An Ode to Customer Service

          I have a little problem.
          So, I call you on the phone
          I'm given numbered options
          To punch them each by tone.

          After hitting number 7,
          Then 2, 8, 6 and pound,
          A short recording tells me
          That no operators can be found.

          They're busy helping others
          And would I hold, this once?
          Because my call is SO important.
          What am I?  A dunce?

          My call's not so important
          That I'll spend an hour on hold,
          While my shoulder aches,
          my patience bakes,
          And my coffee grows green mold.

          Nothing your recording says
          Can cause me to believe
          That my call will be taken
          In the order it was received.

          So, down I put the telephone
          And up I pick the modem
          To find solutions, on your site,
          And, once found, download 'em

          I calmly wait while DNS
          Looks up your URL,
          Until your server answers
          Your home page front door bell.

          I wait for frames to paint themselves,
          My solution to begin.
          And then, I wait for plug-ins
          So I can see your logo spin.

          I wait to get an audio file,
          Greetings from your CEO.
          He doesn't get the Internet.
          But, he loves the radio.

          I wait for a picture of
          Your building is on my screen
          And I realize there are things
          That should not be heard nor seen.

          Finally, there's a menu
          And I poise my mouse to click.
          But first, a Java applet! "Starting Java.
          "I know that won't be quick.

          The menu choices indicate
          You know yourselves full well.
          You know all about your company
          And that's what you want to tell.

          But, where's the button, I can push,
          That takes me to the page
          That solves my problem?  Feels my pain?
          And soothes my mounting rage?

          There, in the lower corner,
          Down by the copyright,
          There's a little tiny icon
          That looks as if it might ...

          Be a link to customer service.
          My troubles soon will quit!
          I click upon it and I see ...
          A 404 (file not found)... Oh, gee

          And when I finally reach the page
          That promises relief,
          I'm staring at a document
          That's far beyond belief.

          For, where there should be answers
          To frequently asked questions
          And online help and knowledge-bases,
          Is naught but indigestion.

          For, there in type italics,
          Underlined and bold,
          Is the number for
          The help desk phone.
          I should have stayed on hold!

[ by Jim Sterne -- from 'Aiken Drum' ( -- Ed:Anon. ]


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