Saturday, July 26, 2008

I Just Want to Talk to a Human Being!

Or, adventures with automated customer service.

Mother Dearest is planning on paying me a visit in my new digs after I get moved in. I booked her a flight about a month ago (because despite the fact that this woman has not one, but two Master's Degrees, one of them being in Computer Science, she said she wouldn't be able to figure it out), but I never got a confirmation. So I decided to call.

First of all, finding the bloody phone number on American Airline's website is like looking for a needle in my car right now (being that it is chuck full of all my worldly goods and practically impossible to see out any of the windows), because apparently they don't want to talk to you.

I, however, put my well honed research skills to work and found it.

I call, and I am instructed to give them some information to get "better service" (an absolute impossibility when dealing with airlines). An automated voice (a very lovely and polite one, I might add) guided me through (see? They don't want to talk to you!):

"What is your flight number?"
"Hmm, we don't have that number in our records. Let's try again."
"Hmm, we don't have that flight number in our records. Let's try something else. What is your departure city?"
Hometown, USA.
"What is your arrival city?"
Grad School, USA.
"Your flight number is 4016, departing at 11:30am. Is this departure time correct?"
I don't know.
"Hmm, I don't understand you. If this is the correct flight time, please say, 'yes'"
"What is the passenger's last name?"
"I'm sorry, but I don't understand what you said. Please try again."
"I'm sorry, but I can't understand you. Let's try again."
"It sounded like you said, 'Laudin.' L-a-u-d-i-n. Is this correct?"
No. [Now thinking, "WTF?!"]
"Please say the passenger's last name."
"I'm sorry, but I seem to have trouble understanding you. Please hold for our next available operator."

I mean, at least the automated voice was nice, but jeeze, the call would have taken half the amount of time if I could have just spoken with an operator in the first place.

Mother Dearest will be booking her own flights from now on.

In other news...

...plans for a kick-butt syllabus are underway, with heavy idea borrowing from some of my favorite mentors who have (thank GOD!) put a collection of syllabi online (namely Madam Department Chair, Dr. Mother Bear, and Dr. Rhetorical Superhero). I actually re-read some of my (actual) classroom policies and such, and by God, it sounds like I know what I am talking about!

I don't, of course, but let's hope my students don't find out.

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