Why does every call to every single Customer Service Department start with a warning: “Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed?” Restaurant menus don’t change as often as phone options. And by the time they recite all eight options, you forgot which number to press. “This call may be recorded for training purposes.”

After the millions of calls they receive, you’d think these call center people from all those foreign countries would be trained by now. And instead of training them, they should teach them to speak English. “For security purposes, please provide your name, address, phone number, the last nine digits of your social security number, your date of birth, and your secret password.”

You quickly run through all those requests, but the synthesized voice returns, “Sorry, I didn’t get that. Can you please repeat it?” So, you say it ever so slowly and over pronounce each word. And then, “Sorry, that doesn’t match our records. Let’s try something else. What is the first name of your maternal grandmother’s first boyfriend?” Of course, you don’t know it, so you say, “Wojciecheki”

“Yes, thank you.”

“Due to higher-than-normal call volume, caused by recent issues with our products, and everyone at this location coming down with Covid after last week’s keg party, there may be a delay in reaching someone who can help you. We apologize for the delay. You are number 792 in the queue, and your approximate wait time is 167 minutes.”

You then get a recorded message from a female voice talent who had way too much coffee. She exuberantly describes all 28 benefits of the company’s product. But you know she’s lying because you’re calling about the product failing to live up to any one of them. Then the recording plays the military march by the North Korean Symphony Orchestra. It’s the only song they know and it repeats incessantly. After 20 minutes of this, I find myself marching up and down the hall, saluting my wife as she stands there gaping at me.

And finally, after a mere 166 minutes, the voice returns and says,

“Thank you for holding. Please press 1 for English.”

Pressing One does not mean you will connect to someone who actually speaks English, at least not the version of English you can understand. The pronunciation is skewed, and the grammar is brutal. “Goose mornering. Who do I pleasure to has to speak today?”

Having awakened from my coma after the exhaustion of marching for two hours, I answer, “Michael Fracciocomo.”

“Herro Mikielfacoccocomo. And what you last name is?”

“Fracciocomo, for chrissake!”

“Yes, Misser Facoccocomofocriissake. I’m here to helps you today. Please press one to Order, two for you Balance, three . . .”


Sorry, I not understands. Please press one to Order, Two for . . .”

In desperation, I press one, and I get a dial tone.

And that’s when it all went dark, and my mind went blank. When I recovered and became lucid, again, I knew I had to order a new phone, and replace the front window.