Missed It By That Much!


Usually I begin a post with a topic in mind and end up digressing all over the place, but today I thought I’d try something different:  I’m going to begin with the digression and (hopefully) end up on topic.

…So the other day I stumbled across a movie recommendation for Cloudburst, starring Olympia Dukakis and Brenda Fricker. I rarely watch TV or movies, but the trailer looked good and I was in the mood for a movie. Better yet, it was available on Netflix.

And I loved it! The plot was a little thin and parts of it were preposterously unrealistic, but I didn’t care. The characters were irresistible, the acting was brilliant, and the dialogue left me rolling on the floor.

(Warning: Cloudburst contains geriatric lesbian kisses, lots of coarse language, and full-frontal male nudity.)

(P.S. to the warning: Naked men look funny when they run: flap-flap-flap-flap-flap-flap-flap…)

Sorry, where was I?

Oh, right; Netflix. I’ll get to the point now.

A few days later I got an ad for the upcoming Broadway shows here in Calgary. I enjoy the live shows, but they’re really expensive and it’s always a pain in the ass to get there, get parked, and then escape the madness of the parking lot after the show.

So, emboldened by my Netflix success, I decided to check for movie versions of the shows that were being offered. The first show was Kinky Boots (I admit I searched the title with trepidation – there are so many ways that could go wrong). But Netflix returned this:

Is there anything in these results that remotely resembles my search terms?

Is there anything in these results that remotely resembles my search terms?

Disappointed, I searched for Newsies:

Okay, is the Netflix search utility just a random result generator?

Okay, is the Netflix search utility just a random result generator?

The search results were so far off-base I couldn’t even figure out what tenuous connection Netflix thought they’d found. The only commonality I could spot was one vowel and one consonant.

The whole experience reminded me of how most automated systems totally miss the mark. The worst culprits are phone menu systems. For a while, our local phone provider’s system was so utterly useless that I was usually swearing a blue streak before I even made it to the third menu level. I dream of the day when computer systems develop the ability to identify what I’m saying even if it’s not one of the preset menu items:

“You said, ‘Fuck you, you pissant inanimate piece of ratshit’. I think you’re trying to select the ‘Fuck you’ menu item. Please choose from the following options: ‘In the kitchen with a candlestick’, ‘In the ballroom with a lead pipe’, ‘In the lounge with a pipe wrench’…”

Automated support systems aren’t much better. A while ago I was having email problems so I went to my web host’s page and started a service ticket with the subject line ‘Cannot send or receive email’. I jumped through all the usual flaming hoops and filled in every irrelevant blank they required including my shoe size and the date of my last mammogram, then optimistically clicked ‘Submit’.

Moments later, the following message appeared on the screen: “Thank you for submitting your support ticket. You will receive a response from our team via email.”

In the immortal words of Maxwell Smart: “Missed it by that much!

65 thoughts on “Missed It By That Much!

  1. I’m pretty sure I jinxed myself after reading the posts regarding voice menus options on telephone tech help. In my mail today I got a bill from the hospital from my days there with pneumonia. 2-1/2 days, nice people, saw one regular doctor (not mine) had lousy food, ( wanted to laugh and cry at the food.) I’m still convinced that the bed was bought out of Gitmo and it was just terrible. I had to contact the IRS snd request a letter to be mailed to the hospital stating that we no longer file income tax. We receive SS only. At any rate they will look into the amended billing to see if we qualify for a reduction in the billable amount. Even after Medicare paid I still owed $15,000 bucks. All for bad food, lumpy bed, an antibiotic that made me break out on my entire arm and made me scratch till it bled! I waited forever to reach anyone, just anyone that could talk to me in areal human voice.I finally got one after a good hour. I’m “supposed” to get it in about a week.
    I’m too wound up and have that old mad woman look about me so I;m sure they will approach me slowly. Cy in the A.M.

