Telephonic Jungle of DOOM

Lately, I’ve been tasked with calling every single vendor the company has ever worked with and requesting forms from them. In general, I actually try to avoid having to call these companies. Often, a phone call means I must face off against the labyrinthine jungle of automated systems, transferring menus, and holding on the line for the next available agent. When it doesn’t entail skillful navigation of complicated menu systems, it means I must speak with real people (who still sometimes pass me on to an automated system or transfer me from voicemail to voicemail), and against real people, I must be judged as worthy or not.

Most people I speak to on the phone are very courteous and happy to take five minutes to send me the form I am requesting, but every now and then I can hear the paranoia edge into the voice on the other end of the line. The forms I’m requesting are fairly innocuous and in this very unique circumstance, I have no nefarious intentions for them. So it’s quite baffling to me when people suspiciously interrogate me as to my name, company affliation, last known transaction, filing efficiency and shoe size. I’m not certain whether they think I’m trying to scam them, or perhaps sue them, but they hold on to these forms as if their very existence were contained within these small pieces of paper. In these instances, I’ve been advised that I can just let it go – the forms aren’t absolutely vital, more of a “just-in-case” thing, but when this happens, I feel compelled to telephonically chase these people down and verbally beat sense into them.

In some cases, mostly those concerning large corporations, I can bypass the dreaded judgment of other receptionists by utilizing the most glorious of all tools: the INTERNETS. Occasionally, the form is online, waiting for anyone who needs it to swipe it from its downloadable link (which consequently should be indicative of the level of security that these forms should garner).

After I realized this, I tried to find links for all large companies, despite the fact that it probably takes longer to sleuth out the internet than to make a simple phone call. For Office Depot, I found they did have the form available online, but blank and orderable in boxes of 30% Recycled Laser Cut Sheets, Packs of 50 or 100. This was only slightly less than completley useless to me. Even worse is when I finally gave in and called, it was an automated system that wanted me to speak my selection. If Office Depot thinks I’m going to sit at my little desk stupidly over-enunciating two- or three-word phrases repeatedly, they should reconsider the standard, somber office environment they cater to. I sent them an email.

So recently, my days have consisted of following the maps of websites and automated telephone systems and occasionally leaping across pitfalls in the treacherous potential for telephone paranoia. In short, this week, I have become the Indiana Jones of tax forms, venturing into the dark places of the telephone systems to find the oh-so coveted tax identification forms, which of course, not only can, but should be likened to priceless cultural artifacts preserving thousands of years of heritage and history. I can only surmise that those paranoid people I speak to who seem to think I am a con artist/litigator/terrorist must regard their tax forms in this manner. This is a reasonable explanation for their behavior – they’re the spear-wielding naked natives, and they’ve obviously been tricked by a sneaky French man into thinking that I’m the bad guy and should be roasted for the upcoming feast.

all hail the tax form

But of course, every adventure has its shining moments, its warm moments of camaraderie and companionship. This quest has been no different; I have found fleeting friendship in the repetitive, nagging correspondence that I must maintain until my goal is reached. Yes this person has been my Sallah, or Short Round, or that guy at the beginning of Temple of Doom who dresses up like a waiter and gets shot when the party-goers begin extravagantly popping their champagne bottles.

Oh dying waiter-impersonator – as brief as your screen time was, so was the depth of your friendship. And like your brief shining moment of dedication, my fleeting email ‘friendship’ lasted only a short time, but burned bright like a shooting star…

More on this to come – –

As one last side note, I’ve become somewhat of a conoisseur for on-hold tones and music. Classical, jazzy, elevator – I’ve heard it all. My favorite has been Louis Armstrong’s It’s a Wonderful World. My least favorite, so terrible, I had to thrust the phone away from my delicately tasteful ears, sounded like the Poptart Cat.

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1 Comment

  1. Ashley Verbin

     /  June 28, 2011

    BAHAHAHAHAHA I LOVED IT!!!

    Reply

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