My Irish Up: Why I still have cable

Mike Corrigan

Mike Corrigan

By Mike Corrigan

BN Columnist

— You have reached the offices of BuzzOff Communications. It is our pleasure to serve you. At the tone, please provide your nine-digit account number.

— 789 212 418

— Thank you for calling BuzzOff Communications. I am having trouble understanding you. If you speak English, please press one. Habla Espanol, press dosey-do.

— OK! …There…

— … pleasure to serve you. Now, you said your account number is…. oh-eight-four, two-nine-two, four-nine-eight…? Is that correct?

— Y-e-e-s… What the…? Wait, that’s not...

— (Prissily, even for a machine) I am having trouble understanding you. Please clearly state your nine-digit account number. If you do not know the number, please check your bill or other communications from the company.

— Wait a minute, I have to find it again —

— (Patiently, as only a machine can be patient, or an ideal customer) I am having trouble understanding you. Please provide your nine-digit account number. We want to be of service.

— (Slowly, carefully, clearly)  7  8  9      2  1  2      4  —

— I am having trouble understanding you. Would you like to speak to one of our associates? If you would like to speak to a customer representative, please say “YES,” or ‘OKAY” or “JABUL, Mein Feuhrer,” or something I can understand as an affirmative! Or, if you want to call back at such time as you have learned to speak English, or speak Spanish at least, please say “NO.”

— YES, dammit! YES YES YES!!!! YES!!!!!

— I am having trouble understanding you. Please provide your nine-digit account number. We want to be of —

— Oh, buzz off!

...

“Dear BuzzOff:

Yesterday I conversed with your Speech Recognition Software, so-called. This program easily recognized that I was speaking, yes indeed — but it did not, unfortunately, recognize the English language. It is no real improvement on the old system, when I was put in touch with your call center in India and spent the rest of the evening struggling to translate singsong.

Is BuzzOff like Facebook now, where you can never close your account, even if you have passed on to less friend-intensive environs? I hope not, because I no longer require BuzzOff. Your service just plain costs too much! Is that clear? It is over between us!

I enclose my last bill, fully paid. As you can see, my account # is/was 789 212 418. Thank you for attending to this matter.

Yrs,

Michael T. Corrigan, unrecognized consumer”

...

Dear Mr. or Mrs. Consumee:

We are sorry you have experienced: reception difficulties/braincell loss/billing problems/network microwave trouble/a death in the family/all of the above. We ask that you reconsider your plans to: drop our service/perform terrorist acts against our company. We pledge to do better in the future. Remember, our Triple Play offer provides hassle-free service at just $245.99 a month for the first 12 months. If you remain determined to drop our service or to raid our office screaming, “How’s this for gun control, you #^%$&^%s!” (which could adversely affect your credit history) please read the following instructions carefully:

1. We would be happy to accept your check as paid in full, and close your account — but that procedure cannot be initiated through the mail.

2. Company policy strictly forbids written closure. Closing of all standing accounts must begin with a telephone cancellation.

3. Please call our 800 number if you still wish to initiate the account closing procedure.

Yrs, etc.

...

— …having trouble understanding you. Would you like to speak to one of our associates? If you do, please say, “YES.”

— “YES.”

— I am having some trouble understanding…

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