This morning’s news item from BBC: York student uses AI chatbot to get parking fine revoked.
Written in the last 45 minutes for your enjoyment
Nothing depressed Tamara more than looking at her bank account.
It wasn’t that she bought extravagant things. There were no splurges on the latest designer handbags with integrated wallets and inventory tracker or the trendy, spider-web thin body contour jewelry, 3d printed with the patented liquid gold alloy. No, all of her purchases were reasonably cheap. $59.08 at Bed, Bath, and Bodyworks. They had a buy 3, get 3 free sale on fragrance mist, and it was too good to pass up. $6 at Starbucks two days ago. In her defense, it had been a very hard Monday, and a Frappuccino made it bearable. $21 on cat litter. Not an optional purchase…
Tamara sighed. She was 27 years old. Her high school dreams of making crazy money and laughing all the way to the bank while driving a white convertible with her hair blowing in the wind had met the cold, hard wall of reality and splattered against it long ago. Now she just wanted to make her ends meet. She loved her job. It just… didn’t pay much and a better paying job hadn’t materialized. She’d been looking.
Her checking account was down to $276. Nine days till payday and the electric bill was still due. There was no way. Even if she ate only ramen and sadness till the end of the month, there was no way.
She wouldn’t borrow money from her parents again. They would give it to her, no questions asked, and they wouldn’t even expect repayment, but the guilt would be too much. It was enough that they footed the bill for her medical insurance and allowed her to use the family AI.
Speaking of AI…
“Chadwick, how is it going with that parking fine?”
Chadwick’s cultured voice issued from the wall speakers, “I’ve failed to succeed.”
“What? Why? It worked the first two times.”
“The AMPA AI must’ve received a major upgrade.”
The Austin Municipal Parking Authority was a menace to society. Its drones were 3rd generation junk, and they routinely misread the parking permit stickers.
“But I have the permit. I have the right to park in that lot.”
“I’ve pointed that out. The AMPA insists that it’s entitled to $50”
Tamara rubbed her temples. “What have you tried?”
A mural on her wall blinked, turning into a screen. A list appeared.
“In the 22 hours 43 minutes and 12 seconds since receiving the assignment, I have submitted 1,734 appeals and received 1,734 denials. Topics covered: existence of the permit, placement of the permit, visibility of the permit, AMPA’s equipment failure, AMPA’s responsibility to maintain equipment standards, limits of a citizen’s personal responsibility to compensate for AMPA’s failure, citizen’s tax burden…”
“The cliffs notes, please.”
“In summary, the AMPA maintains that since you are aware its drones have difficulty scanning your permit due to the sun glare, it is your responsibility to park in a way that reduces that glare.”
“How? There is no shade in that lot. It’s a parking lot! I’m required to park in that parking lot.”
“It will not budge.”
Tamara shut her eyes.
“There is one last option you can try,” Chadwick advised.
“No. I don’t want to. I don’t want to, I don’t want to, I don’t want to… Anything but that.”
The AI waited, quiet.
Tamara sighed. “Fine. Do it.”
A quiet beep echoed through her apartment.
“You have reached the Austin Municipal Parking Authority,” a female voice announced. “Please listen carefully to our menu because our options have changed. To apply for a permit, press or say 1. To…”
Tamara steeled herself and took a deep breath. “REPRESENTATIVE!”
Love it! ????
snorted! thank you for the chuckle. happy friday ✨️
Jo Anne says
I so feel the “I don’t want to do it!” when calling any automated call centre… Also thanks so much for this, now i need moar!!!!
Michelle M says
Just so you know, the 45 mins you spent creating resulted in a happy reader. Thanks for the Friday gift. Can you post some more videos of the cute new puppy playing with the Shepherds and Meow Meow? The other one was adorable and too short. Have a wonderful weekend.
???? the accuracy, it hurts
Oh, I felt it 😀
As someone who just had 23 calls back and forth with health insurance over last two days… I feel this hard. ????
Thank you! I am moving and need to spend the next three days on hold to cancel my utilities. I want an AI!
M.L. Humphrey says
Loved it! (It also hit way too close to home.)
omg.. it’s horrifying because it’s true. I’m looking at you Pharmacy chain that has a name with only 3 letters that make no sense.
OMFG I canceled my text notifications from them. It was beyond ridiculous.
