When Your OUTRAGE Fizzles into a Puddle of Embarrassment

Funny - When Your Outrage Dissolves
So then…I dial again — gritting my teeth; furrowing my brow; panting in short, sharp breaths. No, not preparing for an obscene phone call. Just trying to reach my bank.

My bank, which has somehow managed to lose my money – or its mind – for I’ve just been informed by a very indignant store clerk that my check has bounced, causing no small amount of concern on my part, since I’ve written about 5 more checks since then.

My bank, which apparently has fired all human employees, and replaced them with machines.

My bank, which insists I locate the source of the discrepancy myself on their handy-dandy website, which is currently inaccessible to me since I have lost/forgotten/or-perhaps-never-even-possessed-in-the-first-place the dadgum password.

Ring ring ring. Metallic voice offering 4 options. Press button. Metallic voice requests input of my account number. Input number. Metallic voice offering 6 options. Press button.

Disconnected. Again. My blood is boiling.

Cursing, I dial again. I will not be deterred. I will not deviate from this mission.

I will pursue this quest until I hear a human voice.

Ring ring ring. Repeat steps above. Bob head in time with musac version of “She’s A Brick…House”.

Finally a voice! A HUMAN VOICE!

“This is Brad. May I help you?”

“Yes, Brad, Brad, you may! Thank God you answered! I’ve been trying to reach a human there for over 25 minutes! I keep getting disconnected or transferred to other extensions. The recorded voices keep asking for my account number and I punch it in, but then they ask for it again. And several times, I swear I could hear laughter, which made me think that maybe they weren’t machines – they were just humans pretending to be machines and –“

“May I have your account number, please?”

“OK, Brad, that’s what the machines said. Are you…are you a machine, Brad?”

“No, I’m human. But I do need your account number.”

So I give him the account number, my name, address, mother’s maiden name, my bra size, my mother’s bra size and whatever else he can think of to ask and finally…he agrees it’s me.

“Now, what can I help you with?”

“OK, I need to figure out why you guys bounced my check when I should have more than enough money in my account to cover it!” I say.

“Well, we prefer that our customers examine their accounts themselves on the website, so you can detect the discrep—“

“Yes, yes, I know. But I need my password! I can’t log on to the website until I have the password,” I explain.

“You can obtain the password by calling 888-462—“

“No, no! I’ve called that number!” My voice hits high-pitched hysteria. “And I’ve pressed all the right options and I just keep getting passed from one voice recording to another! I mean, this is the worst customer service ever! Customers should not have to endure this just to get the answer to a simple question! Listen, Brad, I have spent 25 – no, wait, now 28 — minutes of my time futzin’ around on your phone system and I think the least you can do is tell me my password! SO IF YOU DON’T WANT ME TO CLOSE MY ACCOUNT RIGHT NOW, I INSIST YOU GIVE ME MY PASSWORD IMMEDIATELY!”

“Money honey bunny.”

“What?”

“Your password. It’s ‘money honey bunny.’”

“Really?”

“Yes, ma’m. That’s what you chose when you signed up 8 months ago.”

“Oh.” Pause.  (Seriously?  That’s my password?  I couldn’t have chosen something impressive like “bank-secura-lock” or something impersonal like “45bw7&#krt?”  I had to choose an adorable password like “money honey bunny?”  How embarrassing!) 

“Do you need me to spell it for you?” Brad asks, with a hint of sarcasm.

“Uh…no. Well…um. Is everything spelled like ‘money’ or like ‘bunny’?”

“Everything is spelled like it normally is,” he says snidely.

“Oh.” I say, a little defensively.

“But if that still escapes you, I’d be happy to spell the words for –”

“No, no, that’s quite all right. I can handle it from here. Thank you.”

“Certainly, ma’m. And is there anything else I can do for you?”

(Yes, Brad. You can take a flying—)

— Darcy Perdu

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(Do those automated phone systems and recorded voices make YOU lose YOUR cool? Any embarrassing passwords? (Be sure to mention the account numbers and secret pin codes too, please.) Share your customer service or bank stories in the Comments!)

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56 replies on “When Your OUTRAGE Fizzles into a Puddle of Embarrassment

  1. Hey Darcy! Lol I know exactly how you feel!! I hate those machines, but even the humans now are basically robotic in their responses. They read a script and basically memorize appropriate and acceptable answers. That’s why I just say “Can I talk to your manager” because they can be a bit more flexible. And even if I’m wrong, I’m going to waste at least 30 minutes of your time too because your system sucks and even though it’s not their fault, someone has to pay just like I did. :) Take Care! -Iva
    Awesomely Over-Zealous recently posted..Smells Like Fall SpiritMy Profile

    • Yes and it’s so frustrating when a company representative doesn’t know the answer to basic product questions — and I can hear them searching it online — and I’m thinking, I already tried THAT — I was hoping you’d know the answer since you work there! :o)

  2. I don’t know who thought of this, but I DO know they’re my kind of people. Some company—I can’t remember which—had an 800 number which was answered by a machine offering you a menu to reach the extension you wanted. It said to press 1 through 7 to reach a certain department. Nothing unusual, right? Well, not until it said, “To hear a duck quack, press 8.” I did & that’s exactly what I heard! The company had absolutely nothing to do with ducks. Someone just had a sense of humor–& didn’t want to waste option #8. I must have called them 50 times!

