Monday, July 9, 2012

But Wait, There's More!

"Bring me the phone and my wallet!"

Those are words I don't necessarily want to hear when JB is watching television.

I've already written about my bad habit of impulse Internet shopping. Unlike JB, I'm not big on the whole human interaction thing. If I have the choice of ordering something online or ordering over the phone, the Internet will win every time.

In fact, my consumption of pizza has probably tripled since pizza joints started taking orders via apps. In the old days, I'd have to be pretty desperate to pick up the phone and place an order with a real person. It always seemed the stoner on the other end would invariably get my order wrong. Now if I get pineapple instead of pepperoni, I have an electronic paper trail to prove it was me who fucked my order up.

Given the same choice however, JB will always choose the low-tech, touchy-feely route. He needs a real person to deal with in case he has questions. And let's face it... no website will ever succumb to the Classic JB Charm™ when haggling for a discount.

So I listened with interest Saturday morning as he dialed the one-eight-hundred number to order the Perfect Tortilla Mold he just saw on TV. I didn't realize how far automated voice response systems have come since I stopped using the telephone. It obviously took JB by surprise too.

In case you haven't seen it, the Perfect Tortilla Mold promises to make "perfect" edible taco salad bowls in your own oven without the added fat of deep frying. This triggered a heretofore unrecognized basic need in my husband, based on the uncharacteristic speed with which he unholstered his American Express card.

Five minutes into the automated transaction I was laughing my ass off and by minute ten I decided I needed to record JB's desperate attempts to talk to a real live human being.

I was quite impressed with the sophistication of the voice recognition technology. It could tell when JB was beginning to second-guess the absolute position of well-formed tortilla bowls within Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I was also impressed with the computer's relentless determination to not only close the sale, but to up-sell JB on an endless string of other useless crap.

So sophisticated, in fact, that I find it hard to believe there's any way to cancel the transaction – let alone reach a real person – once it has your credit card number. Enjoy.


  1. It's the Borg of automated phone systems. You will be assimilated if you want your Tortilla Mold. But thank you anyway for listening. Resistance is futile.

    1. LOL! I like how it would randomly change the pushbutton options for "yes" and "no" even though it obviously understood every word spoken. When it heard "cancel my order" it practically shrieked, "Wait!"