So, here's what customer service has come to.
My satellite TV is on the fritz, I call up to see what's wrong.
I'm cheerfully told by an automatic messaging system that I can “press 1” if I want to order a football game. I don't.
I can “press 2” if I want to learn about a great new money-saving package. I haven't the slightest interest. And even if I did, good freaking luck because, as I said, I'm not getting any picture! So a money-saving package wouldn't do me much good now, would it?
I can “press 3” if I have a technical issue. Eureka!
Now, I am presented with a whole new automated menu.
“Press 1” if this is a first-time call.
“Press 2” if this is a repeat call. Which must be their way of screening out real annoying losers. Press that one and they re-route your call to Siberia, I'm convinced.
“Press 3” if there are storms in my area. I run outside. It's dark, but I do see stars.
Onto “press 4” if I'm getting any picture, or “press 5” if I'm getting no picture.
I “press 5” and get still another menu! Then a good two minutes of condescending reminders, like, "check to see that all your cables are plugged in properly and your TV is turned on."
For the life of me, what idiot calls a help line, complaining about a TV that isn't working unless he's turned on his TV and discovered... jeez, it isn't working!
Surely they don't think we're that desperate for entertainment? "Hey honey, I'm gonna call the satellite people and be on the phone for hours, just so I can hear their monotonous phone menu options, ok?"
After reassuring words like "most of the time, it's something simple," I've concluded that none of my TV ailments is simple.
To another menu.
“Press 1” if you're a total package viewer. As if these primo customers are going to get any better treatment!
“Press 2” if you're willing to hang on the line for the remainder of the night without the slightest hope anyone will ever talk to you, live or otherwise. Yes, I kind of re-worked the language there. But that was the message there. So I pressed it.
Nice music now. Believe it or not, Frank Sinatra. Believe it or not, "My Way." Which is kind of funny, because this is far from "My Way."
Fortunately I have speakerphone. I can move about the room. But I don't go too far.
Just about the time I'm nodding off, someone comes on the line.
"Customer support, may I have your phone number?"
Which I think is rude. They could humor me and ask for my name. Or at least start with something like, "Sorry you've given up an entire evening to put up with this crap. What can I do for you?
No matter. I recite my problem and get this, I'm told that's a hardware issue and those folks aren't in at this hour. Try back tomorrow between 8 and five.
Now, would that be Eastern, or Zimbabwe time, I ask?
He's gone. Just like my picture.
I'll stay up. What the heck, 8 a.m. is only two hours away, that is, if it's Eastern and not zimbabwe time.
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Neil Cavuto serves as senior vice president, anchor and managing editor for both FOX News Channel (FNC) and FOX Business Network (FBN). He is anchor of FNC's Your World with Cavuto - the number one rated cable news program for the 4 p.m. timeslot - as well as the FNC Saturday show Cavuto on Business. He also hosts Cavuto on FBN weeknights at 8 p.m. In addition to anchoring daily programs and breaking news specials on FNC and FBN, Cavuto oversees business news content for both networks and FNC's weekend business shows, including Bulls & Bears, Forbes on Fox, and Cashin' In. Click here for more on Neil Cavuto.