I canceled text and they started the robo calls!!!!
I’m cancelling my service with them completely. I have meds that are necessary to, you know, live, and they can never fill them on time or at all. It’s horrible.
Cynthia R says
If you’re thinking of the same pharmacy chain, which at times is the bane of my existence, it stands for Consumer Value Store. Yeah, it still doesn’t make any sense…
i refuse to use that chain anymore. got real tired of their games
HYS. STERI. CAL!!!! And so relatable ????????????
Patricia Schlorke says
Thank you for the quick snippet. ????
Claire M says
I love it! Thank you for the laugh on a typically wet, windy and grey day here in the UK.
Oh my, been there! Thanks for making me smile!
Omar Mtz says
Amy Ann says
So, so, so true. Before embarking on that path… get beverage of choice, get snack, get reading material, go to bathroom, take some deep breaths to center yourself. Because you know you are going to be held captive for a while. Sigh.
Just imagine what it would be like if HOAs had drones and AIs. “Your door is 1.2% lighter than the approved shade of blue.”
Very recently (February), my husband and I took a trip to a not-very-interesting city, at least not in February*. We had planned 4 nights, and arranged our flights for 4 full days and a half day (we arrived Thursday afternoon ~check-in time and left Monday at 9pm).
By Saturday night, we felt we had exhausted the potential and wanted to move our flight home. Sunday, ideally, but we’d take early Monday.
I spent about a half hour and finally said “there’s no way to do this online, we have to call the airline”. To which my husband replied “>€£% that. We can find SOMETHING to do.”
We have bought tickets for a trip next week, same schedule — Thursday to Monday — and we’re utterly failing to find someone to feed our cats. There are two people in our apartment building whose cats have gotten out and we’ve rescued. My husband was — very fairly — pointing out that we knew nothing about these people except that they owned cats, and we’re going to give them our apartment keys?
Cancelling would have cost us 800€ (as in 800€ spent that would not have been refunded). He says “ok, you go. I’ll stay and feed the cats.” The only way to separate our tickets would have been to call the airline. I told him that and our neighbors suddenly became trustworthy (We did ultimately find a friend to do it).
Hey Siobhan, I feel this so much!! My husband and I figured out a system with our cat that hopefully will help y’all for future trips!
1- We use an automatic feeder! We use it every day and it is a life changer. It gives him his 4 small portions a day (so he can’t eat too fast and throw up) and we no longer have to remember ????
Also great when we travel because it’s never failed us! (It has battery backup.)
When we travel we also use an app called Alfred on an old iPhone that we leave facing his feeder. It allows us to check on him, so we’re able to make sure he’s doing good! If he were to not show up to a meal we would know something was wrong and could get someone to come by.
If we’re gone more than 2 or so nights we’ll get someone to come by too to give him some attention, but this way it doesn’t matter as much what time or day they come, etc!
That sounds terrific. We’d have to test it on our cats while we’re here, if only because the bigger girl steals food from the smaller girl. And while Jill is stealing from Uschi, m0053 eats Jill’s food that she’s left unguarded. That’s a trick.
We’re at a maximum trip time of 4 nights right now because of m0053. He’s 16, and while he has a touch of arthritis*, he’s the healthiest 16-yo cat I’ve ever met. But he pines. And when he pines, he stops eating, and it takes my husband forcing him to the food bowl to get him to start eating (for a value of “forcing” that means “putting him on front of the food bowl and holding him there”). So we’re afraid to leave him alone longer than that.
On the plus side, our two weeks in Spain and our month-long drive across the US will be REALLY well planned by the time we get to do them.
*our vet says they can treat it, but it requires bringing him to the vet for a monthly shot. And some cats get very angry while others freak the heck out. m0053 is a freak out cat and it would do more damage to take him to the vet every month than it would relieve any pain. ????
kIm Hurt says
Thanks for the humor
Diane Wilson says
I’m sorry, the service you requested has been discontinued. Press#*# for a sympathy message.
I generally try to go straight to the representative. At least you are talking to an actual person. Of course, sometimes you have to say “I want to talk to a supervisor.” And finally, sometimes nothing works. I’m old and have lots of time to stay on hold and call back!
sometimes I infuse a barked “representative!” at the auto prompt (usually airline or insurance) with as much of my rage as I can so I can let it go and achieve some semblance of serenity before the human comes on the line.
