The “Do Not Ask Me or Tell Me” List

by Michael Cohen
aka Mucho Groucho

A few years back Congress passed a “do not call” list bill, outlawing the constant harassing sales calls that interrupted our lives at the absolute most inconvenient times possible, which for me is the period of 6 or 7 hours of napping I do during the day, every day before I go to sleep for the night.

I am proposing another list I would like to see implemented called: the “don’t ask me, don’t tell me” list which will prevent customer service reps and other agents of torture from engaging in the corporate language they use when dealing with us on a daily basis. If they interrogated the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, using that same antiseptic, robotic, blood curdling language, we would have won the war against terror years ago.

Cable Television Agent to Prisoner
Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:

“We can offer you our Triple Pay package for $99.00 a month and I will read you the terms that should only take about 20 minutes or so, or perhaps you would like to tell me when the next terror attack is scheduled to take place or where Osama Bin Laden is hiding? Ok. As you wish. This is a two year contract commencing…..”

This “do not ask or tell me” list is not limited to the telephone. For instance it also applies to the 17 year old gum chewing, friend texting grocery cashier who “axes” me if I would like a bag for the 30 items I just bought.

“No, I think I will juggle them while riding my unicycle home. Can you just toss me that can of tuna when I tell you…? Ok…..NOW!!”

This is my list. Feel free to add to it according to your own pet peeves, neurosis, quirks and idiosyncrasies.

After waiting on hold, and then speaking to 3 different people who ask for the same exact information that I entered on my “telephone keypad” a half hour ago, I am told by my Insurance Company agent that I am not covered for that unaffordable, life saving drug I need. I have the option of either paying out of pocket or dying. This is followed with:

1 – “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“No, I think the prospect of an early death is quite enough for now but can I get your extension just in case because you have been so helpful. What’s your name again? Barbara? Barbara, are you by any chance wearing a long black robe and carrying a reaper’s sickle in your right hand?”

Then they have the nerve to ask:

2 – “Would like to take part in a survey regarding your satisfaction?”

“Yes, I would like to take the survey but I want it to be given by the CEO of your company and there may be some really foul language involved. Can you transfer me to the f-er now?”

3 – “Would you mind holding?”

“Yes, I mind holding. I would like you to bring the phone with you every where you go while trying to get an answer for me and just keep me on the line. I want to hear EVERYTHING that is said and you should know that your call may be recorded for “quality assurance” or training purposes or as Exhibit A when I take you to court.

Last month I didn’t realize there was an actual time of day deadline indicated on my credit card bill on the day the payment was due by. It was 5pm. To me, the day ends at 11:59:59 so at 11:00 PM I felt that I had plenty of time and I made my payment online. Then when I got my bill, I saw that I received a $50 late fee. I was 7 hours late according to their clock; I had a whole 59 minutes and 59 seconds according to mine. When I called this is what the agent told me:

4- “I waived the late fee as a one time courtesy………”

I answered in Brooklynese:

“Oh yeah? How about if I wave my FIST by your FACE
as a one time courtesy warning?!!”

Asked by every hairstylist that ever gave me a $20 hair cut”

5 – “Would you like me to trim the hair off your ears?”

“No, no!! Please don’t!! I am letting it grow out the way my Uncle Stanley’s ear hair did when he was 80 years old. I am also letting the fungus between my toes cultivate because I want to see if any tiny mushrooms might pop out. It’s an experiment.”

And back to the corporate world, the famously ridiculous:

6 – “Would you like to subscribe to our newsletter?”

“No thank you. I learned everything I needed to learn about your company when you denied me coverage for the unaffordable drug that could have saved my life. I won’t be receiving emails in Heaven but I will be petitioning God to strike your CEO with an attack of a pre-existing condition he won’t forget!!”

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