In recovery or notes from the loony bin

angryI hate making phone calls.

Any kind of call. Even to friends. The worst are the ones to customer service reps.

I’d rather have a root canal. Or colonoscopy prep.

My computer has been wonky for a couple of months but I kept putting it off. It got slower and slower until reading blogs was a challenge. Using the browser was a crap shoot and rebooting happened more often than pee runs.

I also had to call my health drug insurance company to get prices in order to select a “preferred” covered drug.

*hitting head on table*

Either call is the worst so I decided to totally ruin one day and do both. I forgot that there is not enough alcohol to make recovery painless. The beloved husband had to put up with one cranky wife all day.

I started with the computer call because I would need the computer for the other call.

I bought the brand I have because two computers ago they had great customer service. Reps picked up almost on the first ring and talked perfect English.

Not so anymore.

First I tried calling. The first recorded message told me that my less than year-old computer was out of warranty but they could sell me a plan. Not true and not gonna happen!

After a half hour on hold, I opted to go with the chat on-line feature. You get connected faster but the rep is servicing several calls at once so you wait between responses.

You don’t have the accent issue but the sentence grammar can be…umm…unusual. There is no issue with hearing. Yay!

I had someone named Abdul. Very polite.

I wondered if they have preprogrammed messages that they hit for response. Things like “thank you very much” or “I appreciate your patience.” Those standards were grammatically perfect unlike his other responses.

Not a problem.

He did scans and checked things and cleared out stuff. After three hours (yes, three freaking hours) he was done and I was ready for the loony bin.

The first thing I noticed was that my customization for my browser was wiped out. Egad! I had to reset the toolbars and favorites. (I hate computers!)

It is now midafternoon. I had expected to spend two hours on this but it was way closer to four.

Could I make the other call? Yes, I had no intention of having another frustrating day. It was to be all done today.

Medical insurance is a strange animal. They try to be customer service oriented by putting different programs on their site where you can find your own answer. The problem is that my question is never neat. It never quite fits the parameters so I never get the right answer.

There are two portals I could use to get the information I was seeking. I used both and got different prices for the same drugs. There was also no option of getting a service representative on the phone. I tried. They keep switching you around to different menus, none of which are what you are looking for.

I decided to visit a drug store and have them give me costs. Doesn’t that make sense? That’s where I would buy it. They would have to know what to charge me.

Nope. They could only give me the “non-insurance” cost (which would require a mortgage!). They had no idea what they would charge and it would depend on a lot of things (including the weather). They would only know at the time of sale.

Back at square one with that but my computer is working. I finished up the day by making two appointments that have been noted on a post-it on my desk for month.

All done! I am not taking calls for the rest of the week!

However, I’m out of margaritas. Jose Cuervo where are you when I need you?


62 thoughts on “In recovery or notes from the loony bin

  1. Pingback: 7 Quick Links & Thinks | Spirit Lights The Way

  2. Kate … I totally understand your frustration. Any time I have to do something on the computer that “will only take a few minutes,” I can safely wager it will take about an hour or more. I mostly avoid answering my phone unless I know who it is … because I do not want to get sucked into some vortex with a caller trying to get me to buy some product or asking me to donate money to some sketchy snake oil salesman. 😉


  3. Pingback: Random 5 for August 23 – Family, aging, mosquitoes, frogs, customer service | Views and Mews by Coffee Kat

  4. Nightmare day. I’ve had them too. Whew! Thank God it’s over! However….. Don’t be talked out of Apple for the next computer. If you buy AppleCare together with the initial purchase — it’s good for three years of patient, knowledgeable attention to your needs in excellent English: The one bright spot in an ever-more-maddening customer service world.


    • Maybe there were too many all together. I didn’t buy an apple because I wanted to be compatible with work. Now that I’m retired it doesn’t matter. My computer came with a one year guarantee of “premium care” which turns out to be mostly unavailable.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Pingback: I Still Can’t Get No Satisfaction | FiftyFourandAHalf

  6. I’m pretty sure there is collusion going on between all these companies we go crazy trying to get simple answers from (and rarely manage to) and the makers of home blood pressure testing equipment and medications. Because I swear, by the time I get off the phone with these folks, I am on the edge of a stroke!