    • That’s genius! And how appropriate for your name too! Ha!

      • yeah, what IS that number? I wanna hear a duck quack too! :o)

  3. Ha. Yes indeed they make me lose what little cool I have left. When a live person comes on the line, I like to pretend I’m a robot recording, too. “To speak to the customer that called you, press or say 1.”

    • OMG, Cary, I laughed out loud at that! I am going to try that next time!

  4. I’m an Administrative Assistant so I have to make all of the phone calls to vendors and such that ALL HAVE AUTOMATED RECORDINGS. I cuss at them in the front of the office. I don’t even care – it just makes me so angry. I feel your pain.
    Ashlee recently posted..Terrible Twos Are Upon UsMy Profile

    • yep — and when I dutifully punch all the right numbers and options and account numbers — then I’m disconnected, that’s when I REALLY blow a gasket! blergle! (or other appropriate profanity!)

  5. April said:

    I hate HATE automated answering machines. I push zero like a crazy person. Or I will randomly push buttons until I find a live person who can then transfer me to whomever I need to speak to. I can say, however, I would be PISSED if they told me to find it on my own.

    • Yep, I’m with you — hate those automated machines! Sometimes they will give you the option “press buttons for such and such — but if you have a rotary phone, just stay on the line” so I pretend that I have a rotary phone so that a human will talk to me! And I don’t feel guilty about that one bit!

  6. Time to change your password, now that you’ve put it out there…

    I had to go into my account online to change the address since I moved. Despite the post office clearly designating on their site what my postal code is, the bank site basically told me there’s no such postal code in the province…
    William Kendall recently posted..The Need For SpeedMy Profile

    • good point!~ I should change it now! :o)
      that’s frustrating when the bank tells you the post office is wrong! yikes!

  7. Lady Anne said:

    I also loathe those automated answering things. When I finally get to a real person, preferably a manager, I often ask to be transferred to Personnel.

    “Why is that ma’am?”
    “Well, after that silly machine, I think you need a good operator, and I’ve worked switchboards for years.”

    • Ha – that is brilliant! I WISH they would have operators again at most companies — I LOVED talking to humans!!

  8. I hate machines, too. It’s gotten to the point where whenever I hear a machine I press ‘0000’ until they connect me to a person. It works most of the time.

    Don’t feel too bad about getting angry, I can be in the best mood ever but after 30 minutes of fighting with a machine on a phone call I’m ready to mess a b*tch up!
    Jane recently posted..Fit & Fabulous: August UpdateMy Profile

  9. One time a tech person was giving us a training on some new website and she asked a teacher to tell her his password so she could log in as an example. It was something like “cowgirls forever.” We all died.
    Jean recently posted..Until the stars fall down on meMy Profile

    • that’s so funny! reminds me of some of the crazy email addresses I see on resumes like “spicyhotmama” and “bikerdude44”

  10. Oh this is funny! I’m still grinning. I hate those auto phone systems. It seems as if every business now has one. Thanks for sharing because it has given me motivation to check all my passwords to make sure I don’t have something embarrassing as well. lol
    Debbie McCormick recently posted..Fall CandyMy Profile

    • yes, check those passwords! change that “snuffle-kitten38” to “falcon-steel99”
      :o)

  11. I despise waiting on the phone. I usually try to go into the bank, but going in doesn’t always help.

    I had a cheque held once at the bank. I didn’t really need the money right away but I was curious why they were holding it so I asked…

    Me – So why is there a hold on this?
    Teller – Well dear, sometimes with new clients we need to make sure the cheque is good before we can clear it.
    Me – New?
    Teller – It’s standard.
    Me – Could you please let me know the date I opened the account?
    Teller – Oh my god, you’ve been a member for 18 years.
    Me – Yep.
    Teller – And you’ve never bounced a cheque.
    Me – So, exactly how long does someone have to be a member before they’re not considered new?
    Teller – I’ll clear it right away.
    Me – And this will never happen again.
    Teller – And this will never happen again.

    Lesson learned, never be sassy to someone who’s just being curious. Poor lady.

    • That’s priceless! I love that you were a customer for 18 years already! Too funny!

  12. I hate when you have to speak your option, and inevitably the stupid machine on the other end has no idea what you are saying. I have found myself screaming my option at the phone, only to receive that calm, automated “Sorry, I did not understand that. Did you say _____?” Why is it so hard to employ actual humans?
    Bev recently posted..Guess who is going to be teaching her first class?My Profile

    • Oh, Bev, I hate that too! They keep saying they can’t understand me, so I enunciate slowly, I speak loudly, I contort my voice in all MANNER of ways to try to communicate my selection — and they keep responding with that recording, “I cannot understand you.” Sometimes my paranoia takes over and I think it’s a human who hears me perfectly well, but just keeps giggling softly and pressing that recorded message to mess with me!

