Monday, March 06, 2006

How to Talk to a Human

My friend Susan at A Silly Man sent me an e-mail tonight which included a link to a website with information on how to get past the recorded messages when you phone a company so that you can speak directly to a real person (

The strange thing about receiving this e-mail tonight is that I was in desperate need of this list Saturday morning. My upstairs toilet quit working and I was freaking out because I didn't know if I had a plumbing emergency on my hands or just some mysterious broken toilet part. All toilet parts are mysterious to me.

When I called my home warranty company, it was exactly like that guy on the television commercial where you have to say words instead of punching numbers on the telephone's keypad. When the voice asked for my street name, I was tempted to say "Big Boy" but I resisted.

When I got to the end of all of the voice prompts and was not given the choice to talk to a person, I became frantic. By answering the question, "Are any of your systems completely disabled?" with the word "No", I was told that I would be contacted by a technician on Monday and the call disconnected. Monday!

I was finally able to speak to a real person by calling the number you have to call to purchase a new home warranty. That nice lady told me that every company has a word you can say to get past the recordings and, if you don't know that word, all you have to do is remain completely silent through all prompts. When you are completely silent, the system assumes you might be handicapped in some way and sends you to a human.

I'm still waiting for my toilet to be fixed but, if I need to talk to a human type person about it, I know the super secret password.


Larry Jones said...

That's an unfair question! They shouldn't be allowed to disconnect you over your answer. It's like the traffic cop who asked me "Do you know how fast you were going?" What was I supposed to say? "Yes, I knew I was speeding"? I said "No," and he wrote on the ticket "Not looking at speedometer." I want a do-over!

Laurie said...

Larry - I called back to talk to a person to get my do-over but nobody thought it was an emergency. That's good, I guess.

neil said...

Hmmm, remain completely silent in order to talk to a human being, word verification on the blog site, to hide us from a machine, there is something richly ironic in that.Maybe the day of the Terminator isn't too far off. Hasta la vista, baby.

Laurie said...

Tanked Up Taco - That's a scary thought isn't it?

stefani said...

I tried the staying silent one time. The phone disconnected me. :-(

Laurie said...

SRMC - Bastards!