    I wrote a funny post on this topic when I first tarted blogging. So maybe I’ll repost …

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Here’s my public service message of the day: visit — where you can search – by company – for the prompts to push to by pass all that nonsense.

    Yesterday our Rx plan called me – at work – where I was greeted by a stupid recording asking me to verify myself *(um, you called me, remember?) and then finally a live operator came on with a message – that was wrong. Geez Louise.

    Hope you got some Jose Cuervo in copious amounts 🙂 MJ

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Add me to the ‘hate to talk on the phone” list. I have to take a happy pill before I call for customer service – even within my own company. Pretty much every call ends up with me having to apologise for swearing at a rep. I think they have my picture on a dartboard in the break room at our help desk.


    • There are a lot of us. A friend read this and said she didn’t know I hated phone calls. She never noticed that when she leaves a phone message (because I let it go to voice mail), I email her the answer. As for help desks, when I worked I developed a good relationship with our crew so I got good service although they always said it an “ID-10-T” (read idiot) error. They gave me advice for my home computer too (like you don’t need that or do this). I miss them. My computer does some wonky things that probably are caused by settings but it’s too difficult to communicate with the reps and it doesn’t hamper my use so I let it slide.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my word I know what you mean. I’d rather send 100 e-mails than phone a call centre. The worst is the options, they try sound helpful when they SHOULD go like this:
    – Press 1 to waste your entire morning on the phone
    – Press 2 to lose the will to live
    – Press 3 to listen to the most annoying music, which has not being changed in the last decade
    – Press 4 to listen to the useless options once more
    – Press 5 to speak to an operator
    *presses 5 with much hope*
    Please note we are experiencing a high volume of calls at the moment……
    *waits for what seems like years*
    *starts humming the tune which will remain stuck in your head for the next week*
    Phone rings……you manage to state your query and get told you are through to the wrong department….. magically gets disconnected before transferring to the correct department.
    Repeat above steps.


  10. I absolutely feel your pain. I really turn into someone so snappy and irritable when I’m dealing with someone on the other end of customer service. Earlier today I had to have a very brief conversation with a customer service rep and at the end she thanked me and then cut me off…before we’d solved the problem. I don’t think she even understood I wasn’t happy and the problem hadn’t been resolved. When it comes to the need to have conversations with medical professionals, or insurance and prescription issues–our very health–we are in a world of hurt trying to get past communication barriers. I’m all riled up with you now, Kate. I think I need a drink as well! 🙂


  11. It would be so nice if we could go back to an actual human being answering the phone. And spoke a version of English easily understandable! I don’t want to speak to a computer. I don’t want to have to go through pressing a multitude of buttons before the computer tells me that now it will connect me to a representative. And then another automated voice tells me that it will be a 10 min wait!!!!!!! The perfect “rita” was indeed that!!!!!


    • That’s what happened to the initial computer call only they didn’t tell me the wait time or whether they were “experiencing high volume” so like a fool I waited….for 30 minutes before going to the equally frustrating on-line chat option.


  12. UGH. I hate it when I pick companies for their customer service and then I spend hours on the phone and get disconnected. The animals in my house don’t even wait for the swearing to start. They hide the minute I dial the phone. THEY KNOW.

    I feel your pain. I don’t drink, and so I must be content with banging my head on the desk.


  13. Sounds familiar … except when I make a call and the service is so good and the person goes above and beyond.
    For example – When I switched from Microsoft to Apple, it was tough for me to adjust to a completely new way of using the computer. The customer service people were delightful. I am a huge fan.
    When we had a tree crash into our garage during hurricane Sandy. The insurance adjuster was patient and kind… and even suggested how we could make the most from the claim.
    There is hope!
    Oaky – I admit perhaps not with Comcast or Verizon … 😱


  14. I feel your pain, Kate. I also dread calling, even to friends. I don’t carry a smartphone – just a cheap pay-as-you-go cell for emergencies. When calling customer service centers, I often can’t understand them, even those that speak English, because they talk 110 mph. Slow down for geezers like me, please!


    • The first person I reached had an accent but I could understand him except that the volume kept going in and out. Hearing on a phone is hard for me to start with so phone calls are exhausting even without a problem to discuss. They often talk too fast or mumble.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. How did we get to this point? It’s crazy! Why can’t we just call people up and talk to them? Our health care system–the most expensive in the world by several orders of magnitude–doesn’t make sense. In a recent conversation with a doctor from India who is here for a few months working at a Seattle hospital, she said she’s mystified. In India she spends 90% of her time with patients. Here she spends 80% of her time doing paperwork, much of it for the insurance companies. No wonder they don’t have time to talk to you.


