Friday, August 14, 2009

Ask not for whom the BELL tolls …

BELL tolls me.
Or taxes my patience.
They haven't actually got RID of Emily; they just told her to stop telling everyone her name
"Hi! I'm (chirpy) Emily and I'm here to help (chirpily) you (in my twit-like voice) ...."
This morning I uncovered a July 6 bill for ~$100
I look through the 5 pages (3 double-side sheets) looking for a real number (I have problems with the 416-301-GRAB and 416-301-PAIN convention) and dial 416-310-2355.
The real number is on the back of page 1 and could have fit quite easily onto the front of page 1.
I mean, using both sides of the sheet makes it look like they are serious about saving paper, right?
But putting everything on Page 1 wouldn't hurt, would save me flipping paper and really WOOD(sic) cut down on paper.
They would have fitted their 5 pages (3 sheets) onto 4 pages (2 sheets).
A 33% increase in trees across Ontario right there!
But I digress.
"To help us better please key in your ten-digit phone number."
I do so, KNOWING that they are going to ask for it again.
"Please choose one of the following four options"
Could they be anything BUT following? There's a 16% saving in that sentence alone.
But I pick nits.
I elect to cut the cackle (operative syllable "cack") and press zero.
That always works.
But not with BELL.
"Before I transfer you to a live representative (as distinct from a dead one?), please select one of the following options ..."
If I wanted to press buttons I'd go to the new casino in Niagara Falls.
I just pressed zero to escape BELL hell.
I press zero again.
At last!
Polly (not her real name!) asks if she can help.
Yes, I just want to know my current balance so I can pay it.
"May I have your phone number?"
She wants to know where I live (Fair enough; there's little to be gained in giving out an account balance unless you are sure that the criminal mind was smart enough to steal the sheet of paper with the victim's address, or use the 411-reverse lookup on the web ....)
She also performed a sobriety test, asking me to read back the long account number (printed near the top of the page) with no formatting or spacing to break it up. You know, the old 8367590274062728456 convention.
(there follows a bit more scripted conversation on her part until ...)
I cut her short.
I just want to know my current balance so I can pay it.
"Is there anything else I can do to help you today?"
I am nothing if not a fast thinker.
$100 is FIVE PAIRS of "Caesar salad with grilled chicken and a pot of tea" for two at The Montreal Deli.
That's lunch (or supper) for two, five times over!
I said "Yes there is", and once she had issued the mandatory anticipatory breath I said "Pay it for me".
She declined, so we both experienced hang-ups.

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