Tune! | February 14, 2012

Yesterday I spent about an hour of my time on hold, waiting to talk to a human being while being piped music and being told that they were suffering a higher than expected number of calls. However, I’m not mentioning this to draw sympathy, because it wasn’t actually as bad as it sounds.

How could this be? It’s not because I am a well adjusted and chilled out human being, that’s for sure.

Partly it was because I occasionally got told what number I was in the queue, so I could at least judge that I was making progress down the river of ignorance, getting ever closer to the sea of answers, or a life threatening hurricane, I didn’t know which.

I also knew that at the end of this journey I would definitely be taking up my fair share of time, reducing the unfortunates in the queue behind me to the phone equivalent of kicking their heels and wondering if it might be better to send an email.

But mostly, it was because the music being played to me was actually quite good – Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons, I think. Cheerily I listened to it, thankful that there were no vocals to drive me insane. However, it also occurred to me that not everyone would be impressed with this choice of tune. Some might hate it, some might long to hear Whitney Houston (rest in peace pop princess) warbling away.

The world don’t move to the beat of just one drum and music taste varies so much that I heartily recommend that no one ever discuss what tunes they like at a dinner party, especially not with me, because I hate having to be polite when folk tell me how much they like Coldplay, or Celine Dion or any number of anodyne infectors of my brain mind.

Therefore, when it comes to being on hold, there should be an option to choose a station to listen to – Press 1 for Funk, Press 2 for Prog Rock, Press 3 for Hardcore Industrial (parental advisory, explicit lyrics). This is surely a lot cheaper than employing the correct number of staff to answer the calls and would partially diffuse the potentially furious callers who call up and launch into a time wasting tirade.

Of course, there might be a fault with my plan. Many call centres are metrics based – length of the queue, time to answer and time to deal with the call are all numbers to be kept as low as possible. So I strongly suspect that some call centre manager deliberately choose the most annoying music possible so that you’re encouraged to hang up, get the queue down and make them look good.

Don’t let the bastards win! Stay on the line people!



Posted in Uncategorized


  1. I will endure every replay of an all-flute rendition of Daydream Believer until they fix my problem.

    Comment by Matt Warren — February 14, 2012 @ 5:42 pm

    • I was once sat in an Indian restaurant when I realised that the music being played was the hits of Wham!, played on the panpipes. I ate quickly and left swiftly.

      Comment by jonbrown1975 — March 12, 2012 @ 10:30 pm

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