Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tech Phone Support, Playboy Style

(NOTE: I posted this as a comment over at Ed Brayton's "Dispatches From the Culture Wars" in response to a thread about voice mail systems.)

I used to work for Dell Computers in phone technical support on the night shift. We took all the calls from all the different 800 numbers that during the day went to departments dedicated to supporting just that one product. We got server calls, laptop calls, workstation calls, you name it.

One night I picked up a call and saw from my little LCD display that the customer had been on hold for something like two and a half hours (not unusual) and that he had called in on our Latitude (laptop) support line. During the entire time on hold, of course, he had to sit through the endlessly looping "We at Dell Computers value your call, and a computer support technician will be with you as soon as possible!"

So finally the call rolls onto my phone, and I say "Thanks for calling Dell Computers, my name is Jeff, how may I help you?" "Um, yeah," he says in a husky voice, "are there, um, any girls there?" Nonplussed, I looked around the cube farm. The night shift in computer technical support in the mid-80's was not exactly Chick Country, you know? "Well, yes, there's one, but she's on the phone right now. I'm sure I could help you, what's the problem?" But he just hung up.

Weird, I thought. Why wait all that time and then hang up when you finally get someone? I mentioned it to a buddy of mine in the daytime Latitude queue the next morning and he laughed until he almost peed in his pants. "Dude," he said, catching his breath, "if you swap the last two digits of the Latitude support number you get a phone sex line! That's why he wanted to talk to a girl, he thought you were porn!"

I had to wash my phone down with anti-bacterial soap, I felt so dirty. Although looking back on it, I wish I'd had the presence of mind to ask him for his credit card number. Anyone horny enough to sit through two hours of a recorded "This is Dell Computers" message on the chance he'd get to talk to a girl is someone who I could make a lot of money from.


Denise said...

Remember when Mom got you and Donna a phone and they gave you that prostitute's old phone number!!! Way to go, Ma Bell!!

Jeff Hebert said...

Hey, you're right Denise! Maybe it's me, and I have some sort of whore-ridden phone karma following me around. Now I feel all shivery ...

John said...

oh crap! that was YOU? Damn...I was on hold so long, I, uh...nevermind.