In December I called the local Best Buy because I wanted to know if they carried portable Minidisc players. I understand that they're probably especially busy that month, but I thought it was a pretty simple question. Here's a summary of my telephone experience:
I navigate the automated menu and select the option that has me ending up in the audio department. "Good," I thought, "Right where I need to be."
The audio guy sounds confused and puts me on hold. I guess he got one of his colleagues because a different guy answers the phone. He sounds a little confused.
"So, you're calling about portable DVD . . ."
"No," I correct him. "Portable MiniDisc players."
Before I can stop him, he transfers me to the computer department.
I wait on hold for a while until the computer guy says he'll transfer me to the music department. I was skeptical, but as I wait I recall the layout of the store. The blank minidiscs are definitely over in the music section. I figure someone will know what I'm talking about.
The phone call passes the 10 minute mark while I'm on hold.
There's a break in the hold music as the phone starts to ring. I quiver with anticipation . . . for 16 unanswered rings. No one picks up the phone, and the call goes silent (not dead).
I've been on the phone for 13 minutes at this point.
By default, the phone system rerouts me to customer service.
The customer service rep (a different one, again) wants to transfer me to digital imaging. I beg to differ. I try to stress that it's audio related.
"It's a recording device," I explain.
He says he'll transfer me back to audio, but this time, no one answers.
The next thing I know a woman answers the phone from the customer service desk. I'm getting a little flustered, but I still manage to ask my question in the same manner.
"Hi, I am interested in portable Minidisc players. Do you have those?"
"Minidisc players?" she asks.
"No, we do not."
"OK. Thank you.
I called a mainstream electronics store to find out if they had portable minidisc players. Seventeen minutes and 20 seconds later, I am told they do not.
Addendum (25 Jan): IVR Cheat Sheet lists a quick way to talk to a human at Best Buy: "Press 1,1,1,#,# and then wait through the 3 prompts asking for your home telephone number." Next time I'll call the 888 number and use this technique.
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