December 2015

Home Security

Three times today my cell phone has rung. Each time it’s some company trying to sign me up for a home security system. Different phone number each time, different pre-recorded soundboard voice each time, but always the same spiel; it keeps prompting me with yes/no questions, then asks for a time of day when a “specialist” can call me back to arrange an installation. The most recent call, I said, “Right now. Don’t call me back, I’m available right now, put me through to someone.” The soundboard didn’t have a canned response to fit that, so the person pushing the buttons hung up on me.

A few minutes later I was called by a human being – maybe in response to that, maybe not. She went through the spiel, saying she’s from Alliance Home Security, every day so many people get robbed, yadda yadda yadda …

I cut her off. “Alliance? I signed up with you a month ago when you called! You were supposed to be here last Tuesday to install but I never heard from you!” This tripped her up; she asked for my name and address so she can look me up — “YOU called ME! Don’t you know who I am?” She apologized, said she’s only in the sales department… “It’s always the same every time you call, you never have my info and you always have to start over from scratch! Look, I’m done. Cancel my appointment, put me on your don’t call list.”

“Sir, you’re being unreasonable,” she said, sounding annoyed.

I sounded more annoyed. “A week it’s been, and no word! And then here you call and it’s like you don’t know me at all! Put me on your don’t call list.”

“We don’t have a don’t call list,” she replied sourly. I asked her what she does have, then. “We have a DO NOT CALL list.”

“Okay, then put me on that.” And I hung up on her.

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Windows Technical Department

The phone rang this evening. It was a man with a thick Indian accent. Hello, I am calling you from Windows Technical Department. I am calling regarding your computer.

I suddenly had an idea. “Good evening. How may I help you?”

Sir, we are calling due to numerous error messages we are seeing from your computer.

“I see. I can help you. Would you please tell me what version of Windows you are running?”

I – uh – Windows 7.

“Which version? Home, Professional, or Enterprise?”

Uh. Sir, I am calling about your computer, not mine.

“But you say that you’re calling me because you’re seeing numerous error messages. I can help you with that. What version of Windows, please?”

Sir … sir … This is Windows Technical Department –

“And you’ve reached the Technical Support Department. My department supports your department.”

– I can show you the error messages –

“Which office are you calling from?”

… Delaware.



“I see. Would you please read me the exact wording of the error messages you’re seeing?”

Sir, there are many errors regarding the registry and –

“The exact wording, please. Along with any error numbers you see.”

… Sir, please allow me to reconnect you. The line went quiet for a moment, then another Indian voice came on, slower and deeper than the first. Sir. We are calling from Windows Technical Department because we are seeing numerous error messages from your computer.

“I understand. Please read me the exact wording of the error messages, along with any error numbers you see, so that I can look them up for you.”

He started to say something, hesitated, then spoke again. Sir. This is not a problem on OUR computer. This is a problem on YOUR computer.

“I need to know exactly what you see so that I can help you resolve the error messages. Please read to me the exact wording and error numbers of the errors you are seeing.”

There was silence for a few seconds, and then he hung up.


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