    Liked by 1 person

    • $15,000 for two and a half days?!?! Holy shit!!! So how much would it cost to hire a private nurse for a couple of days and pay for one doctor’s house call? ‘Cause that’s enough to pay a nurse’s salary for a few months up here. Even though I sometimes complain about the access times to our medical system, I’m incredibly grateful for it. We don’t get charged for a hospital stay at all.

      I hope it all works out for you – you don’t need that kind of stress on top of trying to recover. Sending good thoughts, good health, and good luck your way.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Too true and there will be more to come. We used to get hospital bills with everything included, room, lab, meds, supplies etc. but now every area has it’s own billing. The U.S.A. has a seriously sorry healthcare system run by big pharma running the show. Well, besides the politicians but that’s another rant.
        I’ll get through it, it’s just A$$ chapping. They’ll take payments and like it! My “craft” should allow me to dismiss it all with certain spells (Hollywood says so anyway) but no matter how many times I dance in the moonlight I can’t seem to get that “nose twitch” part of the majick down pat. LOL All that happens is my glasses slide off. Oh well, I still have my guilty pleasures which, of course, at the top of the list is reading your wonderful books! Waiting patiently for #11. Progress is looking good!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Thanks – I feel as though I’m going into the home stretch with Book 11 now! And you’re right, that ‘nose twitch’ does seem to be the critical ingredient. Maybe you should try sending the bills to Hollywood to see if they can ‘twitch’ them all away. 😉


        • Hi,

          First let me say I hope your feeling better, I have to say there are times I’m glad I live in the UK. We have the NHS which means medical care is free. Mind we do pay for prescriptions. And that gets more expensive each year I’m sure, but it does mean you think before going to see someone if they are going to prescribe drugs.
          Mind I was lucky when I had the chest abscess and it was healing the only time I hadmtonpay for anything was when I was away for the week in Holland, and my mum was dressing it, the nurses were kind enough use dressings and things they had already spare from other patients
          I have to say the girls were great and very caring

          Liked by 2 people

          • Thank you Karen, I’m doing o.k. Too ornery for any thing else. The staff at the hospital were really good. The hospital itself was severely lacking. Accommodations were horrible so I was glad to get out of there. I guess it’s just the state of our country has gotten itself into. Not enough people are bothering to look into the backgrounds of the people they vote for. We have career politicians that just get themselves corrupt and forget why they are in office. Had I known it was pneumonia, any kind, I would have opted for out-patient care. I’ve battled pneumonia and double pneumonia 13 times, 14 now with this last one, and survived. Most being treated as an outpatient. Still had high bills but they were easier to handle. The vaccine I get just didn’t quite protect against this one. I think we’re the only country that has such a screwed up system. I’d laugh but I still get a twinge in my chest when I do. LOL

            Liked by 1 person

  2. There is at least one joy of being hearing impaired. Phones and I don’t play well together. If I call a support line, I can screw up the conversation faster than Donald Trump can offend another part of humanity. Ok maybe not that fast. TELUS offers a great service called IPRelay which allows the user to make a phone call through one of their very efficient and caring staff. You put in the number you want to call, they dial it, go through all the menus, and connect you with the appropriate person. You then type waht you want to say, they read to the other person, type the response back and so on. I LOVE these people! I even had one of them tell me the accent on the person on the other end was so bad, they asked to speak to a supervisor who had better English. An added benefit, is I don’t have to listen to that Gawd Awful music while on hold. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • “…faster than Donald Trump can offend another part of humanity” – bahahaha!!! 😀

      Wow, that IPRelay is a great service – I didn’t realize Telus did that. And not having to listen to the hold ‘music’ is a nice benefit, but all in all I’d rather have my hearing. My ears were blocked up for a few days due to a cold and I found out that I cook ‘by ear’ – I couldn’t tell if my frying pan was at the right temperature because I couldn’t hear the sizzle.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. At one time on a tech call, I actually got an English speaking tech. I had already been on the call 30 minutes, put on hold twice and transferred to 3 different techs. When the English speaking one said she was going to transfer me again I screamed “NO, pleasepleaseplease, do NOT transfer me. You’re the first one I can understand, don’t leave me!” She was nice and did find me one that could be understood. ues.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I love it! I must remember to add ‘abject begging’ to my list of tactics when dealing with a helpdesk!

