Please Keep Failing – #1LinerWeds

This is a sad little tale of frustration. It’s made even sadder by the fact that for almost 30 years, I managed our company’s voice mail system. I know that when you don’t have an option to escape to a live operator, it’s the result of a conscious decision by some executive.

I had to interact with a financial institution, to correct an error my previous employer made. To gain access to my account, I had to “enter or say the numeric portion” of my account number. Then I had to “enter or say” my five-digit zip code. Then, because there’s no good way to enter letters, I had to “say my last name.”

I expected them to get this wrong, since my name is pronounced “An-ton” but is spelled “Antion” – nobody every gets that right. When it said my name back to me, it was unrecognizable. I was hoping to be routed to a representative.

No such luck:

“Please spell you last name slowly and clearly.”

“Ay   En  Tee  Eye  Oh  En”

“I heard, “A n t o n i o i n e – Is that correct?”

This went on for six cycles and that spelling was as close as the system ever got to my name. I tried pressing zero. I tried asking for a representative. After the sixth attempt, the system gave up on me and transferred me to a human being.

This post is part of Linda G. Hill’s fun weekly series One-Liner Wednesday. If you have a one-liner, If you would like to join in on the fun, you can follow this link to participate and to see the one-liners from the other participants.

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  1. You described the situation that many or all of us experience at one time. The only experience that is equally frustrating is when you do reach a person after those six tries and it is an individual whose first language is ‘not’ English. I’m so ‘mature’ I remember when each company had a department with designated ‘customer service’ reps. :-)

    Liked by 1 person

    • I guess I’m lucky, Judy. When I did get a human on the line, she spoke English and was helpful. Between the two companies involved, I spent almost six hours on the phone. I remember when it was easy to get to a knowledgeable person.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Very funny 🤣 I’ve been trying to get help for 3 weeks for a computer issue. Many frustrating hours. I need an expert not the inexperienced first line tech. I am finally getting moved up the ladder. Long waits and many repeats of my info on automated systems. Days wasted.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Dan – I try and avoid them … I walk to town to ask a question if necessary – or I write to them. I try and avoid giving my email out, unless I have to … so frustrating – one has to pluck up courage …

    Glad to see things (plant lives) are coming along – lots of pine cones … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

    • Giving out your email is an invitation to mountains of spam. These are people I need to hear from, and this was about an error that had to be fix before I can file our taxes. I had no choice but to hang on the line.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. These automated systems can drive you to drink! To make matters worse, sometimes none of the options they offer address your specific problem. Then, just before you’re about to take your last breath because you’ve been on the phone for so long, a human comes on WHO DOESN’T SPEAK ENGLISH! )(0-$#@%…[€<}}§…{

    Looks like you caught MuMu once again before she had a chance to put her makeup on! Sheeesh, when will you learn?

    Maddie found a sculpture of a baby dolphin on a stand.

    Looks like those geese need a few more formation classes, but they’re doing much better! 🤗

    Old Glory waving proudly. Not deterred by the wind at all.

    Terrific shot of the plane and the brilliant sun.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Baby dolphin on a stand? Thanks for clearing that up, Ginger.

      Those geese were in the process of changing formation. I guess the lead goose only flies there for so long. I was tempted to yell, “Recalculating!”

      I got lucky with the plane. I couldn’t see anything – point – shoot,shoot,shoot.

      That poor flag has been getting a tough workout these past few days.

      It’s snowing here now. I hope you’re having a good day.


  5. Oh, Dan–you captured every conversation ever with this post. I laughed! ‘Enter or say’–I always wonder which one is easier for them. I had to do this yesterday to renew a prescription. The computer asked how they could help me (what a joker!), so I said, ‘Renew a prescription.’ Their response to me was, “You can speak in complete sentences.” I said something along the lines of ‘what the hell….’ and they said, “I’m sorry but I didn’t understand that. Let’s try again.” Do they record everything we say?!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Haha. I’m not sure inviting you (or me) to speak in complete sentences is a good idea. Our system was programmed to record answers to questions that we asked, but those answers were reviewed by humans who did the follow-up. I knew there wouldn’t be an automated fix for my problem. I needed to speak to a person.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I really dislike the voice prompts. I’ve had similar issues with the other end not understanding me. Funny, since I’ve had a few people comment that my diction is good. Maybe too good?

