circle of trying to get a person to talk to who can help you last for hours. 😢⚡️😢

    Reply

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