Today in My History
"A Christmas Carol"
Books Read in 2015
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The New Brasilian in my life
(his video is here)
The Philosophy of Juice & Crackers
THE HUMANIZATION OF EMILY
2 December 2015
We are all too familiar with that voice. That real life person with the robotic voice who explains our options to us, or gives us the same information she has given a thousand other callers about something -- our bank account, or medical question, our insurance information.
I know that for businesses "voice mail hell" has probably improved the speed with which they can handle problems, reduced the number of employees needed and all that good stuff, but for those of us dealing with voice mail hell, it's....well....hell.
Today I received a call from the nurse at Kaiser who was letting me know what was going to happen with my surgery on Friday, what time I had to be there, how to get there, what I could and could not eat or drink, etc. All the normal things you'd expect to be told. She was not the robotic voice because she called me, so we actually had a conversation and she was quite pleasant.
I asked her if she knew how much my co-pay was going to be and she told that she didn't have that information, but I could call Patient Services to get the answer.
That's when I entered voice mail hell. I went through several menu options before I reached the first Real Person, who gave me the usual spiel in that bored, robotic tone. She told me she would transfer me and I was put on hold and listened to hold music. I've never heard anything so painful! It was Native American flute music, like you'd hear around the fire on an Indian reservation in an old western movie. It might not have bothered me if I'd only had to listen for a few minutes, but it was a five minute wait and that odd flute (played too loud) just began to hurt my ear.
Finally the next Real Person came on the line. I'll call her Emily for the sake of the title of this entry, but I don't have a clue what her name was. Emily spoke in the same robotic monotone, reminding me I could get the information I needed at their web page (she reminded me of our old GPS voice which always sounded so exasperated when we didn't follow her commands...we later replaced her with "Nigel," a British voice who doesn't have a clue how to pronounce Spanish names, but we like him much better).
We talked back and forth, me a human, her a robot, and when we finished, she asked if there was anything else she could do for me. I told her that yes, I just wanted to say that they had the absolute worst hold music I'd ever heard.
I must have hit her tickle-me-Elmo button because she laughed and laughed and laughed, totally lost the robot voice and told me that whenever she has to call in to the hospital and gets put on hold, she thinks the same thing. We had a nice conversation and a nice laugh about our mutual hatred of the hold music and I was pleased that I'd found the key to "humanize" her!
* * *
Tomorrow is going to be a new adventure. Our daughter-in-law set us up with three free meals through Blue Apron, which she has been using and likes very much. I have no intention of continuing for a second week (at $60 a week for the two of us), but I will enjoy our sample. I'll have something new to try cooking. This first week we get a fish dish (the menu has disappeared from the web site so I have to try to remember), a kind of steak and chicken balls, with accompanying vegetables and starch. Seems to me that I recall all of the side dishes were things I had not cooked before. A new adventure.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
My cousin Denise took this photo of my mother yesterday.
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This is entry #5720