It’s funny how a few words can speak volumes about the state of our world and how much stupidity is in it. Just recently, we finally got Bell to fix some pretty expensive errors they’d made in our bill. In an attempt to make up for the errors, they offered us a whole pile of services for cheap. This sounded like a pretty good idea, so we took them up on it.
This morning, we got a call from Emily, their cute little automated phone assistant with the super perky voice. You know how I feel about Emily, but this time, she was pretty cool. She, er, it, told me that all my services were enabled, and if I wanted help on any of them, I just had to press the right button and it would be there. I decided to learn a thing or two about our new bells and whistles, and hit the button for call forwarding. The voice told me that if I wanted to forward calls to a number, I should lift the receiver, listen for a dial-tone and then dial *72, listen for some beeps and dial the number where I wanted my calls to go. Then I noticed that each time there were instructions on how to activate, deactivate or change a service, Emily helpfully informed me that I should lift the receiver, listen for a dial-tone and dial whatever I should dial.
I thought it was weird that they felt the need to tell us that before we could activate something, we should actually pick up the phone. Then I thought that wasn’t the part that was truly weird, because some phones are all fancy and have buttons on them to control services. The part that seemed completely stupid was the part where they had to tell us that we should listen for a dial-tone before mashing buttons. Uh, yeah. That would be good. I wonder how many calls they get that go like this:
Customer: I can’t change the number of rings my phone does before taking a call to that answering machine thing I have.
Rep: You have to pick up the phone and dial *94 and then specify the number of rings.
Customer: Yeah I know, but when I do that, nothing happens.
Rep: Did you hear a dial-tone?
Customer: There has to be a dial-tone?
Customer: I didn’t pay attention.
Ug. Wow. But then again, I’ve seen a friend’s parents pick up the phone when my friend is on it and just start pounding away on the buttons trying to call somewhere. Then he has to yell at them before they realize that their line isn’t dead, and someone’s actually talking on it. Maybe that’s who this is for. But I thought his parents were in the minority! I guess not.