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thank you for not calling
if these automated customer service lines could talk
by michael d. driscoll
pop culture

Thank you for calling customer service. Your call is only important to you. For English, please allow us to penalize you by making you press 1. Para español, oprima el numero dos y good-o luck-o getting-o our-o uno-o Spanish-o person-o.

For Rotary-dial callers please hang up.

I’m sorry. When you press 0 it pisses us off and we have to pretend to accidentally disconnect you after finally reaching a representative that was hired and trained moments before you picked up the phone.

Again, you ass, for English, please press 1. Para español, oprima el oh who gives a shit, press dos if you’re not from around here, and I know there ain’t no Rotary-dial caller still on this line. Hang up 1952 or I’ll send some of my boys over to…

Thank you.

Please listen closely as we pretend to constantly change our menu in order to route calls to India where you’ll talk to a native named Kevin or Bobby.

To add more crap you don’t need onto your existing account, press the dollar sign or 1. To remove essential services which make you a better person, press 2. To pay your bill by phone because you’re too late to mail in a payment or e-bills still seem like a Jetsonian feature, press 3. For perceived trouble with your fantastic service, press 4.

Thank you.

For trouble with our platinum services that are really our gold services with more marketing, press 1. For trouble with our gold services, press 2 if you must. For trouble with our silver services, you’re already not good enough, but press 3 anyway. For trouble with our bronze services, well, you get what you pay for so press 0.

Now see here, I told you what pressing 0 does to us, but no—no, you had to test us again. No problem, no problem at all. We just removed all your discounts and found the address of someone with your name, but worse credit, and attached them to your account. You wanted to be funny, but we’re going to ask for a deposit when you finally reach a representative.

Thank you.

In order to prevent you from reaching a live person, please enter the last four digits of your high school locker combination…backwards…twice.

Are you still there?

Thank you.

Please hold while fake electronic sounds are played to make you think we’re accessing your account.

Here they are again.

Thank you.

You have been randomly selected just like everyone else to participate in a survey. After you’ve spoken to a representative in your lifetime, ask them to transfer you to the survey and enter for a chance to win an absolutely unregulated contest prize for the whole family.


All customer service representatives are busy eating lunch or searching for jobs on Monster.com. Please hold while we assist the two customers from yesterday who made it through.

*Muzak version of La Bomba(y) plays*

Do you have trouble sleeping? Researchers somewhere said something about sleep we thought you might want to know, but we’re going to break in during the really good part, you know, the part where you learn something useful, and tell you...

Thank you for holding. We are currently assisting other customers by making friends with them, laughing at their jokes, giving them a false sense of accomplishment before we tell them their account is being closed and that we are coming for their children.

…and that is the secret of life.

Did you know that when you stick a light bulb up your butt it hurts? Experts at the University of Lilprich shoved over 200 light bulbs up poopers and found that 9 out 10 people found it uncomfortable. Study participants complained of…

Your wait time is infinity. Infinity squared.

Thank you for holding. All customer service representatives have gone home and left you here to languish while your cell phone burns a hole through your brain. Our night janitor is currently listening in on your huffs and puffs as well as your conversations while on hold. If you hear panting, press 0.

Oh damn. It’s on. This time I am going to crawl through this phone and shove that meaty zero-pushing finger up your…

Ello. This is being Bobby. How is it that I may be servicing you today?


Curious about everything, Michael plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed to go where no one else has gone. His slight forgetfulness means he is curious about everything and plans to do it all. A ruffian by day and a lover by night he's managed...

more about michael d. driscoll


borrowed words at a funeral
remembering a life
by michael d. driscoll
topic: pop culture
published: 6.23.06

10 things i don’t understand
in the asking we find the answer
by michael d. driscoll
topic: pop culture
published: 2.19.07


jael mchenry
11.15.06 @ 8:30a

Please hold while fake electronic sounds are played to make you think we’re accessing your account.

Boop-boop-boop. Hee!

juli mccarthy
11.15.06 @ 10:17a

The sad thing is that sometimes the automated calling lines are even MORE annoying than this.

michael driscoll
11.15.06 @ 1:39p

And ugh...those voice activated systems kill me softly.

Press 1 or say "Extend my wait time"

Press 2 or say "I now have time to write a suicide letter"

Thank you.

lucy lediaev
11.15.06 @ 4:54p

I recently cancelled a $1500 Dell order and went to Best Buy to get a laptop computer after an experience with India-based customer service that bordered on the surreal.

I am reasonably patient, but nothing worked correctly and no one had the power to correct any problems, which seemed to multiply and escalate as I talked to an Indian service rep. He was polite to a fault, while giving me incorrect information and explaining why he couldn't help me.

I ended up calling multiple numbers with endless waits, lots of electronic tones and Muzak, and talked to several supervisors. Needless to say, Dell has lost me as a customer, despite my satisfaction with a desktop computer I previously bought from them.

robert melos
11.16.06 @ 12:43a

Last year when I switched my home phone from Verizon to AT&T I was routed to India and it took roughly 47 minutes to switch services. While it did cut my bills by about $75 a month the process of switching was pretty much what you described here, with the voice activated thing, and me screaming "put a human being on! I don't talk to toasters!" I went all Battlestar Galactica on them. When I finally got a human being I needed a translator to understand him, and ended up telling him to just give me the top service and I'd cancel stuff later when I decided what I didn't want.

You're brilliant. One of the funniest columns I've read. Brilliant.

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