Home Columnist THE WEEKENDER by Clyde Black: How do you get a human?

THE WEEKENDER by Clyde Black: How do you get a human?


“How Do You Get  A Human?”

 By Claire Cooper Black

A few weeks ago, the Weekender was trying to check on one of his credit cards to see if it was still active.  It has been paid off for some time and he didn’t want to get caught out on the open road going “up the country” and not be able to fill up with gas from this one (not to be named for reasons below) gas company.

 So, the Weekender calls the number on the back of the card and gets caught up in the automated customer service labyrinth.  If you have been there/done that, you know it could have tried the patience of Job.  Again, all he wanted to do was see if his card would still be accepted at the gas pump.  Sounds easy enough.  Wrong.

 Somehow the Weekender ended up with the Fraud Department’s automated labyrinth.  Finally, after responding to several different unrelated automated questions, he turns to the “automated customer service labyrinth pro”, Me.

 I spend many days battling the gauntlet of automated customer services departments.  Everything from different state governments to the federal government. 

The federal government has automated customer service down to a fine art of getting you so frustrated that you will hang up in 53 minutes and 17 seconds and decide you really didn’t need to claim your Social Security benefit payments which you paid into for 40 years and waited until you reached the distinguished age of eligibility to cash in on.

The Weekender, in a frustrated state, turns to me and says, “How do you get a human?”  It’s a trick I learned one day many, many years ago when I was about to throw my phone through the window from not being able to speak to an actual human. 

Heck, I didn’t even care if they had a very distinctive foreign accent.  I just wanted human.

I told him my old hard learned trick.  Hit “0” three times.  He did and he got an actual human … in the Fraud Department.  But hey, it was a human. 

He was then transferred to a live customer service “agent or representative” and explained he just wanted to know if he would be able to purchase gas on his card.  This nice young woman starts asking him when he is leaving, where he is going, how long will he be gone, has he packed extra underwear, his toothbrush and toothpaste ……… just to purchase gas!

I’m listening to all this and start to think, she’s wasting her time at the gas company!  We need her at Homeland Security!


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