  16. Been experiencing the same problem lately. I cursed the computer up and down just last night. Argghh. Not ready to make that call yet!


    • It’s a painful call. I had to make one in January and I still feel the pain. I put this one off for 3 months struggling with freezing up and slowness. Computer was purchased last September and it has more quirks than any other I have ever owned! I thought they were getting better.


  17. Great post. I have a general distaste and distrust of insurance companies in any event, but I *especially* hate having to call them. Today I had to call my life insurance company about why they hadn’t debited my checking account like they’re supposed to on the 20th of every month. I never did get a satisfactory answer. For me, though, the REAL perpetrators of phone fraud are the health insurance companies. No matter why I might need to call them, they always seem to have their own agenda which has nothing to do with my reason for calling. Until I satisfactorily answer their inane question about, say, my latest prescription (very nosy if you ask me), they won’t get to *my* question. This happens nearly every single time I call them. I no sooner identify myself with their membership number, my address, etc., and they’re off and running before I can even ask my question!


  18. Great idea to combine yukky phone calls in one day! You are a brave soul though to face it. I usually spend weeks trying to solve such problems without resorting to one on one miscommunication and delegate such horrific challenges to Bill! 🙂


    • You are so lucky! My husband does a lot of the house calls like the cable company and phone company (he worries about my lack of patience and knowledge of bad words). These were both personal issues so I had to do them. The prescription issue isn’t fully resolved. Today I found out that I will need to see another doctor. The odd thing is that I am healthy. All I need is a bone building med.


  19. Everything is like this today. I am so sick of wasting my life this way. I wish I had a better attitude, but a better attitude is what has got us in this mess. I had nothing but trouble with ATT, Apple, and Verizon on our so-called vacation.


  20. Good idea to combine torturous phone calls to one day! However, the decision requires bravery. I try to assign Bill to such challenges after I exhaust all non speaking alternatives. Bravo Kate. You ROCK!


  21. I thought I was the only weirdo who didn’t like talking on the phone! Friends generally don’t get it when I tell them don’t call me…. shoot me an email! Phone calls are never made at a convenient time. I don’t pick up the phone when I’m driving or in a restaurant or in the bathroom!!! Whereas emails can be dealt with at any hour of the day when I have a few minutes (especially as now I can pick them up on my smartphone when I am out). As for help desks I went through a horrific experience recently when attempting to speak to a tech, not a sales person. FOUR TIMES I was transferred to another sales person when I was told it was the tech dept. I had to leave the house before the issue was resolved. When I got back home I thought I could pick up where I left off but oh no, I had to start all over again repeating my story three more times. I am afraid alcohol would have only worsened the situation and homeland security would have been knocking down my front door! When it all finally got resolved I did have a nice drink (or two) afterwards!


    • I am so with you. Much prefer emails. Don’t understand people on cell phones all day. I don’t even give my number out except to “text” people. Yes, there is that homeland security issue. I am a sane person (sort of, mostly) and I could see someone less sane going postal when dealing with a service company over and over and over……not killing anyone but certainly Yelping them or picketing (or is that old fashioned these days?). I am considering an Apple computer next round. I understand they are more reliable.


    • Our cable company recently set up a call center in northern PA. However, my husband called last week and he couldn’t understand the rep. Seems like they still hire English as a Second Language people. For seniors they are harder to understand for sure.


  22. i dread making those kind of phone calls. I went through a tortuous experience when my TV, internet and phone were all combined. Seems easy enough but I wasn’t being billed correctly. I FINALLY spoke to a manager who gave me her direct line and a credit on my account. I’ve got her name and number in the safe! 🙂 Glad you got you computer issues resolved. Put your phone on silent and enjoy that drink.


  23. Sounds so familiar. Technology that was supposed to free us and make life easier…
    Here: wine. No time waiting on mixing it.
    (Computers and insurance/health care calls …shiver. Not a phone person to start with and you know once you finally get to a live person, the frustration level is extreme. Hope things get sorted out easily or at least quickly)


Don't be shy, I'd love to hear what you're thinking!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s