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Longest time on hold?

Date: 26 JUL 94 10:51   
From: ARTHUR%MPA15C(at)MPA15AB.mv-oc.Unisys.COM
Newsgroups: comp.dcom.telecom
Subject: Longest Time on Hold?


My record for being on hold involved the Crocker National Bank in
California, now part of Wells-Fargo.  I had need to talk to a human
regarding my account, and I called them about 4:30 on a Friday, a day
in which the phone was alleged to be manned until 5 pm.  I got the
usual "all agents are busy ... please hold" message.  After 5 pm rolled
around, and nobody had answered (with Muzak droning on to let one know
there was still some hope) I decided to wait 'em out.  Friday passed.
Saturday passed.  Sunday came.  Muzak still droning on, nobody
answering.  Finally, Sunday evening, I needed to use the phone so I
hung up.  Wonder if they would have picked it up bright and early
Monday morning.

At least the 800 call cost them a bundle.


Arthur L. Shapiro        Arthur(at)mpa15c.mv-oc.unisys.com
Software Engineering
Unisys Corporation       Speaking as a civilian, rather than for
Mission Viejo, CA        Unisys, unless this box is checked: [ ]


[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: A company in Chicago I know has a Rolm
system with a provision to 'do not disturb' an idle agent position.
The trouble is, they are supposed to leave at least one such position
open at all times, but the minimum wage clerks there are all too ignorant
to remember to do that. No one ever told the clerks that their phones
go to such a recording; no one ever told them that in the event there
is only one clerk on duty and she wants to spend half an hour on a personal
phone call she has to leave a *second* line open (not on DND status) in
order to be warned if someone is waiting. 

All I know about time spent on hold is that the utility companies here
and the cable television company are pretty bad. About three weeks ago
at 3:30 in the morning I woke up; my house was totally dark, all the
clocks were dark, etc. Flipping switches got me no electricity. I called
the electric company service number, and at 3:30 in the morning mind you,
got this response: 

"Edison ... all representatives are busy. For normal business matters,
please call between ?? am and ?? pm Monday through Friday. To report a
service outage, please remain on the line. We are extremely busy at the
present time. Calls are answered in the order received. Estimated time
on hold will be (here the recording paused, as the computer figured out
who all was waiting, then a dismembered voice cut in) 'greater than ten
minutes'. Apparently between one and ten minutes they tell you in their
estimation how many minutes it will be. Above that, they just say it
will be 'greater than ten minutes'. 

After a couple minutes of music, the recording came back to say that
'Edison is experiencing service outages in several communities at the
present time. You may hold for a representative or be assured that we
are aware of your problems ... '   More music, and fifteen minutes later
I got a live answer. Apparently a transformer on a pole about a block
away had been visited by a squirrel. Having nothing else to do and not
being sleepy and walked down to the Amoco two blocks away to get some
cigarettes and a sandwich. They still had their electricity on there.

On the way home I saw the Edison crew at the corner with one of those
trucks with a basket to ride in which goes up in the air. Spotlight
pointed at the transformer and some guy in the basket up there. He
says 'look out below' and five seconds later the carcass of one dead
squirrel lands on the ground. He resets the breaker, the lights come
on. One guy on the ground opens a box in the back of the truck *full
of dead squirrels*, takes a shovel to collect the latest one and adds
it to the collection, then closes the box. Seeing me looking at it,
he remarks, "Don't say it buddy! I already heard it five times this
morning ... "  Intriqued, I ask him what I am not supposed to say.
Its a comment about how its a lousy job that does not pay very well
but you get all you want for breakfast every day. The radio in the
truck calls their attention and the dispatcher gives them another
address where a curious squirrel seeking a better home for himself and
his family has meet an unwanted death by electrocution. When the
crew finishes its rounds that morning, the squirrels will find their
final resting place at the City of Chicago pathological incinerator
on Weed Street in an industrial/warehouse area on the north side.  PAT]
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