Technology

Please hold the line

Restoring access took a phone… and patience.

My bank… bank. In 2021, she made a profit of $10 billion. It looks like the boss bathes in a safe full of gold coins every day, I would believe him. And yet, its standby customer service music lasts only 57 seconds. Barely a minute later, the little mandolin and guitar chorus resumes from the beginning, as if the poor financial institution didn’t have the funds to pay for the second verse.

“Your call is important to us,” the voice repeated every five minutes. “Your sanity? Not much, she might add. Adding together all the calls I had to make to solve my problem, I heard this music shorter than a TikTok video at least 496 times in a week and a half; figures worthy of those found by a parent caught with a child discovering the Frozen soundtrack. At night, when I close the light and lay my eyes on the pillow, I can still hear it.

The phone interprets silence as an indication that the line has been cut off, that there is a problem, that it is better to hang up and dial again. When a friend puts you on hold, the line makes a steady, quiet “beep-beep” sound, similar to an electrocardiogram. “Beep beep. This call is still alive. Beep beep. His heart is beating. Companies force us to play music. languid “Girl from Ipanema”; Zamfir’s flutes; Pachelbel and his Canon in the most sugary version … we are treated to real Big Brilliant Melodies of music that doesn’t bother anyone.

If you’re lucky, an automatic voice will tell you how many people are ahead of you in line, and you’ll feel like you’re part of a community. What’s more, you’ll be given the option to leave your number so you can spend the next hour restless and unproductive, haunted by the thought of missing a call. But most of the time, all you can do is “hold the line to keep your call priority” and endure the instrumental version of Yesterday on classical guitar.

If one day we catch the naughty lascars (excuse the expression, I’m beside myself) who are behind my attempted scam, I know what punishment I want for them.

Forget the arms and legs stretching machine, stabbing, and other medieval techniques; there are far worse tortures. I want us to catch the bad guys – once again, a thousand apologies – and stick the phone in the bad guys’ ear (pissed, I’m pissed!). I want someone to call my bank’s customer service department. I want them, like me, to wait for hours for “the agent is free.” Even worse: I wish them “more calls than expected.” Believe me, this will be enough to get them back on the right track.

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