Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The trick is this:

"Shin Shin? Laissez les boudin? Moshi Moshi? Sin jamon?"

This made up phrase became my mantra after DAYS of frustration trying to reach a human being on the postal services 800-ASK-USPS line. I uttered this crazy concoction of words in my oh-so-syrupy-sweet voice. Not the yelling, vile, obscene voice I usually resort to after pressing every combination of numbers I could think of and screaming "Human Being" over and over.

O.K., I'll admit to being a terrible listener...and I'll blame that on my mother! My dear mother likes to talk... a lot. We joke in our family that she would talk to a stump. I learned as a little kid that if I were to have any time to think and just be, I had to learn to block out noise.

Add that to the fact that I'm BUSY! I run a very busy business that has grown extremely fast pretty much by myself. On top of that I teach and make and sell jewelry. Let's just say that there is always something I NEED to do.

So, when I'm on the phone, unless there is a sweet human voice talking to me, I pretty much block it out. Then I start pressing numbers, followed by yelling, and then cursing at the top of my lungs words that no Southern lady should hear, much less say! (I worked on movie sets for 20 years... forgive me!)

The whole reason I needed to call the post office began months ago when I found a gorgeous set of candle holders I just knew my sister would love. I had just returned from Baton Rouge, having gone there expressly to paint my sister's living room. She was redecorating for the first time in 20 years.

My sister has collected angels since a fellow cancer survivor gave her one the first time she was diagnosed with breast cancer. These candles were about three feet tall and very dramatic.

Knowing my sister was on fire to decorate... she's the type that doesn't give up when she's on a mission, I bought them even though it was months before her birthday and UPS'd them to her. They broke.... UPS crushed them. No problem, UPS sent me the 150 bucks and I bought another set.

Since I use the post office all the time in my business, I decided to use USPS to ship them. I took months preparing the layers of boxes and peanuts and the new angels arrived in Baton Rouge on my sister's birthday, Nov. 2nd. Broken.

Since that day, I've been calling and calling, every day, every chance I get only to end up screaming at the phone.

Finally, I called my local post office. I know almost everyone there thanks to living a tiny offshoot of Los Angeles. The person I spoke to (I don't want to get this person in any trouble) gave me some great advice:

"Just pretend you speak a foreign language. It'll get you right through to an operator!"

I was astonished and gushed my many thanks.

As we were hanging up, this person added. "Yeah, that's what we do when we really need to get through!"

I tried it and got right through! And since then, I've tried it with my credit card company... yep, got right through.

So, repeat after me all you dear friends stuck on terminal hold, "Shin Shin? Laissez les boudin? Moshi Moshi? Sin jamon?"


Sunflower Optimism said...

I hate the automated menus - I have a voice problem, so my voice is never understood. I get a "please repeat" until it finally gives up then I get a "have a nice day" and it hangs up. Some companies have told me that I can push the corresponding numbers, instead of talking.

The whole thing drives me nuts! Give me a person, please! This is progress?

CreekHiker / HollysFolly said...

Sunflower - I agree. I try to help myself online before ever calling, so when I do call, I want a human...not those stupid recordings!

I think the variety of languages is what helps...It realy confuses the machines.

Linda@VS said...

Thank you SO much for passing along this tip. Sometimes I think they make us navigate the phone-menu maze so that when we actually do speak to a human, we're so thankful we don't even notice that the human isn't particularly interested in helping us.

I'll try your foreign-language method next time.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Anonymous said...

Happy Thanksgiving to you, your mom and of course to Mabel! Carmon