Have you ever called your credit card company to ask about a charge you think may be incorrect?
Well, here's what happens:
You dial the telephone number printed on your statement.
The phone rings.
The automated voice mail menu system picks up.
It runs through a list of options for you, none of which mention your problem. So you hit "0" hoping for a live person.
No such luck. The computer advises you that your entry is incorrect and to please select from the following menu of options, repeating the same useless list.
So you pick something remotely similar, like "To Pay Your Bill" and press "2" (or whatever number it was).
Then it gives you another menu, with none of the options matching your query. So you try again with the "0," hoping to speak with a real person.
This time, it seems to work! It says something like, A representative will be with you shortly. Please enter your credit card number.
So you enter your credit card number.
Then begins the "Hold Hell," which despite rhyming with Cold Hell is not at all similar to a "Cold Day In Hell," which would be an extremely rare event and therefore not as annoying.
"Hold Hell" is where they play annoying music in the background that keeps you from enjoying the music you were listening to at home. They also interrupt the bad music every two minutes or so with some sort of "announcement" about the bank or credit card offerings or whatever. Each time you hear the music cut out, your face brightens a bit as you think, "Finally! A person to talk to!" and then your heart sinks again as you hear the soft female computer-generated voice begin another announcement...
15 - 20 minutes later, a real person finally picks up but by then you are so engrossed in your online Sudoku game that you don't even notice until the person is saying, "Hello? Hello?"
And then you jolt to attention.
And then they ask you for your credit card number.
And so you say, "I know it has been 15 minutes, but I thought computers had pretty good memories. Didn't I just type that in?"
And the person says, "Well, but it doesn't show up on my screen, so I need you to tell it to me again."
So you do. And then it turns out this person is in the wrong department to help you and so you have to be transferred.
Again the computer-generated voice asks you to type in your number. Again you do so.
And then... another 15 minutes of "Hold Hell." Another online Sudoku game and a crossword puzzle and a quick perusal of failblog.org and postsecret.com and . . . .
Another person finally picks up the phone, jolting you back to the present. What's the first thing they ask you? . . .
. . . Right! [You guys are quick learners, by the way!]
"Can I have your credit card number, please?"