They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

Please Release Me Let Go... I Don't Love You Anymore...

As if there aren't enough reasons to hate phones and telemarketers, there's a new and disturbing issue that has been building for a couple of years... And getting worse.

I'm talking about automated calls THAT CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHEN TO HANG UP. And there has to be a problem with the phone system which aids and abets this. Because if I hang up, it's over. The phone call should be over. Period.

Sigh. Apparently not.

Phone rings. Pick up phone and say Hello. Now, you may have to wait to get an answer. Why? Besides they're evil? Well, besides that, automated dialing systems anticipate when the next available caller is free, saving time by not actually having a human wait and listen. The caller often doesn't know how long the dead air is.

I say Hello... hello... hello... goodbye. If they answer after too much time I demand to know why they didn't answer me. It throws telemarketers off their game. Because 99% of the time, if you're dealing with a long pause from autodialing, the person who calls isn't someone I want to talk to. If you think I'm mean, remember that just hanging up on them will result in a redial or another call later.

But with fully automated calls, including "surveys" and political trash phone calls, just hanging up doesn't work. If you hang up and pick up -- they're STILL TALKING. Hold down the button for 10-30 seconds? They're STILL TALKING. Ones looking for a response are even worse. Hang up. Pick up. "I'm sorry, I didn't understand. Your choices are..."

How the hell does the system not understand that one party has terminated the call?

My record is over two minutes.

Someday someone is going to die because they couldn't dial 9-1-1 because they lost control of their phone line.

An even weirder variation is the automated system that can't recognize it's talking to an answering machine. I've filled up the memory on my machine with calls repeating their choices, pausing for a reply then repeating, while the answering machine is waiting for them to finish their message and hang up. And often I don't even know who or what is calling, because it started its canned spiel while the outgoing message is still playing, barging ahead. What idiotic programming.

Want even stupider? I've picked up the phone on the second ring recently, only to have the automated voice already into its menu choices -- so I have no idea who these assholes really are. Of course, they often have generic sounding names. You might get a political survey from Voters Surveys. Were I to stay on the line, how much you wanna bet that this is either a push poll or a thinly disguised ad for a particular candidate?

What? You won't take my bet? Sheesh, how am I ever going to get rich?

Then there was the call tonight. 5:05pm on a Friday. When one might be home from a long week and getting ready for a weekend. Yeah, I really want to talk to some rep from Caremark about long term prescriptions with our insurance. Especially after the third hello, when I'm going ready to hang up.

He did not want to deviate from his script and ignored my demand to know why he hadn't answered when I did. Asked for me by name. Who is this? Non-useful answer. Demand to know who is calling. Caremark Pharmacy regarding your long-term prescriptions. I don't have any long-term prescriptions with Caremark right now. We want to talk to you about your benefits through your insurance. Are you...?

Look, friend, you called me. You have a name. We have to verify who you are for HIPPA purposes. Birthdate. One of your current prescriptions. Of course he can't spell the brand name of a common prescription -- or find it in my record -- until I spelled it for him. Can you verify your address?

Goddamn it, man, you've got name, phone number, birthdate -- everyone wants that in the health business -- one of my prescriptions AND YOU STILL CAN'T VERIFY YOU GOT THE PERSON YOU CALLED? What is this call about? I need to verify your address. Can you understand why, in this day and age, that I am reluctant to keep giving you information WHEN YOU CALLED ME. I can give you our customer service number if you like... NO. I don't want to hear your spiel now, why would I torture myself by calling?

Good. Bye.

Unbelievable. You want to sell me? You send me something in the mail. With company names and web addresses so I can verify YOU before I call. Assuming I want to call.

It's bad enough that assholes have made us paranoid about security. Why do your procedures have to be so lax AND byzantine at the same time? Do you think I'm stupid? Would you want your mom to blindly answer any personal questions on some cold call?

Besides that, I knew the guy was from Caremark. He had the right info, I knew what sales spiel he wanted to give me. I'm just not interested. I'm trying to get OFF most of these meds, not get rafts of 90-day supplies by mail order.

But those automated calls that won't hang up? Hit the disconnect once, twice, thrice, four and hold for a few seconds. That's usually enough to regain your dial tone.

Just wait til this nonsense hits your cell phone. Because it will as more people drop their landline.

Dr. Phil
Tags: rants

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