Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tech Support

A reader has contacted me to complain that a caption on the front page of the Connecticut Post has malfunctioned. One of its technological parts needs some servicing. I'm sort of busy here at When Write Is Wrong, so I've outsourced the job. I recommended that the reader call 1-800-SPELLER, which she did. She recorded the phone call. Here is the transcript:

AUTOMATED VOICE: Thank you for contacting Speller, Incorporated. To continue in English, please press or say 1. To continue in Spanish, please pr—


AUTOMATED VOICE: Your call is very important to us. You are currently *** fourth *** in our queue. Please hold and a representative will be with you shortly.

[Music plays for 2 5 10 15 minutes.] What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Please select the level of frustration you are experiencing. Press or say 1 for low. Press or say 2 for moderate. Press or say 3 for high. Press or say 4 for stratospheric.


AUTOMATED VOICE: A representative will be with you shortly. Please continue to hold.

[More music.] I wanna hold you till I die, till we both break down and cry. I wanna hold you till the fear in me subsides.

TECH GUY: Hi. My name is Sanjay, but you can call me Dave. How may I help you today?

CUSTOMER: Something's wrong with my newspaper. The display is distorted. I was reading a photo caption and thought, Oh, gee, where's the o before -gy?

DAVE:  OK, gotcha. One of the words is missing an o. I'd be annoyed too, because I'm lacked-o's intolerant. Get it? Lactose intolerant?

CUSTOMER: Um, yeah, you're hilarious. Can we get back to the problem?

DAVE: Sure. But before we proceed, may I please have the last four digits of your Social Security number?

CUSTOMER: One-two-three-four.

DAVE: May I please have your mother's maiden name?


DAVE: Can you spell that?

CUSTOMER: Yes, I can.

DAVE: That's good. May I please have your zodiac sign?

CUSTOMER: Sagittarius.

DAVE: May I please have your favorite type of tree?

CUSTOMER: Palm. No, wait, I take that back. Family.

DAVE: OK, thank you. I can further assist you now. Please hold while I do some troubleshooting.

[More music.] Tender love is blind. It requires a dedication. All this love we feel needs no conversation. We can ride it together, ah-ha.

AUTOMATED VOICE: Thank you for holding. Your call is important to us. Please continue to hold.

[More music.] Then turn around. Stick it out. Even white boys got to shout. Baby got back!

DAVE: Sorry about the wait. I think I may have diagnosed your problem. Is your sentence plugged in?


DAVE: Hmm. Have you tried restarting it?

CUSTOMER: [In exasperated tone] Yes.

DAVE: Do me a favor: Try pressing the W, H, 7, shift, F9, right-bracket, control and escape keys simultaneously.

CUSTOMER: OK, hold on. ...

CUSTOMER: ... The back of my monitor is now smoking, and the original problem still exists.

DAVE: Don't worry about the smoke. It'll dissipate. Let's try fixing this "biohazard" by clicking the 32nd word's drop-down menu.


DAVE: Do you see biotechnology in the drop-down menu?


DAVE: OK, good. Scroll down and select it. That should fix your problem.

CUSTOMER: Oh, my god, it did!

DAVE: Ah, good. It was an Error Type O. In layman's terms, it's a connection issue. The l should not be connected to the g.

CUSTOMER: Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you!

DAVE: You're welcome. Be sure to save your current settings. Should you come across this situation in the future, simply install basic spelling software and reconfigure the misspelled word.

CUSTOMER: Will do.

DAVE: Do you need any further assistance today?

CUSTOMER: Nope. I'm good.

DAVE: Thank you for using Speller, Incorporated technical support. Goodbye.

CUSTOMER: Whoa! Wait a sec! The smoke is getting thicker. What should I—



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