29 July, 2011

It's Friday: Let's Piss Off Telecommunication Relay Services

OK, I'm just going to be a total dick this morning and ask this: Why are deaf people making phone calls? That's like blind people going to the movies.
Twice this week, I've had the pleasure of receiving relay calls. If you're not familiar with a relay call, it's where a deaf person connects to a telephone operator via a special typing program and they type to the operator who calls you and reads their query to you. You answer said query and they have to type back to the deaf person. Essentially, the deaf person is calling you to put you on hold for five minutes at a time.
Now, I know this has nothing to do with the relay service nor all deaf people, but the two relay calls I got this week were from people who were absolutely insistent on not using the internet to make their reservations. It had to happen with me for some reason because I'm so goddamned special.
The first guy was trying to make a reservation for his wife. We've had problems in the past with people making reservations for other people (and a few times with people trying to cancel other people's reservations) so it's not like we try to avoid third parties, we flat out refuse to deal with them. I'm even getting to the point where if somebody's mother calls on behalf of them to lay down her credit card info that I will fucking refuse it. So, naturally, I tell this guy that he can point his wife to the website and she can make a reservation there.
He wants to make it now with me.
I tell him his wife can make it online.
He wants to make it now with me.
I tell him his wife can make it online.
It goes back and forth like that until finally he says he'll talk to her when she wakes up. Sure enough, she makes it online. (And then, after all that, she shows up, looks at the place, and says she has allergies, cancels, and tips the fuck on out the door.)
Then there was today, about a half hour ago, the catalyst for today's post (thank fuck because I had nothing). Same thing: Deaf person insistent on making the reservation through me and not online. What was probably about a minute and a half worth of questions was twelve soul reducing minutes of waiting on this woman to just type her damned responses. It was painful. I wanted it to end. Agitated during one particularly long wait, I told the operator, Look, I've got other things I have to do and I'm the only person here; we're a skeleton crew. Is there no way she can be convinced to just do this online?
It was like I was making a plea for rationale with a wall. Finally, after a lengthy stretch of silence, the operator, unfazed by my query, simply rolled right along with the woman's response. And it went on like that. And on. And on. And finally, the woman asked if I was ready to take down her credit card information.
She couldn't be talked out of it. She couldn't be convinced that there was a more efficient way of going about things. She couldn't sense that I had no desire to be called just to be put on hold.
Fine. Fine. I swallowed it and said, OK, fine. Before we go any further I should give you a bit of our standard disclaimer that we offer absolutely no refunds for any reason for any person at anytime and that booking over the phone will require a one hundred percent deposit (in this instance, US$233.88) whereas booking online at [our booking service] requires only a ten percent deposit. I am going to ask that you have valid state issued identification and a credit or debit card handy as there are required fields I have to fill in. And, yes, I really do say all that.
And then silence.
A long silence.
The operator said, "Holding for typing."
OK, OK, look, I'm sorry about this but I really have other things to do and I'm the only guy here. I can't stand here and wait all - look, I get the purpose of the service, I really do but the waits are getting tedious and - Sorry. Bye.
Before ringing off, I looked at the office phone's monitor. 11:53... 11:54... Click. Done. Whatever. And, yeah, before you go pointing out that I essentially hung up on a deaf person for being deaf, I'll admit to that. There's really no other way of looking at it. They were deaf - literally deaf - and I hung up on them because their deafness was an inconvenience to me and caused our phone conversation to move at a rate comparable to tectonic plates shifting. I have to live with that, now.
I have to live with having hung up on a deaf person because they were deaf just like I have to live with once having fisted a woman. I can't uncross those lines. I am now the guy that did those things.
I bet you have shit you're not too proud of either.

1 comment:

  1. Don't worry Chuck. I used to get those fucking calls about once a week or so a couple of years ago. Fuck those calls. Fuck them in their deaf ears!

    Every one was a fucking scam, wanting 100 boxes of spark plugs sent to some foreign country. I just got one last week and I told the operator that I normally don't do these because they are scams. It lasted one minute before the deaf dude canceled the call.

    Fucking scammers.


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