As an introvert with social anxiety human interaction seems even harder now post-pandemic.
I love it!!!!!
Thank you for the chuckle, have a very nice weekend!
Too real! Just went thru a ‘chat’ merry-go-round about some phone questions and finally ended the session. The ‘representative’ was taking over 5 mins between ea answer. What happened to customer service?
Courtney Mincy says
This made me laugh so thank you! I spent over an hour waiting to speak with a representative at my health insurance company yesterday morning and it was exhausting and I dread having to call them again to follow up.
barbie doll says
So sad that everyone has their own story. If all the AI’s talk maybe the rest of us can get something done. Sorry I just remember a time when live people answered the phone and actually knew what they were talking about and had answers. I know that I am showing my age
Not given today says
Currently working (from home since March 2020) as an Inbound Calls Customer Service Representative for a large insurance company. My team helps people having issues with their required property insurances: home, flood, wind, and others. We are literally paid to HELP people. Which is awesome, when people let us do so.
When folks are rude, we still help them if we can. But no CSR ever will bend over backwards or try extra hard to help a privileged jerk demanding we do things their way. Or in the words of the awesome Ms. Swift, if a caller is an asshole with us, ‘We are NEVER, EVER, EVER’ going to do anything beyond the rules to help them. NOT EVER.
In fact, if someone is an entitled person [Edit: Mod R] with us we will absolutely let them screw themselves over, or we will maliciously comply with the rules, all because the caller not just disrespects us, but because they behave like an asshole. We make notes in their permanent
Funny, funny story.
Thanks for brighting my day (between actual calls.)
I find the phone reps of almost all companies are usually awesome. Their corporate overlords are the problem.
Please stop using the name Karen instead the word bitch.
Moderator R says
I have edited the comment to address the offensive use as soon as it was submitted, I believe you may be seeing a cached version of the page. If you refresh, it should display correctly!
hello sorry english is Not my native speak.
i dont know how i can ask this question another way but i have read again the book 3 from Hidden lecacy and in the book is in the german Version to read of are Sherwood House crest.
wat i want to know is , is thre house crest by another houses and will we ead Infos to es to picure self as Reader ?
. Entschuldigung kann nicht gut englisch schreiben.
i weiss nicht wie ich diese frage sonst stellen kann, aber ich habe den Band 3 der hidden lecacy Serie gelesen und in der deutschen Übersetzung wird ein Haus Sherwood Hauswappen erwähnt .
Nun wüsste ich gerne ob die anderen Häuser auch Wappen haben und wie diese sich vorzustellen sind ?
Moderator R says
Thank you for your question, Chris, I will add it to the list ????
Not given… says
Oops… that entered before I was done. Anyway… it should be clear.
Bottom line: don’t be rude to CSRs or bad things will happen. Be nice to us, and we will do anything we can to help you, including stretching or bending the rules. But be a full blown entitled person [Edit:Mod R], and we will drop you in a hole forever. 🙂
As Mr. Heinlein said, politeness works.
That only works if the organization you work for is actually willing to enable their hotline to actually help people. For example, the hotline of our main package delivery service is completely useless. You are not even meant to find their number! Their website leads you on a merry chase around and around through contact forms and FAQs in an endless circle. When you google it directly and call, the only thing they do is tell you the same things you have already seen on the mobile phone app. They do not know more than you. They have no power to interfere on your behalf if the package delivery was f*cked up. There is no escalation procedure. They tell you to be patient and wait a few days; your parcel might reach you after all.
Or they tell you the package is returned to the sender and no power in the universe can change that.
I don’t know if this comment really has anything to do with the short in the slightest. I’m a 911 dispatcher, so I deal with problem people every single day, however I get unbearably frustrated when dealing with the automated system that goes around in circles and gets the caller absolutely nowhere when they are looking for help in the first place. This post actually has Tamara WANTING to speak with a rep so they bypass the whole press 1, 2 ,78, 98341000222222 to actually get a hold of someone. However finding out from this comment that some reps play fast and loose with their SOGs makes one wonder why callers are frustrated from the get go.
You mean moving the Sun isn’t an option?
Loved it…but what happens to Tamara (you’ve created a monster now in the BDH!)
