Phone rage - the new road rage?

11 July 2008

I am officially a grumpy old woman - classic signs include entering competitions to vent my irritation with the chance of a prize for the privilege.

I am not a stranger to other types of rage, but for me, phone rage is rapidly taking over.

Is it possible to ring a financial institution and get through to a person without cracking the da Vinci code first?

Example : I rang my bank this morning (not freephone, oh no! - one of these mysterious 0845 numbers-does ANYONE know how much they cost?) to make a straightforward enquiry about my account. I got through straight away, which took me by surprise as I had just settled myself in for the wait with a cup of coffee, choccy digestive and the egg timer. However, my excitement was short lived as the reply, of course, was automated. I was then give six options to choose from. By the time they had all been reeled off I was semi-comatose and had forgotten the first three.

I listened to all the options again, roused myself and pressed the correct button, to be politely thanked (automated) and given a further three options. By this time I was on my third digestive. I was, however, prepared and fully alert by now. On pressing button two, I was informed " all our operators are busy at the moment, your call is important.........etc etc." followed by the most irritating music they can dredge up. Or would I prefer to call back later and go through the whole routine again? This is enough to tip anyone over the edge.

When I finally got through to a real person who could hardly speak English, I was asked a series of security questions which left me exhausted and unable to remember the nature of my initial enquiry.

Total time on the phone ; 17 minutes. Enough to consume half a packet of digestives and a days supply of caffeine.

Next time I will take the afternoon off and pack a picnic, before stationing myself beside the phone in a comfy armchair with a bottle of wine to hand.