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On This Day

2.5 hours, 5 concepts

Tonight I called T-Mobile to get my Sidekick 2 fixed (long story, don’t ask) and I was introduced to a variety of new concepts.

Concept # 1: The concept of the robot operator
I dialed the toll-free number and a female operator-type robot voice answered and said “Welcome to T-Mobile! How may I help you today?” I didn’t know how broad its vocabulary extended, or if it was able to understand full sentences, so I simply said “technical support.” Minutes later, I was connected to a live person in the tech support department.

Unfortunately, their knowledge was not broad enough to cover the problems that I was having with the device, so they transferred me to tier 2 tech support, which brings me to my next learned concept.

Concept # 2: The concept of the call-back
After being on hold for 3 minutes, I was greeted by another automated voice who beckoned for me to input my home phone number and when my call reaches #1 in the queue, they will call me, thus eliminating the long wait that I would’ve experienced.

Nineteen minutes later, I got a call from T-Mobile, who immediately put me on hold for 3 more minutes before being able to speak to the next level of technical support. Unfortunately, this person was not technical at all and probably wouldn’t have been able to stop his VCR’s from blinking 12:00….oh wait, people don’t use VCR’s anymore, my mistake.

Since tier 2 couldn’t fix my problem, I was transferred to tier 3, which conveniently brings me to concept 3.

Concept # 3: The concept of patience
There wasn’t a robot to call me back this time. I had to “wait for my call to be answered in the order it was received.” I waited for one hour and twenty-two minutes. I waited so long that I heard the entire volumes 1, 2, and 3 of “Hold Music, Greatest Hits.” Forty-five minutes into holding, I was able to sing along with the holding song. I wanted to hang up, but I knew that I would never bring myself to call back and my sidekick would stay broken.

As soon as I was about to fall asleep on the phone, a jolly woman answered the phone by saying “HEY GER!!!” How’d she know my name? Let me introduce you to the next concept.

Concept # 4: The concept of outsourced operators
The operator was obviously outsourced help from abroad, but spoke very eloquently. The first thing that she asked me wasn’t “what’s wrong with your device” like the other operators, but instead she said “why do you sound so tired?” I replied, “I was on hold for over an hour and I’m sleepy.” I couldn’t believe that I was telling my business to a random person over the phone, but I do it every week over the internet, so I guess that makes it okay.

She said, “awww, were you watching TV?” and I replied, “no, I was just chilling.” The next question was surprisingly obvious. “What’s chilling? Are you cold?” “No, nevermind.”

The operator sounded like she was between the ages of 18 and 22, as evidenced by her “dum-de-dum-de-dummmm’s” whenever I didn’t say anything. I felt like I was speaking to a hyper high-school junior, but as long as she got my sidekick working, I was fine with it.

Keep in mind that at this point I’ve been on the phone for almost two hours and I was tired. Every time I tried to speed the call along, she kept asking me about myself, or telling me random facts. At one point, I think I heard a baby call out from the background, but it might’ve been a prematurely outsourced sweat-shop-esque worker who was put to work at the age of .4.

Finally, the operator put in an order for me to get a replacement sidekick, but told me to “bring [my] sidekick to the UPS store and give them the number 119642198 and they’ll know what to do with it.” I asked “are you sure” and she giggled and said “yes, I’m sure.”

I was sure that I wasn’t sure that she was sure, but just to ensure that she was sure, I had to be reassured. Moving onto my last learned concept.

Concept # 5: The concept of verification
After I hung up the phone, I immediately called back to verify the details of the “phone-swap.” I asked the [American] operator to re-read the procedure to me, and she gladly did so without the giddy additions. I found out that the outsourced person was incorrect and I didn’t have to give any secret code to UPS to get my replacement. Good thing I didn’t trust her.

This phone call took up way too much of my time, but I’ve learned a lot and I now know how to handle the next giddy 18 year old outsourced operator that comes my way.

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