      I understand the strategy of hiring people in less-expensive countries to answer helpdesk phones – after all, a lot of the time the questions are so simple that it doesn’t make sense to waste a high-priced tech’s time on them. But I wish they’d put a policy in place so that if the offshore helpdesk can’t answer your question after three tries, they automatically transfer you to someone who a) speaks the language with an accent similar to your own; and b) actually has some experience with the product instead of simply referring to their list of ‘standard’ answers.

      Liked by 2 people

        • I think we need a menu option for “I’m not an idiot; I know the software inside and out and I have a complicated tech question; please connect me with a real tech now.” I wouldn’t even mind if they gave me a little pop quiz to verify my competence before they connected me to somebody who actually knows more than I do.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. I am loving the cut to the chase and let’s get the warning and F bombs out in the open. When I listen to those menus I honestly hold up how many fingers to remember which option I think had some slight possibility. Heaven forbid I have to sneeze or scratch my ear in the five minutes following until I get to press the selection. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

  5. OMG! You limited yourself to F-Bombs?!? Holy hell. What a completely asinine response. I suppose I should read through others’ comments to see if there’s an update from you on the issue. But when I read the line about them contacting you by email my blood pressure shot through the roof and reminded me why I left corporate America: when the company Intranet is down, email is down. You call the help line only to be told to send an email and a ticket will be opened. IF I COULD SEND AN EMAIL I WOULDN’T BE CALLING YOU, YOU JACKWAD!!!

    See? I’m better off working from home and being poor as a church mouse.

    And as for the auto-prompts that don’t address what you’re calling about? After one prompt I hit ‘0’ and hope for the best. Unfortunately many companies have wised up about that … aaarrrggghhh…

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I look funny when I run fully clothed, Diane. In fact, I don’t even need to move – just stand up, and that’s it!
    I used to work in a call centre. Well, started in a telephone exchange, then moved to an office with call centre tendencies, and then moved to a fully-fledged call centre with all those options. They all went through to the same person – but shhh… don’t tell anyone…

    Liked by 2 people

    • LOL! That’s it, the dirty secret is out. I often wondered whether it was all just one poor person trying to answer all the phones. It must be awful to deal with all the customers who weren’t grumpy when they originally dialed but are positively foaming at the mouth by the time they make it through the menu system.

      I doubt if businesses will ever go back to having real people answering the phones, but I wish they’d all go to the system that estimates a wait time and tells you what your position is in the queue. It seems less hopeless that way.

      Liked by 2 people

        • You must have better hold music than we do, the company hold music is awful, and calling it music is an insult to music.

          Oh and yes at our place you get though to the same team no mater what option you press

          Liked by 2 people

          • A true pet peeve of mine, hold music. Usually it’s screechy, warbling noise that’s played ‘way too loud. Method to the madness, I guess. After twenty minutes of that mind-poison, I’ve passed out if I haven’t already hung up.

            Liked by 1 person

      • Or getting a person at a call center who can neither speak nor understand the language being spoken to them by the caller. No, that is not a bigoted remark. Remember, I’m from Texas. No one can understand us in the first place. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  7. Hope you find Kinky Boots. It’s one of those “makes-you-feel-good-movies” (at least to me) Plus funny. I saw a sneak preview of it in Calgary years ago. My friend Marina always got movie tickets from the firm where she worked and often invited me to come along. Nice!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I’ve never used Netflix but I have to say kinky boots is totally fab, it was on a few times over Xmas in the UK.

    Today for me has been a mix of TV and jewellery making, its a shame I can’t show you guys some of what I do.

