Did you lose your bank card? Is your internet too slow to illegally stream movies? Well, you know what to do! Time to pick up the phone and call your customer care representative.
But it’s never as simple as it sounds, and here’s how it usually goes down:
1. Beep-boop I am your robot servant
You’ve finally set aside an hour of your day and plucked up enough courage to do the deed. You dial the number and a pleasant voice sings; “You have reached [sickofyourbullshit] customer service. If you would like to continue in English, press one. Jekk trid tkompli bil-Malti agħfas n-numru tnejn. Should you wish to continue in Urdu, press three.”
With trembling hands, you fumble to press the desired number. “Jekk tixtieq għinuna fuq il-credit card, agħfas n-numru wieħed. Jekk għandek bżonn għajnuna biex tagħfas in-numri, agħfas in-numru tnejn”.
Are my desperate sighs not enough of a signal to put me through to a human being?
“Jekk għandek bżonn għajnuna biex tagħfas in-numri, agħfas in-numru tnejn”
2. Begin the hypnosis
You listen to some jingle which is pleasant enough for the first ten seconds, and before you know it, you’re hypnotised. You’ve been waiting so long you forget you’re even waiting and strike up a conversation with the friend who’s sitting right next to you; “… Insomma, taf kif sirt ottu ilbieraħ!’
At that exact second, the music suddenly stops and you feel like you’ve been sucked into a black hole of silence. “Hello Miriam speaking.” You’ve got a split second to compose yourself and remember the reason you are calling. “Erm, heh, iva…qed incempel biex…eerrr”
Meanwhile, your friend is now right in front of you doing what any good friend would do when you are in need of support…
“Erm, heh, iva…qed incempel biex…eerrr”
3. Shakespeare would be proud
You finally get your well-rehearsed message across. You don’t even know whether the agent is still on the line and you are parched. You go to take a quick sip of water before the agent speaks and spill most of it down your chin and neck. All this only to have the agent pass you on to someone else.
How did it take a ten-minute monologue to realise you’re not the one for me?
4. It was me, in the kitchen with the candlestick
Five more minutes of that blessed hold music, and you are now experiencing intrusive murderous thoughts. But before the scene gets too intricate, the music suddenly stops again-
“Name? Location? ID card? Mobile number? Address? Square root of 60? If X monkeys eat Y bananas, what is the hypotenuse of the tree?”
5. Am I on trial?
‘Hello, Jason speaking how may I help you?’
It is probably Jason’s 47th time repeating that line today so he’s not exactly thrilled to be having this phone conversation either.
Erġa irrepeti kollox. Jason seems sweet and understanding until without warning, he turns into a prosecutor. ‘Name? Location? ID card? Mobile number? Address? Square root of 60? If X monkeys eat Y bananas, what is the hypotenuse of the tree?’
Your palms are now so sweaty your phone is slipping out of your hands. Your mouth is dry and your legs are about to give way. Eventually the cross-examination ends, and you can breathe, wiping the upper-lip perspiration on your left arm.
6. You say goodbye, I say hello…
A few typing sounds later and Jason is back to giving you his full attention.
“Mela sinjura, milli qed nara, l-kont tiegħe-“
Silence. You give Jason a second to get over whatever has come over him. Nothing. You look at your phone to find the battery has died.