CNET también está disponible en español.

Ir a español

Don't show this again

HolidayBuyer's Guide
Culture

Experience the true existential madness of automated customer service

You've made those calls. You've pressed 2 for Spanish. And you've waited till eternity. This new video exists to tell you that you aren't alone.

serv.jpg
The machine beats you down till you just can't take it anymore. Fatawesome/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

Press 3 for someone who'll turn out to be another machine.

Press 4 to get back to the machine that greeted you when you pressed 2.

Automated customer service was invented by Franz Kafka.

Or, at least, it often seems that way. The electronic attempt to do away with a human who might actually help you in favor of a machine that delights in making you raise a fist or a knife has been experienced by all.

I am grateful to a reader not named Conal O'Rourke for forwarding me a video that feels your pain. This week, the entertainers at Fatawesome decided to release a two-minute opus that has so many elements of machine service beautifully portrayed.

It's a little NSFW, but frankly so are you when you're made to hang on for an hour because there is, allegedly, a high call volume.

One can't help thinking that there's always a high call volume because there are only two people in customer service. And one is at lunch. Permanently.

"I see you pressed zero because you're too impatient to listen to the list of options," says the electronic lady in the video. "We're experiencing higher than normal call volume at the moment, which is what we always experience, so how can it be higher than normal? That's a damn good question. Please hold."

When our man finally gets a human, he reaches the "Department That Isn't Going To Be Able To Help You."

When he finally reaches someone who might, might help, he's asked to repeat all his information over again "because no one actually entered any of your information."

The whole thing is a beautiful, painful expression of how machines that were supposed to make things easier make things easier only for those who own the machines.