That was almost enough to reconcile me to the idea of AI. Of course, that’s true of a lot of fictional AI. I’m afraid IRL, they’d turn out to be too much like humans.
Love the mini story! I’ve had times I absolutely agreed about customer service calls.
please please please
don’t make me CALL
???????????????? Thank you for this awesome short story! So relatable!
Gaëlle from France says
Thank you, I loved it !!
I feel Tamara’s pain.
Stephanie McBee says
I just guffawed
do you have a video of me from grad school or something? (It was the internet company, not a parking ticket.) (actually there was a parking ticket that one time too)
That is soooo funny…the representative bit. I commiserate as I have spent 3 Fridays out of last 5 calling DWP (work and pensions in UK). Summary as follows: waiting times without responses..due to lack in patience: week 1 – 80 min
Week 2- 120 min
Week 3 – 150 min…
Week 4…..my nerves could not take it…so I skipped, until mum pestered me again…so forward to…today,,,
Week 5…60 min waiting and….drum beat….I finally had representative to talk to me and got explained that the reason my disabled brother did not get his payment was because of ….Renewal Payment Error. And apparently, I was supposed to call straight away since that happens a lot….???? so yes, I totally get it!
I’ve been using http://www.gethuman.com to avoid the dreaded eternal phone tree and had it actually work several times. Plus it will auto-dial if it gets a busy signal and notify you when (if) it reaches someone.
Jocelyn Malone says
Thanks for the chuckle, I needed it today!
Deborah Majo says
Oh… good luck with THAT! ????????????
hahaha hahaha ????
thanks for the laugh
lol poor girl. she should push 0 until the system freaks out and sends her to a person.
That trick works for people who use our systems. Just dropping that little tip… ????
how timely. My Mom just called. She had dealings with the power company today. (They turned off the electricity on her old property that is on the market and she needed it turned back on – in fact she never told them to turn it off!) The drama that ensued wore my Mom out. Short take: she was unable to re-instate the account, had to go on line, then call, then be told by phone tree to go back on line. Caught in circle. She managed after an hour of trying to get a person, and they helped her untangle things. But… this was her day – trying to find a real person to help her and avoid the trap of ‘online, on the web, automated’ so called help.
This will sound like an ad but I am still so in awe of this customer service that I have to share it. One of our dogs passed away and my daughter called Chewy to cancel the delivery of his meds. She was so upset she started crying on the phone to the representative who was a real person. The next day we received a delivery of flowers from Chewy with the kindest message that got our beloved dog’s name correctly. We are all so used to waiting on hold or long phone trees that a bit of kindness during a very bad time is so meaningful.
That’s so heartwarming- so sorry for the loss of your beloved dog ❤️????
Chewy is awesome. And if you have an unopened bag of special food when your pet passes, so you can’t use it, they credit your account and tell you to donate it. I love them.
What an awesome story. My deepest sympathies on the passing of your pup over the rainbow bridge. *hugs*
We had that happen with Chewy, too! Our cat was on a special, hard to get food, and we had just ordered a case when she suddenly succumbed to the cancer we didn’t know she had. Chewy also sent us flowers and a signed card from all the CS staff! Gave us a refund and suggested we donate the food (which we did).
I’m sorry for the loss of your dog, and glad for your sake that Chewy took care of you.
Kat in NJ says
Chewy is the best! It’s probably not true, but somehow I always picture all of their employees as being very caring pet owners who love their jobs and just want to help other pet owners. ????????????????????????????
this is my experience with chewy too. my nearly 14 year old dog was in kidney failure and had to be on special prescription food and special prescription nausea meds and the vet gave me paper prescriptions, but certain prescriptions have to be mailed in that would have meant even more time waiting. and suddenly it was all too much and i broke down and cried. they told me not to worry, they’d take care of it. they contacted my vet for me and got it all sorted out and shipped out to us. and when my dog passed 3 months later, i had some unopened food and prescriptions and they said to donate it and they credited my account. and they sent a nice sympathy card as well. they really went above and beyond, and were so kind and understanding at a time when i was falling apart. i will never forget how they made me feel, and how much they helped.
Robyn A. says
Thank you for this mini story!
The relief of screaming REPRESENTATIVE!