    Hanging head slightly I do work in a call centre for IT OK so its mainly in house calls but we are all real people honestly or I was the last time I checked. I understand the frustration people feel calling us but sometimes we get just as frustrated with callers as we ask them simple questions and its like pulling teeth to get the answers

    Hope everyone is having a great week

    Hugs to you all
    Karen xxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hey, don’t hang your head! 🙂 You’re one of the precious human beings we all aspire to reach when we call. And I salute your patience – I’ve done my share of IT helpdesk, and I figure any day when you don’t tell people they have an ID10T error or a PEBKAC problem, you’re doing well.

      (For the non-techies reading this, ID10T is exactly what it spells, and PEBKAC stands for Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair. Yes, that’s also the name of my publishing company. 😉 )

      I thought Kinky Boots looked like a great show, too – I might have to go and see that one!

      Liked by 2 people

  9. I love Olympia Dukakis and haven’t seen anything with her in it for years. Maybe I’ll have to watch “Cloudburst.” Of course, I hate to see what Netflix will “suggest” for me after I do.

    I made a phone call the other day to a business that went through a very long greeting, and then when it gave me the options for which button to push, the one I wanted wasn’t there. So I thought maybe I’d missed it. So I redialed and had to sit through it all over again. I hadn’t missed it. They just didn’t list it. So then, with purple face and scowling lips, I had to find the best fit and hope for the best.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Honestly, I’m at the point where I don’t even try anymore with the automated menus. I’ll wade through three or four levels, but after that if there’s an option that sounds as though it might connect me with a human being I select it even if it’s totally irrelevant. I figure if they don’t mind wasting my time with an automated menu system, it’s okay for me to waste their time with a polite description of my problem and a request to be routed to the correct department.

      Olympia Dukakis was brilliant in Cloudburst! (And you probably don’t need to worry about Netflix’s ‘suggestions’ – they’re completely random anyway.) 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Transcript of my last try at calling tech support:

    Dial dial dial.

    Ring ring ring.

    Electroslut: Hello. Thank you for calling our tech support hot line. Your call is important to us…but your time is not. There are approximately three hundred million callers ahead of you, and your wait time will be approximately the life age of the solar system. To bypass the waiting list and be randomly cut off sometime tomorrow in the late afternoon, press 1. To speak with an electronic-voiced robot technician who will humiliate you for your lack of technical expertise without actually solving your problem, press 2. To enter your credit card information so we can bill you exorbitantly for absolutely nothing useful in return, press 3. To sign up for a computer dating service so you can be paired up with other brainless losers like yourself, press 4. To have the names of your spouse and children placed on the Interpol Terrorist Watch List, press 5. To register a complaint about our tech support service, please hang up and dial 1-800-968-7825.

    I’ve usually given up long before I get to the complaint phone number, but I’ve seen it on the back of trucks. It’s on the “How’s My Driving?” bumper sticker thing. Go ahead. Look on a phone dial and see what the numbers spell out. I dunno if it’s a real number or not. I hesitate to call it. Maybe some day when I’m REALLY bored. 🙂

    Electroslut is the name my wife and I have given to any female-voiced electronic communication. We started that years ago when we got our first talking GPS. I swear, after the third time she said RECALCULATING, she started to get snippy. Which is another whole topic in itself. 🙂

    And theventy-phour per thent? Phabulariouth, thithter! You tho rock!

    Liked by 2 people

    • ‘1-800-968-7825’ – yep, I’m getting message, but somehow I’m not feeling the love. And thanks for ‘electroslut’ – at least from now on I’ll be giggling instead of swearing when I get punted to the automatic answering system!

      And hey, I didn’t know there was actually a selection option for the random call cut-off. I usually get that one by default.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Press 1 for English, Press 2 for French, Press 3 to maybe get someone you can understand, Press 4 for more options, press 0 to start all over again.
    As for Netflix…. there is a person sitting in a dark room laughing as he selects the search results for you!

    Liked by 1 person

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