Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Don't Leave Me Hanging On The Telephone

If I were starving and my only two options to live were to either chew off my own arm and eat it, or work as a telemarketer calling people just like me, I'd have to say:

"Pass the ketchup."

In the past couple of years, I have gone completely ballistic on telemarketers and people from call centers.  Granted, there are times when I can't distinguish them from the men calling about the transgender club that my phone number use to be associated with.  Other times when I've pretended to be the maid, the babysitter, even stooped so low as to say I'm the nurse taking care of a dying patient just to mess with them.

Right after Wingman died, his cellphone rang with a strange number. A guy with a very heavy accent from the "World's Largest Department Store" wanted to speak to him about his late credit card payment.  I apologized, said I was his wife and he had passed the week before, but I would take care the entire bill as soon as I could. The man claimed that I was lying and insisted on speaking to him.  I told him to call 1-800-GOTOHELL1-800-GOTOHELL and hung up.  He called back and put a supervisor on the phone-again with a heavy accent, who demanded that I fax his death certificate to them.  "Fax it to where?" I asked.  "New Delhi, India". My response mentioned my own passing since it would be OVER MY DEAD BODY before I faxed anything to India.

I paid the bill, which then started a sick new calling game named "Where in the world is their credit office?" since they tacked on a residual interest charge which I disputed.  Month one put the call in Kansas City, which led to month two in the Philippines, then three in Atlanta, until the fourth month I connected to someone back in India and screamed at him that he couldn't figure out this simple credit because he worship cows.

My 88 year old father, sitting in his rocker recliner watching a World War II show, spun around and said incredulously, "Really? Cows?" Call it a new low for our side.

When a friend's parents passed away, she asked me to help her by cancelling their credit cards.  I probably should have mentioned my particular skill set to her before starting.  When I called that same department store, I reached the credit department in the Philippines. This time, I DEMANDED to speak to a rep in the USA.  "It's my right as a US citizen to speak to my own people", I claimed.

She put me in her desk drawer.  I mean, I heard the desk drawer close, and I could hear her and all the people around her and they didn't have many nice things to say about me. When she finally got back on, she transferred the call to Mexico.  It took two more connections and 27 minutes only to find out that the card was inactive anyway.

One morning this week, the house phone rang around 8:00.  I picked it up, and a very chipper woman said "Hey, can you put Wing on the line?" I did give her props since she probably couldn't say the last name anyway, and using the familiar form of his name almost threw me off.  But as I apologized and said Wing is dead, she said "Oh that's OK, I'll just talk to you about this," and she started blabbering.  I envisioned a poor, recent college grad, unable to find a decent job with mounting college loans.  A pretty blonde with a Caramel Macchiato, Venti, Skim, Extra Shot, Extra-Hot, Extra-Whip, Sugar-Free coffee in front of her, prepared to make the best of her crappy job in this crappy economy by talking her way into selling me something.

And then I gave it to her.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up, SHUT UP, SHUT UP!!!" I screamed as she kept on talking.  "He's dead because he choked to death during dinner trying to tell a telemarketer LIKE YOU that he wasn't interested.  Get it through your thick skull that you cause good people TO DIE."

There was dead silence on the other end.  I envisioned that she had just clenched her Macchiato so hard that her cup exploded.  And as I hung up chuckling over my very witty but very shitty phone game, I realized that only by the grace of God was I not sitting in a cubicle somewhere, trying to con money out of a senior citizen for war veterans that have never gone to war.

And I went and pulled the ketchup bottle out of the fridge.  You never know.

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