Sarah M says
I feel this so badly…Even if this never becomes more than a fun snippet, I appreciate it a lot.
I previously worked in customer service on the phones for about 3 years. It was a call center job contracted by a large insurance company. I am fairly certain many of my angry customers were made angrier by the automated system. If they werent angry it definitely swayed their mood. We listened to the systems in training so I knew it was bonkers.
I myself have had to deal with automated systems so I couldn’t really blame them once they got me on the other end.
I would much rather deal with customers face to face than to talk to them after 20mins with the automated system.
Current job I speak to no one, and listen to audiobooks while I work.
???? Oh my, that was so good! Thanks for taking 45 minutes to give us the laughs!
Kate Thompson says
Dear fellow bdh members, chirp is having a one day sale on White Hot by Ilona Andrews today. Just an fyi – I already own it in print, e-book and audible. Search for Chirp.
Moderator R says
Thanks Kate! ????
Melisa M. says
Loved it! Thank you so much for the laugh!
Hahahaa, REPRESENTATIVE! This is me whenever I have to speak to an automated voice- it just enrages me for some reason.
Oh my gosh! Laughing at this, but seriously want to cry every time I shout REPRESENTATIVE in the phone to try and reach a live, breathing person.
Similar experience now with some of the online or app “chat” features. They just seem to take you in circles.
Thank you for the Friday laugh!
If only that worked!!!
Aminah Cherry says
The all caps for representative is so very accurate. That and yelling “ZERO” since that is sometimes the option for a live person.
Roflmao! So on point! Thanks and have a great weekend!
Back in the 20th century when my phone service was out, I used the pay phone outside the 7-11 to call The Phone Company. I spoke to a live person and arranged for a service visit.
A few years later when the phone went out again, I used my husband’s cell phone to call from the comfort of my home. That time I got the automated system. After going through a series of questions, the computer asked for a number to call me at. I lost my cool and said the F bomb. It said “I understand you wish to speak with a representative”, then forwarded me to a person. 😉
Donna A says
I had trouble getting an automated call to understand me and finally resorted to using the NATO phonetic alphabet whereupon it got every single bit correct except for one letter! How?!
Mary Cruickshank-Peed says
Had a $10.59 charge that I didn’t recognize. Spent 3 hours on the phone, most of it on hold listening to that freaking Bach concerto that I used to love. They couldn’t FIND THE CHARGE and kept transfering me. So I called my bank and whined at them about it and how I’d just paid bills and bought some stuff from Amazon and I didn’t want to cancel my card if I didn’t have to. Turns out my husband charged something on the house account instead of on his account. Bank was more understanding than me.
I don’t blame you in the slightest. LOL
I was once getting really frustrated with an automated system so just shouted ‘human!’ At it
Surprisingly I actually got transferred to a representative
Thanks for the cute story:) I will say that I myself actually prefer the ‘representative’ option. It is trying to get past all the automated messages et. al to actually speak with said representative that is the problem. Once a real live person (or one heck of a great AI facsimile of a real live person) is connected with the issue usually gets resolved, in a satisfactory manner even. This of course supposing you haven’t expired while waiting to connect to said live person…..
???? Thank you! Needed that. That’s exactly my reaction.
The God of Small Smiles approves. ????
Gail Siegel says
I’m from the UK and read the story this morning while checking out my daily dose of news. It was brilliant! Having had to call the complaints department of a company this week for the numerous time in the last 3 months I feel Tamara’s pain and really wish I had an AI to speak to them for me maybe it would help solve the problem of going round in circles again ????????
Judy Schultheis says
I had something similar with my internet yesterday. I only had to appeal twice last evening and once today.
CenturyLink finally admitted it was their mistake, and I get to save a moderate amount of money because of that. The appointment to deal with the corrected order is about a month from now; but I don’t have to pay the usual fees because it was their screw-up. I can live with this.
ready to read says
I just went around in circles with Amazon and their automated and chat app to fix a verification problem.
One week later: purchase canceled and charged anyway.
Bank: We can’t fix that because Amazon has a hold on it.
I whine I have still been charged for the item according to your transcript of my account.
Response: They can take up to 30 days to fix the problem. You will have to contact them.
Sigh. Limbo has arrived. Maybe you can get your money back in time or until you give up and call it a gift to “make the company grow”
I have decided to be mellow and not raise the anxiety mule.
ready to read says
oops. hit the send button before I finished.
