Muzak, or why being on hold makes me want to smack somebody

Yesterday I had the fun of being put on hold. By two separate companies. It also involved money, which is always a touchy subject for me, but the money didn’t compare at all with having to sit and listen to smooth jazz for half an hour while a company figured out how to deal with my over-efficiency.

I’d placed an order for a camera for a friend, which was supposed to go overnight. It didn’t. So I did what would be the right thing to do, and that would be to talk to the shipper to get at least some of the money back. They got it to my friend second day, so they did deserve some of the money. But not the $36 they charged for overnight. That’s insane. So I called the shipper and had them refund part of the payment. But they had to refund it to the people who shipped the merchandise, which means I was not getting the credit, they were. So I called the company and explained the situation.

I was asked to please hold, while my ears were assaulted by what sounded like Kenny G on downers. I was falling asleep at my desk just listening to this crap.

She came back to me and said that they can’t refund it because I’d ordered after the cutoff time. Which a) was crap because I’d placed orders later than that before and still managed to get them shipped overnight and b) irrelevant because I’d already done the legwork and the asking and the shipper said they were going to credit the account. I told her this.

More on hold music. This time it sounded like Sade in slow motion.

She came back and once again explained (slower this time) that they couldn’t refund my money because I’d “ordered after the 12:30 cutoff time”, which by the way, was not enumerated on the site. I explained (also slower) that I’d already gotten the shipper to agree to the reimbursement. I just wanted to make sure that my work paid off by actually becoming a credit to ME and not just to the company.

By this point the pathetic on hold music or the operator’s pathetic attempt at trying to get out of giving me my hard earned credit had gotten me ticked. But the music was pissing me off the most. I’m just glad it wasn’t Celine Dion because I have a rule that I will do whatever it takes to avoid listening to her. This includes leaving the store or placing my hands over my ears and singing “lalala” at the top of my lungs until it’s over. It certainly means I’d hang up the phone if she was played on hold.

It got me thinking though. Know what would be great? being able to choose your own on hold music. If I was CEO, it would go something like this:

“Thank you for calling the Lolopalooza Corp. We want you to enjoy your time on hold as much as possible, so to listen to Arcade Fire, press or say 1 now. For the Decemberists, press or say 2 now. For David Crowder Band, press or say 3 now. For Radiohead, press or say 4 now. If you have crappy taste in music and zero imagination, say ‘Top 40’. To listen to early 2000’s alternative, say ‘Blink182’ or ‘Sum41’. They sound the same anyway. To listen to the standard on hold muzak, please call another company. Lolopalooza Corp wants you to enjoy your time on hold, remember??”

For the record I still haven’t gotten my payment issues resolved. She said to call back next week. Oh joy. Smooth jazz awaits.

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