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Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Banker's hours get a bit ridiculous sometimes

I got a new check card in the mail today and decided that I would activate it this evening. My bank is a relatively small one that hasn't yet been swallowed whole by Bank One, so I wasn't surprised that the first number I called was someone's actual desk. I actually felt sorry for them, imagining them sitting in a cubicle all day saying, "Would you like to activate your card, today?" in a tone of voice that pretends that someone might actually answer by saying, "No, I just called to waste your time and annoy you." (I haven't done that in ages.)

Anyway, the voice mail for that poor individual gave me a number for an automated 24-hour service. I hurriedly memorized it, dialed it, and was greeted by the universal voice of electronic call reception introducing me to the bank's 24 hour service. I do not know who this woman is, but I suspect she doesn't go out much. I can't imagine being whispered sweet nothings by the cheerfully vapid voice telling me that if I wanted to activate a card or report a stolen card that I should dial "7". Activate or report stolen card, there was a risky combo...I'm certain someone, at some point, called into to report a stolen, unactivated card, and accidentally activated it at the precise time the thief was using it to buy a yacht.

I dialed "7" happy to know that I would never have to hear that voice making suggestions about neck nibbling, or explaining what the honeymoon ought to be like. Not unsurprisedly, the same voice returned, only this time explaining that if I wanted to activate the card I should dial "1". Happy, that I didn't have to risk reporting my nice, new card as stolen, and that she wasn't making invitations to investigate her new risque knickers, I dialed "1".

The voice returned and asked, with what seemed to me an infinitely subtle increase in suggestiveness in the voice - although it could have just been my paranoia regarding this person possibly mating with non-androids, if I would enter my card number. Overcoming the natural inclination to suggest that it was none of her ruddy business what my number was, primarily because I wanted the card activated, I entered the number and dutifully pressed the pound key.
I waited a moment and the voice returned and reported to me the following statement, which I shall endeavor to reproduce as faithfully as possible:

We cannot process your request as there has been an error. We cannot process your request because we are closed. Goodbye.

What is it about "24 hour service" do these people not understand? Are they on some sort of 25 hour clock, and I just happened to catch them on their one hour off?

Or maybe she's just playing hard to get...doesn't she realize I'm a happily married man?


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