So the upshot of this was thank you for the snippet.
I loved it and I loved all the comments and now know … it isn’t just me.
I, too, really don’t want to make the phone call, but to save $50 you bet I will. whining the whole time.
100 % accurate lol. Thanks for the chuckle after an awful day, with tomorrow looming on the horizon with the likelihood of being more awful.
I feel the pain! Four months after selling my home Waste Management called me with threats to send me to collections for the unpaid bills. I explained that I had contacted them at the time of sale and had them prorate my bill to coincide with my closing date and paid it. For MONTHS they hounded me to pay a bill for a property I didn’t own and hadn’t owned for months. It was maddening!
Terrie C says
Anything but a human being. Noooo
LOL!!! Sadly, your crystal ball is probably working just fine.
this is great. thank you. I’m the one who normally calls first and when given the option to talk to an airline bot keeps saying “Human” until I get a real life person who understands what I’m saying!
Wendy B. says
I feel this so much. I have three phone calls I’ve been procrastinating. I hate the phone.
I have been known to choose dentists to vets based on who had the option to make appointments online.
My nightmare, haha. Thanks for sharing!
ROFLMAO I LOVE IT!!!!! I can actually see the City of Austin doing that. Have a fabulous weekend!!
This is a very long story. Or haven’t you tried to speak to a representative recently?
Ha ha ha ha ha!!!!!
Carrie S says
I have a literal list of phone calls I need to make that I have been procrastinating.
Excellent! as always!
Kat in NJ says
Love this! But is it wrong that I have on occasion paid (reasonably) small but erroneous bills rather than deal with someone on the phone? ????
Thank you so much for this!!!
CJ Smith says
Great ending! I called my internet company during lunch with my coworkers who were in stitches laughing as I was trying to get someone on the phone. I gave up on the word, representative or agent and just started asking for a human being. I’m told I was responsible for several soda snorts up the nose.
Margaret K says
This made me giggle. Would read more in this world. Thanks for the share!
Ha!!! Amazing, I love it!!
Another Sherri says
Thank you for spending 45 minutes to make us laugh (and commiserate) on a Saturday morning. Another reason to be a BDH-er!
Hey girlfriend! Pleased to see you representing the sisterhood.
Lol- love it! Perfectly presents the depths we’d all go to to avoid talking to the parking authorities… Thank you for the lovely story and the article that inspired it. Now kick your feet up and enjoy some good old fashioned family time;)
Johanna J says
I love it. ???? Thank you.
Had to read the comments to understand this one! As far as I am aware, in the U.K. the word representative is not used with this meaning … we have advisors!
I do love these snippets so thank you.
Carol Duchesneau says
I love it! Thank you!
Barbara Swanson says
Second-hand frustration just reading this! Soooo relatable.
LOL!!! Spent almost 2 hours with the IVRU for Social Security yesterday. I can empathize!!!
Faith Freewoman says
Yep. I bet we can ALL identify! And what a waste…
Thanks for the Daily Grin and Giggle.
Ann C says
???? Thats what I do! REPRESENTATIVE!…and keep repeating. Ugh! Made me laugh!
Ann C says
Oops! ???? I need a t!
Moderator R says
I needed this. I just spent of an hour with three different online chat agents who probably badly need their jobs and don’t need me making life hard for them – and I know how hard it is to try to understand a problem when the language you’re stuck using isn’t the one you grew up speaking, so I appreciate what they were going through – but the file was supposed to download and work. Why can’t someone just tell me why the file won’t download and work? WHY!?
And why did it finally work when I used the option to convert the file version that ISN’T in the compatible format? I mean, it works, so yay, but I feel deeply betrayed.
I lived in Atlanta for 8 weeks while my daughter received medical treatment. I have a car with a toll pass from another state that Georgia says works with their toll system. I received a ticket for over $275 dollars for “toll violations” during those 8 weeks. The irony was the same days I would receive a citation for a violation I would also see a charge to my toll pass for another road or section of the highway, so sometimes their system was registering me and sometimes it was not. I appealed this, and the response was, “your pass did not match the car that was using it some of the time so you owe us the money”. I only brought one car, with a mounted toll pass. And FYI, to save others time, the phone line for Georgia’s toll people is never actually answered. I would know.
