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Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Future Of Crime And Punishment

Phone (automated female voice of neutral but strangely cheerful inflection): Hello! Thank you for calling the Law And Equity FRAUD Hotline. If you are reporting a FRAUD, please press 1. If you are a victim of FRAUD, press 2. If you are the perpetrator of FRAUD, press 3.

Caller:  Beep...uh...beep...oops!

Phone: I'm...sorry, I didn't quite get that. Please try again.

Caller:  Beep!

Phone: FRAUD is a serious criminal offense and I'm glad you are reporting it. Please repeat your entry.

Caller: Beep beep?

Phone: Alright, I understand you are reporting a crime that you have committed. If this is correct, press 1. If not, press 2.

Caller: BEEP BEEP!

Phone:  I'm...sorry. That's what they all say. If you insist on your innocence, press 1.

Caller: Beep.

Phone: Stubborn? I understand. Please slap yourself around under a bright light. When you are ready to tell the truth, press 4.

Caller: Beep beep beep beep.

Phone: Thank you for confessing to the crime of FRAUD. You may now lock yourself up and throw away the key. If you believe this judgement has been reached in error, please stay on the line (muzak).

Phone (automated male voice): Hello! All our representatives are busy right now but your call will be answered in the order it was received and monitored to insure quality of service. Estimated waiting time is between five years and fifteen years which, if you are found guilty, will be deducted from your sentence. If not found guilty, please press the pound key to repeat the interrogation. Thank you for calling Law And Equity Hotline. Goodbye.


  1. Nothng more frustrating than the press 1 or press 2 routine....the only thing worse is the automated answering service at my old place of employment..voice recognition..I think NOT.

  2. Do you have any hair left? I would have pulled all mine out. As a matter of fact, I would not even have eyebrows. I hate telephones, I hate to hear "if you want......" even more. Life used to be so much easier and I want it back.

  3. Just another example of why I used to teach Kafka, Camus, and Joyce as the prophetic voices in the desert predicting the latter 20th to the early 21st century world to come in my HS Modern Literature course!

  4. Delores--From Auden's Baroque Eclogue "The Age Of Anxiety" we seem to have indeed progressed to frustration.

    Arleen-- Yes! I just checked and I still have hair--but only because I exaggerated the script. I too miss telephone humans.

    Willie-- I wish I had taken that course, caro maestro, but it must have been after my HS years. Have caught up a bit and am looking for a copy of Alan Watts' "The Wisdom Of Insecurity".

  5. The REAL crime is modern technology and the uncanny art of dehumanization.

    I've been there, Geo.
    I've pressed 1,2,3, and 4
    I can fully sympathize.....

  6. When a scumbag began using stolen credit cards to screw us over 20 years ago, it was a nightmare, but at least we could talk to people in person to get it straightened out. It took a full year, though.

    In this day and age of automated customer service, it must be a complete nightmare for you. Hang in there.

  7. Ah you have hit on one of my few pet peeves - these automated answering services. It's ironic that these were instituted to increase efficiency yet they make things more complicated than ever. I suppose the silver lining though is that we are treated to some wonderful flute solos while we're on hold...

  8. I can stay calm through most things but these systems are a kill trigger! I wish you great calm and perseverance.

  9. Seems the goal here is to lead callers away from talking to a human and to give up as soon as possible through annoying voice systems. wow...


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