After spending way too much time dealing with bureaucracy and automated telephone systems, I’m ready to shoot the next robot who asks if I entered my phone number correctly. I think customer-service personnel are trained to speak extra slowly and frequently ask if you understand. If you have all your faculties and are not yet impaired, it is extremely annoying.
Even worse are the automated menus and recordings. Some time ago I found a way to defeat them so I could talk to a human being. If you don’t know the magic key—often, but not always, zero—you can be stuck for what seems like hours talking to a machine that is no help whatsoever. I used to speak gibberish to them, and after a few, “I didn’t quite understand what you said,” the menu robot would refer me to a speaking person.
Now I’ve found a better way. When the automaton answers, “I didn’t understand that,” I respond with a running stream of abusive language. “Of course you didn’t understand! You’re a machine, for God’s sake! You can’t think or talk, you can’t tell me what I want to know! I want to speak to a living, breathing agent. Do you understand?! … ” This action on my part serves two purposes. It not only gets me a real person, it allows me to vent and feel slightly less angry.