On Hold With Karen Carpenter

Phone in my ear I’m too embarrassed to place the call on speaker phone. All I want to do is contact my software vendor and find out why my configuration is failing, but after twenty-five minutes on hold I’m now reciting their spiel in sync with them and fuming over their choice of music.

“Please continue to hold. A representative will be with you shortly. Your approximate wait time is 10 minutes. We now return you to the melodious melodies of voicemail purgatory”

“I'm on top of the world, looking down on creation and the only explanation …”

I’m convinced that the on-hold easy-listening music is a tactic to reduce calls. Or at the very least break the callers will down. If you ever want to interrogate someone put them in a room with one Carpenters song for four hours on continuous loop. You will find when they are freed they will be quite willing to divulge whatever you request of them.

The Carpenters have a way of doing that to you. Tech support is similar to interrogation. You want to make sure when someone calls in with a complaint that they are malleable. You need them that way to convince them of things that they otherwise wouldn't believe.

I recall once when I called in to support because of a hardware issue. After I was done with the call I walked into my boss and said, "The tech told me the router rebooted, because of a stray electron passing through the boxes CPU. I'm sorry, I couldn't argue, they had me on hold with Karen Carpenter for over 40 minutes." My boss loved this answer and used it repeatedly at meetings.

When I worked the phones, it was all about getting the secret information. You could spend hours on a customer’s problem that had a very simple solution. If only they would tell you what they had done. When a person called in and claimed they had “no idea” what was wrong, it usually meant “I did something stupid, and I want you to fix it and not find me out.”

We could have used a little “Yesterday once more” on our call queue.

Either way the music has changed from Karen Carpenter to Barry Manilow. I’m beginning to feel my resolve waning. Maybe I’ll hang up and trying to fix it again on my own.


Joshua P. Allem said...

Ha!! I posted an audio satire on my blog about this very same thing.

kludge said...


You know what they say... great minds and all.

I cannot get any of your files to run on my Linux/Firefox configuration. I might have to break out the windows box to have a listen.

Joshua P. Allem said...

Well crap! I don't know what to tell ya about that. To post my audio files, I'm using a free service called Putfile.com. They're a lot like YouTube only they include users pictures and audio files as well. I can't understand why their service wouldn't be compatible with Linus/Firefox. I'll be looking into that. Thanks for the heads-up.

(If you have a popup blocker, that might have something to do with it. Since the audio is coming from a seperate website, I've got the audio links opening in a seperate window.)

kludge said...


This is funny..
Lemonade Stand Suzy sounds a bit like elmo, but enjoyed it.