Tuesday, January 29, 2013

“You had me from...'eh- lo?'”—Baby Boomers, Technology, and Multi-culturalism


Picture it:  My husband, Bill, sitting at the kitchen table which doubles as his home office (yes, that’s material for another post), laptop open in front of him, flip phone pressed to his good ear, eyes squinted as if listening intently.

Bill: “Excuse me. I didn’t catch your name.”
(Pause)
Bill: “Yes...uh...Wamika, this is William Chumley. I’m having a little trouble downloading some tax  soft—”
(Pause)
Bill:  “WEEL-YUM CHUM—”
(Pause)
Bill: “DUBYA...EYEEE...EL...EL—” (His volume level has now risen a few decibels. He informs me later this is not due to frustration but rather to a bad satellite connection between Edmond, Oklahoma, and New Delhi.)
(Pause)
Bill: “No, that’s DUBYA—”
 (Pause)
Bill: “No...DOUBLE  YOO as in...ah...uhm...Wamika!” (Eureka! His face lights up, he nods his head enthusiastically.)  “Yeah, yeah! That’s right! Okay. DOUBLE YOO...EYEEE...EL...EL—”
(Pause)
Bill (holding up two fingers): “No, that’s TWO ELs.” (He stops. From experience, I know his next words will be is there someone else I can talk to.) “Is there someone else I can talk to?”
(Pause)
Bill (rubbing his free hand over his face): “Look, this just isn’t working.” (Apparently the connection became weaker at this point because his voice grew even louder.) “Is there someone there who speaks Eng—”
(Pause)
Bill: Yes, but I can’t understand you, you can’t understand—”
(Pause)
Bill: “DOUBLE YOO...EYEE...EL...EL—Oh, for crying—”
(Sound of flip phone snapping shut)

I look across the table at a defeated man, eyes glazed over, flip phone tossed onto the table. He rises and pours himself a cup of coffee, buying time to gather himself before attempting another call. The odds aren’t good, but maybe next time he’ll have more success.
“Why didn’t you hang up at WEEL-YUM?” I ask.
“Because I’d already waited twenty-five minutes to talk to Wamika. I hated to lose her.”
Valid point.


Bill wouldn't pose for a picture, so I had to improvise. Work with me here.



4 comments:

  1. I'm pretty sure I was the one that posed for that picture - it's all very familiar!

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  2. Hilarious! I had an experience like this with my cell phone company. It made me so angry that my competitive streak struck and I grew determined to "win." I spent hours on the phone. Finally, I asked if there was a call center in America. They transferred me to some place in Texas. I spoke with an amazing woman and got her name. She told me to call if there were any other problems. I had to call and leave a message because, of course, there were problems. But she always got back to me. AND she ended up comping us all sorts of goodies and saving us A LOT of money. Tell Bill to keep at 'em.

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