Let me preface this by saying, I’m not an angry person. I’m one of those pedestrians who will apologize if you bump into me. It’s not in my nature to express it verbally when I get upset, but last week I got so angry on the phone that I found myself screaming unladylike obscenities into the receiver. "Who was the person on the other end?" you may be wondering. My mother? My boyfriend? My landlord? No, none of those people could evoke such rage. It was none other than my biggest enemy: Verizon Wireless’s automated voice mail lady.
When I was standing in the middle of my kitchen, simply trying to find out if a check had gone through, and screaming my 10-digit cell phone number to no one, I had to ask myself: Why am I so angry, and who is this woman?
You know who she is. She’s that sweet voice at the other end of the line, repeatedly reminding you how to leave a voice message. Or maybe she’s tried to direct you to "someone who can help," because she so obviously can’t.
But this isolated incident doesn’t even come close to the everyday annoyance of her teaching me over and over again how to leave a voice mail. No, I do not want to leave a numeric page. I left my beeper back in 1996.
What makes me so angry is that I have to play 20 questions with her before she will direct to me to a human being who will then ask me the same exact questions I just got through answering. Then, most of the time, that person has to connect me to someone else, because the voice mail lady, as usual, did not get me to the correct destination. She must be the most useless middlewoman in the world.
Just connect me to a real person in the first place. They still make mistakes, but at least I can sympathize with them.
David Pogue of the *New York Times* has also been personally affected by her and has done the math. According to Pogue’s new campaign, “Take Back the Beep,” if Verizon’s 87 million customers check or leave a voice mail, twice a day, Monday through Friday, the company racks up $750 million dollars a year.
In addition, Pogue calculated that if you check your messages twice a week, you will spend three hours a year listening to the voice mail lady. Sorry, I’d rather spend that time listening to “Achy Breaky Heart” on repeat.
I want her out of my life, but, unfortunately, she knows too much. She knows my password, she knows where I live, and I once had to give her my social security number.
She could be all the way to Fiji by now.