Thank You for Holding!

PhoneCall1Mom’s right-ear hearing aid broke a couple of weeks ago. I’ve since been trying to get it fixed and waiting for the audiologist to call me. The hearing aid needs a battery cover/holder that has to be ordered. Mom is down to one hearing aid and I’m sure that she and those that take care of her are struggling to have pleasant conversations.

Wednesday, as I was on the highway, headed home from a meeting, the phone rang. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear it because I forgot to un-silence the phone and had the radio turned up to a sing-along volume. It was a call from the audiologist.


I called the number she left on voice mail. This number is a main answering line that services two or more locations. I can no longer contact the audiologist directly at her location. Calls are now funneled through one number. Herein lies the issue. Upon dialing the number, I get a standard, automated message: “Press 1 to make an appointment, press 2 if you want to speak to a nurse, press 3 if you want to reach Dr. So-and-So, press 4…”

You get the point.

I chose to stay on the line until I could be transferred to further automation.

“Thank you for calling. You are 7th in line. The wait time is two minutes.”

Oh boy! Only two minutes! (Herein lies a totally absurd assumption by me that it would be only two minutes.)

Que the symphony/piano Muzak. I would have preferred Journey or Whitesnake, but so be it.

“Thank you for holding. You are currently 7th in line. The wait time is two minutes”

Ummmmm…didn’t you tell me that two minutes ago?

More Muzak. And waiting. I believe 5 minutes has passed.

"Press 8 to be put on hold for what seems like 9 to phone back tomorrow."

“Thank you for holding. You are now 5th in line. The wait time is one minute.”

One minute! WooHoo!

The boring Muzak continues and I’m getting sleepy.

“Thank you for holding. You are 4th in line. The wait time is three minutes.”

Hey, wait a minute! You told me the wait time was one minute about two minutes ago. What’s this three minute nonsense?

I’m beginning to tire of the deadly symphony Muzak. I may need to pull over and take a nap while waiting.

“Thank you for holding. You are 4th in line. The wait time is four minutes.”


There must be something wrong with the timer for the wait time.

Five or six or seven or ten minutes later…

Phone Call 2

“Thank you for holding. You are now 3rd in line. The wait time is six minutes.”

I am [this] close to hanging up.

Nope, I made it this far. No Muzak or automation is going to hold me back from a deed that must be done.

“Thank you for holding. You are still 3rd in line, you naieve twit. This may take a while.”

No, it didn’t really say that, but it may as well have.

Shut up, stupid Muzak. I hate you!

There goes another five minutes of my life I can’t get back.

“Thank you for holding. You are next in line. The wait time is two minutes.”

Well, that’s more like it.

At this point, I am singing the Jeopardy last-question song. It goes on for another five or six or seven or ten minutes.

Finally, someone answers the phone.

“Hello, this is __________. How may I help you?”

“Yes, I would like to speak to Cathy ________ at your Oshkosh location.”

“What is this about?”

“It’s about my mother’s broken hearing aid. I’m returning Cathy’s call.”

“Okay, just a minute and I’ll send you through.”

Oh yay!

One ring.

Two rings.

Three rings.

Several more rings.

Voice mail.

“Hello, this is Cathy _______. I am unavailable at this time. Please leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you as soon as I’m able.”


“Hello, this is M-J, calling about my mother’s hearing aid. Please call me at this number.”

End of call.

So in summation: It took exactly 22 minutes and 53 seconds to dial a number, be placed on hold in the queue for most of that time, listen to crappy Muzak, talk to a live body, be transferred to voice mail, leave a message and hang up.

I suppose it could have been far worse.

I could have been on hold for 90 minutes…listening to a bad polka band.

And then get cut off.

12 responses to Thank You for Holding!

  1. Dan Antion says:

    I think I could listen to a polka band longer than most music on hold. I had to call our mortgage bank and the hold music was this annoying little snippet of an unpopular song. It looped every 30 seconds. I was ready to stick an ice pick in my head. They do themselves a disservice because the music made me even more angry than the fact that they hadn’t paid my taxes.

    I hope your mom gets her hearing aid fixed soon.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I went to many polka weddings as a child, so the only time I truly appreciate the genre is when I can dance to it.

      Many companies do a disservice with the hold music and with the automated system itself. I am not a fan of the voice-based system that wants me to speak and then can’t understand what I’m saying. It’s like talking through a bad speaker at McDonald’s.

  2. Liz says:

    I hope they had some nice music on hold…how terrible. Have a nice weekend, ahead.

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I give them a C- for the hold music. Not my cup of tea! You have a nice weekend too, I am looking forward to it.

  3. I was going to make Dan’s point that these systems are set up so that you can yell at the person who eventually answers the phone. Which is no longer me, thank goodness. (Was once.)

    I once had to negotiate a voice-activated menu that made the Labyrinth look like a doddle. Then waited 15 minutes in the queue. Then, surprise surprise, yelled at the person who took my call. (Given I was already angry about an unreasonable charge on the account in question, what did they expect?) I did apologise at one point. “I’m sorry, I know this isn’t your fault.” But really, I think call centres would be prime candidates for Undercover Boss episodes…

    • bikerchick57 says:

      I could have yelled at the woman on the phone, I suppose, except that I didn’t want to argue with her. I simply wanted to move onto the audiologist after all that time with the horrid Muzak. I had to call again today, because the audiologist never called me back, but the wait time was less. Then, when I got the answering lady on the line, she told me the audiologist was out until Tuesday. Ugh! Again, I could have been angry with her, but she also has an elderly mother and when I gave her mom’s DOB, all she could say was, “God bless her soul!” How could I be mad at that?

  4. LB says:

    I was worried that you WERE going to get cut off! Not that being able to leave a message is that much better after 22 minutes. Ugh …
    Two days later, have you made contact yet?

  5. This passes today for what they call ‘customer service.’ Once a year or so I have to contact a particular company that makes a good product but has the worst customer service. I have to plug in my emergency phone because my battery operated one will go down during the wait of a minimum of 45 minutes. I could set a timer by it – 45 minutes no matter what the date or time. And, once a person answers, it is an individual in a country outside of the US and the person has limited English speaking skills. By the time I’m done, I’m not sure the product is worth the effort. Here’s hoping your Mom’s hearing aid gets fixed and Garmin improves their GPS with some additional options. 🙂

    • bikerchick57 says:

      That’s too funny, Judy. As I was reading this, before I got to the end, I was thinking about my long waits for someone at Garmin to answer. I haven’t called them in a while, but I guess that hasn’t changed. I used to deal with a postage meter company that drove me NUTS. It wasn’t just the time on the phone or the person who spoke limited English, it was constantly arguing with them over exhorbitant late fees that they would attach if payment was two minutes late. It was exasperating.

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