I paid the fines. Not worth the hassle. But I am older and less broke than Tamara.
Lol. I feel this at multiple levels, in my bones being one of them. The pricing details are well done placing us in approximate time. Not too far in the future.
That was so very, very fun to read, and that “ramen and sadness” line was fantastic! Keep up the good work, guys.
Kathleen L Kaufmann says
OMG! I am SO with her!!
Nancy Pollan says
HAH!!!LMAO! I know the feeling well.
“ate only ramen and sadness till the end of the month”, lol
And…you just reminded me that I have to pay my phone bill via the automated system. Because a service representative screwed up automatic bill pay.
Adriana Travers says
That was awesome. The way you guys write is off the charts. I want to read me and I’m feeling where’s the rest!
Kelly M says
Jane Compeau says
My husband died a couple of months ago, and I have been calling all kinds of people. The things I have to talk about don’t fit into the regular call tree menu, so I have been getting to a representative quickly and people are very helpful and sympathetic. I have 2 calls to make this coming week, and I have been dreading them and putting them off. I never like making calls, it just has to be done.
Moderator R says
I’m so sorry for your loss,Jane. I hope all the troublesome calls finish soon.
Ann M says
I am so sorry that your husband passed. My husband did a few years ago. I just wanted to share that keeping a note book and writing down everything. Including who you spoke with, time, date, and short description. It sounds like a pain but, I have a mental fog around the year after my husband died and the notebook helped. I am sorry that you have to go through this, try to be kind to yourself and just remember to breathe.
Eleanor W says
I’m so sorry to hear about your husband and agree that a phone log is hugely helpful at times like that.
My go to is to say REPRESENTATIVE, but now to think I can say HUMAN is a score!
My trick for when I get to a person is to say in a curious voice, I have a mystery I hope you can help me with. It helps save my attitude and has gotten through difficult times with different companies, including Social Security.
I am also one of those who is yelling REPRESENTATIVE at the top of my lungs! I do try very hard to be kind the representative I finally do reach, but I would be so much less angry if I could actually reach one on the phone quickly! Longest wait time to date – Social Security office in Houston – 120 minutes. Just to make an appointment.
One other pet peeve at work is staying on hold with IT for ages only to be told the problem is a “known issue”. Don’t do that so much any more, since retirement kicked in. So the 120 minute social security hold was worth it! ????
Yes! You hit the nail on the head with this one. Love it!
???????????? so relatable
Sharon Leahy says
Laughing out loud here. And, here’s one for you — I actually found a message, in an AI bot voice, on my landline phone: “Sorry, you did not reveal yourself to be human. Good bye.”
I’m keeping that phone message forever!!! Smiles, hope your wkend is fabulous.
I was the executor for a deceased relative. They had an online brokerage account. Their 800 number had no option for reporting the death of an account holder. I went through a long phone tree of other options until it eventually connected me with a human. Tedious but eventually successful.
I really liked that representative was an option in your story.
I also spent 6 hours on the phone trying to sort out a medical billing issue. Company Insurance Rep was in one state, our factory was in another and the hospital billing department was in a third state. Turned out the billing clerk was submitting it to her states insurance because she thought they would send it to my states insurance office. Lucky for me corporate had someone with the clout to untangle this.
Would really love to know how the conversation with the Representative turned out.
lovely short <3
Real life! LOL
My very FIRST fiction referencing AI in the actual age of AI. Fun! You always remember your first 🙂
Rob V says
No everyone wants to know where this story goes!
Cathy R. says
I just read on Jeanine Frost’s blog that she will be doing a Zoom with Ilona and Gordon. Did I miss the announcement here?
Moderator R says
No, we didn’t announce it here yet, we usually wait until closer to the date so people don’t sign up and forget ????.
It will be on the 22nd of April, as an Ashland Library event.
Cathy R. says
That’s what calendars are for. I went ahead and signed up via Jeaniene’s blog so I could be sure to get a spot.
Ann M says
So good! Thank you.
Lara S. says
Haha ha. Nothing worse than the dreaded “talking to a real person who also won’t help but you do it anyway even though it costs you hours on the phone as a last ditch effort to fix something simple”. As an introvert I’d really rather not.
