annoying for a reason?

First of all, can I just express how disgusted I am that it’s Thursday and I still don’t have internet at home. It’s been out since Monday morning; a technician came last night and tested it and for the two and a half minutes he was there it was working, and then it wasn’t working anymore. Someone’s coming again tomorrow. Hopefully he/she will be more effective than the last guy.

I have also been promised a wiring upgrade, which is supposed to help overall speed, although, at this point, I would just like to be able to get my email, even if via pony express.

Two questions.

1. Is it someone’s job to sit in a room somewhere and either compose or find the most irritating music on the planet to play over the phone line while the customer is on hold? It’s almost a guarantee, if you weren’t irate enough over whatever has prompted you to call in the first place, that you will be Irate Enough by the time you actually get a live person on the other end of the line.

I understand that they want us to be comforted some kind of signal that we are still, actually, “on hold,”  but I wonder if that could be communicated through some soft intermittent clicks, or maybe Tony Bennett or Caetano Veloso or someone.

My theory is that they want your “on hold” experience to be as painful and irritating as possible, as this may cause you just to give up, thereby requiring them to hire fewer customer service people both to man the phones and to actually do any repairs.

2.  What is up with the continuation of “monopoly” practices in divvying up internet service providers to limited areas? As far as I can tell (through my careful research done over 10 minutes yesterday via iPhone) I have two options, and they cost virtually the same, and both have approximately identical reputations for rampant “down” time and indifferent customer service. I thought we were in America, the land of the free access to all and sundry companies-who-want-my-business, where, if I’m willing to spend my money, I can have whatever I want.

Oh, that’s right, that’s just in politics.

Silly me.

Apropos of nothing, I made granola this morning.

It’s delish.



Mix 6 c. raw, whole oats (not the instant kind, the coarser the better) with 1 c. whole wheat flour, 1 c. sesame seeds, and 1/2 – 1 c. chopped (start with sliced) almonds.

In a blender, blend 1/3 c. each canola oil, real maple syrup, and honey + 1 T. vanilla or 2 T. orange juice concentrate until the mixture is opaque and thick.

Pour over the oat mixture and stir to coat.

Spread in two cake pans, and bake at 300˚ for an hour, stirring every 15-20 minutes. (it might take 5 minutes or so less)  Mixture should be quite brown, but may still be a touch moist until it’s cooled completely.

Cool completely. Add 1 c. of dried fruit of choice (we like dried cherries; chopped apricots, apples, raisins work well too.)

Really really good, and way cheaper than Kashi cereal or store-bought muesli. Plus it’s WAY lower in sugar and fat, because I’ve cut the liquid ingredients significantly from most recipes.

Great with soy or almond milk.



1 Response to “annoying for a reason?”

  1. October 13, 2011 at 2:40 pm

    I’m quite sure that not every company uses such services, but there are companies out there that specifically work to create playlists for other companies’ hold music. They have a meeting, sit down, say what genres they like, and blacklist certain artists or genres as they see fit. I know this because for a short time, my partner was contracting his software programming services to a company that, among other things, provided such playlists for clients. The biggest blacklisted band? Steely Dan. I was shocked at first, but then realized that after several cross-country trips with my mother where Steely Dan was only one of maybe a dozen artists we brought along with us (on tape, of course), I don’t really care to listen to it anymore, either.

    Now, that being said, I’ve seen all sorts of different approaches to providing hold music, including having a CD player hooked to the phone system so whoever was on staff could just decide what CD to plop in. I once worked a seasonal call center job for an Irish import store, and lucky for us, the CD player not only provided the hold music for the customers, but also played for the call center. I like working to music, and I like Irish music (among many others). The company had a lot of CDs to choose from in its inventory alone, not to mention all the bands who were not for sale on their web site. Unfortunately for us, Lorena McKennitt had just come out with a new album, and our supervisor was a *huge* fan. So huge, in fact, that for three weeks, that was the only CD playing. On loop. For hours each day.

    So yes, there are people who sit down and decide what music to play for their customers on hold. Sometimes it’s an involved process, sometimes it’s casual (“let’s pipe in this paid, ad-free radio station”), and others, it involves one obsessed fan making all the music decisions.

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