"With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?"

More
Am I paranoid to wonder whether AT&T's "customer-service" representative was punishing Stanley Fish for correcting her grammar? Or, more precisely, for ranting? 

He kind of asked for it. I mean, she was instructed to say "With whom do I have the pleasure of speaking with?" He complained. No doubt she has also been instructed to say "I'm sorry you feel that way" in response to any complaint she can't resolve. So when that remark elicited another complaint from Fish, there wasn't much she could do to get him off the phone (and surely she has also been instructed to get callers off the phone ASAP) except to fob him off on someone else. So she invented a problem with his Social Security number and shipped him off to limbo.

Real human communication has been driven far underground in our dealings with corporate representatives. Paradoxically, corporate goals of courtesy and efficiency are what drove it there. Of course, the result is neither courteous nor efficient -- it's just mechanized. The only partial solution I know is to stay really, really nice, even when I'm really, really annoyed. Does anyone else have another strategy that's more satisfying?


Jump to comments
Presented by
Get Today's Top Stories in Your Inbox (preview)

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity


Join the Discussion

After you comment, click Post. If you’re not already logged in you will be asked to log in or register. blog comments powered by Disqus

Video

CrossFit Versus Yoga: Choose a Side

How a workout becomes a social identity

Video

Is Technology Making Us Better Storytellers?

The minds behind House of Cards and The Moth weigh in.

Video

A Short Film That Skewers Hollywood

A studio executive concocts an animated blockbuster. Who cares about the story?

Video

In Online Dating, Everyone's a Little Bit Racist

The co-founder of OKCupid shares findings from his analysis of millions of users' data.

Video

What Is a Sandwich?

We're overthinking sandwiches, so you don't have to.

Video

Let's Talk About Not Smoking

Why does smoking maintain its allure? James Hamblin seeks the wisdom of a cool person.

Writers

Up
Down

More in Entertainment

Just In