  13. I wrote a similar post about calling the British Consulate a few months ago. It is insane how hard it is to get a human these days. Those voice recordings never answer any vital questions.
    Vivian Pitschlitz recently posted..More thanMy Profile

    • You’re right — the automated recordings never have the info you need! Sometimes, I’ll press every option (billing, tech support, sales, etc) until I get a human, then ask them to internally transfer me to the department I really need. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I just bang my head on the desk.

  14. press 1 – For a sympathetic comment
    press 2 – For a snarky comment
    press 3 – To hear me laughing loudly in the office like a madman
    Press 4 – for my rambling
    To hear these options again, please press #

    I see you’ve selected option 4… truly speaking (as a security guy) the bank should never be able to see your password. The password should be secured in a way that it just resembles jibberish and if you forget it, then you should be able to reset it or a machine should post you a new one.

    Think about it… Brad could read your or anyone else’s password – write it down on a bit of paper and post to his crazy Russian uncle who could log in from Moscow and take out all your money… I’m sure there’s some regulatory violations here if you wanna get all nitty gritty.

    You’re welcome! :)

    • ha! I love your selections for press 1, 2, 3, 4!
      but now I’m worried about Brad’s Russian uncle stealing my money! damn that Brad!

  15. BWAH HA HA HA HA!! That is without a doubt the BEST password EVER! I am pretty sure I might steal it! I am crying with laughter. P.S. Automated phones systems make me want to gouge out my eyes.-Ashley

    • ha! thanks, that IS a pretty good password. I’m thinking of changing it to “I-cant-tell-you” just to confuse the representatives when they ask me “what’s your password?”

  16. Julie said:

    The only thing worse than the stupid automated systems that really don’t want you to get any help is when you DO actually find a HUMAN, they too are from a country you are not familiar with and speaking a language you don’t understand. Hopefully they have enough energy to continue to pedal the generator so the call won’t get dropped… not that it matters that much, there is rarely a satisfactory conclusion.

    Argh. Technology. pffffft. I like people (mostly) and paper.

    You funny! :)

    • So true, Julie! Believe me, I love ALL the peoples of the world but I can barely understand the technical jargon needed to figure out what’s wrong with my computer, so if the representative’s English language skills are poor — it’s like someone explaining thermonuclear diffusion — in JAPANESE — with a GERMAN accent!

    • Exactly! I love calling my kids’ school because a very sweet lady named June answers in a cheerful voice and helps you with whatever you need. I want EVERY company to have a June!!!

  17. Customer service has definitely gone downhill these days. I had the snarkiest interaction with someone over at PayPal (and yes, I was a tad in the wrong) and couldn’t believe it! I’m glad to hear I’m not the only one! :)

    • You are definitely not alone!
      And I DO think that once you DO find a human, they ARE often snarky. (Of course, if I had to deal with the likes of ME, I’d be pretty snarky too! Ha!)

  18. HILARIOUS!!!

    I hate those 800 numbers that ask you to talk to them (“tell me what you’re calling for”, “for technical support, press 1”, “I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you…”). I’m convinced they are rigged to detect irritation in your voice, and the moment they detect it, your call is put on hold…forever.
    Dani Ryan recently posted..The REAL REASON my application to The Amazing Race was rejectedMy Profile

    • I agree! They DO have an irritation-detector!
      AND I’m convinced they’re laughing at me. The humans AND the machines!!

  19. AinOakPark said:

    Too funny!

    What I hate are the sites where you can’t have the same password as anybody else. After about six attempts, I am annoyed.

    At this point, I always select “F**k this s**t” and it always works.

    I guess no one else is as annoyed as I am…

  20. funny stuff and oh so true. I think Brad was a robot…

  21. Very funny story! I’m so glad I didn’t call the guy when I couldn’t remember my wifi password. For close to a year I haven’t been able to get into my own internet. Everytime someone was visiting and asked for my password I’d have to tell them I didn’t know and I’d throw a few out for them to try. The other day, just by chance I typed in my name just goofing around. Yeah, that was it. So glad I didn’t call and ask.

    • omigosh! how EMBARRASSING! it was YOUR OWN NAME? that is hilarious!!!

  22. Oh God yes! I can’t stand those things. Especially when I’m already frustrated about something before I even call. The machines just amplify anger and frustration!

    I loved your password though!
    Cara Lyn Erickson recently posted..My First TimeMy Profile

    • Ha! You’re welcome to use my bunny password too! I’m changing all of mine to something like “seriouspassword” or “stallion-grizzly-bear” so I’m not embarrassed if I have to confirm it with someone!

    • Blushing with embarrassment — but also — kinda proud of that password! Ha!