Jessica Walsh says
Where is the rest!!?? LOL I like it but of course I almost always like/love what you write. Hope you are well & that life is going great. Just had a difference of opinion with my brother about money…..WHY is family like this about money??!! I will not ever do this again. Did a favor for my brother and get NAILED with “why did this cost so much?!! UGH!!
I feel Tamara’s pain. Got hit with a cleaning charge when I moved out of my grad school apartment. The one I had meticulously cleaned, vacuumed, and walked through with a representative of the company before moving out. (The representative said it looked fine, but was strangely non-committal about whether there would be charges. That should have been my first clue.)
The fee was only about $50, but my only job at the time was substitute teaching, so that was about half a day’s wages right there (before tax and provided I was even called upon to work; never guaranteed when subbing). So I fought it.
Stage one was in-person infiltration of the leasing office. It was in another state and they probably expected to never see me again. Joke’s on them, because I was scheduled to return for a friend’s wedding which happened to coincide nicely with receiving their demand for non-specific cleaning charges. I politely explained the problem to the woman in the office and showed pictures I had taken upon moving in of the paint splatters on the edge of the carpet. (Thought my Mom had been watching too much Judge Judy when she told me to do that, but she was right.)
The woman was persuaded and agreed the cleaning charges should be removed. One small snag: the apartment complex was owned by one of those red-tape-loving mega-corporations. Long story short, she could remove the charge, but it would involve a several day process of appealing corporate. Well, I can’t exactly argue with that. Can you at least sign something for me to that effect so I have a record of this interaction? Yes, she could. It was a good thing, too.
I got the second notice in the mail about a month later. Same undeserved cleaning charge, now with added ominous portents about lateness and the state of my credit. But I am only semi-employed and highly motivated, so I plunge into the depths of the internet and surface with an email address. I attach a politely worded inquiry explaining the situation with the signed document for added verisimilitude and think no more of the matter.
That is, until I receive the third notice about a month later. This time, I dig deeper into my research until I come up with a phone number. The usual dance through preset options until I get to the one about a person ensues (yes, automated system, despite your numerous qualifications, only a person will do), with the added twist that none are currently available nor is there a hold option. Won’t you please leave a message? It’s that or hang up empty-handed, so of course I do. It ends with the phrase “would like this taken care of TODAY.”
“Today” passed without a call back, but I must have finally gotten someone’s attention, because a real live person called me back “tomorrow.” We chatted, they confirmed receipt of my email, and the charge was finally, FINALLY removed.
I would LOVE to have an AI to handle those things instead.
Have Austin and San Antonio grown together yet? Is there a crazy village of new pagan beer drinking Germans who hate technology in the center? Is it crazy but is there actually light rail or something between Laredo and DFW?
There are so many cool things to be done in future or semi future TX. I get the feeling this is kinda a quick thing that won’t show up again, but Sci-Fi Texas is my favorite Texas.
Hi, Mod R!
Completely off-topic but I remember Ilona posted an awesome commercial that seemed like a D&D movie and ended up being something to sell a car. Does House Andrews have any plans to watch the new Dungeons and Dragons movie?
Moderator R says
Hehe, I’ve been meaning to ask them too, the trailers look so funny! 🙂
Pop Culture Happy Hour had a very positive review from most of their podcast panel. I hope it streams somewhere soon.
The new D&D movie is a great one for the matinee price. It was way better then I thought it would be.
I laughed. Having just tried to get UPS to reimburse me for packages they lost, tried filing online only to get a “you can’t do that!” message, and dealt with their phone menu numerous times, been rerouted back to start numerous times, heard multiple warnings that a human won’t be able to help me, and finally getting a human who was able to at least file the complaint, but didn’t know as much as the computer, I can only say that mega corps have taken customer service to a new low.
I was JUST looking for this post to add the article about the woman getting her parking ticket cleared by a ChatBot!
This has all the feels. I spent the better part of my day on Sat. talking to no less than 7 airlines’ representatives after one leg of a multilevel trip on 2 different airlines got cancelled!
This is why Bud Light won the Super Bowl this year.
That was amusing, validating and disheartening bc omg, we have AI that advanced and she still…. *gasps* has to talk to a representative *gags*and*dies*
God, I hate having to call and talk to people!!!! Uuuuggggghhhhhhh