    Have a lovely Wednesday, Dan, and give the furry kuds a few skritches from me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • We had so many problems with the voice prompts that the truly important communication we had from our customers, we went back to a live answering service – in America!

      Female voices are easier for automated systems to understand. The quality of the phone systems plays a big role. If the company tried saving money there, too, you may not have much luck.

      Congrats on securing Aaron, that must be a relief. Have s great rest of the week, Mary.


  7. The other huge frustration is waiting on the phone for a live person. Yesterday I waited on hold for over an hour to speak to a live agent at SSA. Fortunately, she was helpful, and spoke excellent English.

    The Spring birds are returning here too. I saw a Golden Crown sparrow last week, and a Turkey Vulture, and last night the Great Horned Owl was in my neighbors tree hooting up a storm. Letting everyone know it was back I suppose. 😀 I loved hearing it!

    The ice sculpture was neat or was it an iceberg? 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Do you remember the song about having “tears in my ears”? (I wouldn’t ask that question of just anyone, you know.) That’s what comes to mind. There is no way of getting through any of this automation without crying or talking myself down from shooting the phone. As for MuMu, she seeks privacy in front of the window? The inscrutable cat. Which is all those I’ve ever met. I love the photo of the birdhouse — it appears to have lots of interested tenants!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Homer & Jethro? Yes, I remember. I’m getting closer to those tears. Today’s adventure is a voice mail system that doesn’t have an option for the department I need. So, I’m picking others at random and hoping they can transfer me. I’ve been hung up on twice. The third guy did try. I landed somewhere but I’ve been on hold for 18 minutes with some really horrible music.

      I’m not sure MuMu considered that while I can’t see her, the neighbors can. Oh well.

      I’m wondering if the price on those units has goon up as much as the price on human housing. We may end up with more birds living under a bridge this year.

      I hope you’re up and over the midweek hump and cruise into a nice weekend.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I see signs of spring in your photos, Dan. Yay! And those phone systems can be very frustrating. At least you eventually got to a person. I’ve been stuck in those loops before with no way out. It’s aggravating.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I have a voice mail problem when I call my mail order pharmacy. There is an option to speak to a representative, but there is another call tree claiming to be sure it is the right representative. Only when you say “representative” to six questions in a row does the system let you go. Sooooo frustrating. They also collect a bunch of information, and then the rep asks for the same info over again. I liked the photo of the lilac buds—a sure sign of spring.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s so aggravating when they make you peck in your life story on a keypad and then ask you to repeat it. I think I know why that is, but I’ll skip the technology lesson for today (the representative is remote). I’m working on one last issue, and I think they might be playing baseball at PNC Park before I get an answer :(

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I wish I could say that sort of thing hasn’t ever happened to us, but alas. My husband always starts out saying “Representative” over and over and eventually gets a person. Sometimes pressing 0 works and I always say “Customer service” but as you say, sometimes it takes a number of tries. Very frustrating.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Yes definitely a fish out of water? Pun intended ♥️ I have had that same experience only worse because I changed my address and this new building of apartments is not recognized yet by anything. So they say there is no such ZIP Code that contains that address. It’s been three months that this structure has been standing and still causes complete frustration. I have an ordinary last name they insist on adding an “s” to🙄😳😂

    Sent from my iPhone


    Liked by 1 person

  13. I think these automated voice systems are actually a precursor to a full out invasion by AI. They wear us down and then lock us out and we will be helpless. And I think your snow structure looks like a rabbit in full flight.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Teagan. I know you suffer with trying to spell your last name. Some days, you have to just play the game until it ends. I’m glad you like the pictures.


  14. I am reminded of the time on the TV show when Bruce Banner was in a public telephone booth (what’s a public telephone booth, Gramma?) and having so much trouble with either a recording or an obtuse string of receptionists that he … yes … Hulked out.

    Liked by 1 person

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