Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Miss Cheerychirpy

When I called to get membership renewal information from a senior organization to which I subscribe, I got one of those computers that pretends to be a real live female person. It seems to be the fad among companies as this is not the first time I’ve run into Miss Cheerychirpy.

“Now, then,” Miss Cheerychirpy said in the English I requested, “I need to ask you a few questions so we can proceed.”

“We?” I looked around the room and there was no one else in here. Surely the marketing “suits” don’t think we REAL people are so stupid that we don’t know we’re talking to a MACHINE and that a computer and a real person does not make a “We.”

Miss Cheerychirpy asked a few more questions and finally said, “We need someone to helps us. I’ll get a representative on the line.” Oh, pulleeeezzzzeeee. “US?” Now we’re “us?” Well, at least she’s getting “us” help. Did “she” dash down the hall to where the humans are?

Did she turn on her speaker and whisper in Roberto’s ear, “Sweetie, there’s an old broad on line four who is a real pain. Would you take the call … you are sooo good at talking to customers.” Then I bet her tiny little screen blinked a blue glow at Roberto and she flashed him a bit of well-turned cable.

While I waited on hold, another Miss Cheerychirpy told me that I could renew online. Well, I tried that, but the special offer didn’t appear. That’s why I’m waiting for Roberto. Poor Roberto. I bet he never succumbs to Miss Cheerychirpy’s charms again. He sounded embarrassed as he explained that the special offer, in this age of technology and high-speed internet, was only available by – are you ready for this – MAIL. Roberto couldn’t even renew the special-offer membership on the phone! The card had to be returned by, yup, the USPO in the postage-paid envelope with an accompanying check!

As politely as I could, I told Roberto thanks for his trouble and that I was going to throw the offer away. I figure that two-minute phone call cost the company at least $40 – the cost of developing, printing and mailing the offer, Roberto’s salary, the 800 number, the equipment and power to run it – and then they lost a sale!

At least I did not use the same language I used the first time I got Miss Cheerychirpy on the line at – of all places – the phone company. Those pretend-people computers at Ma Bell have delicate little audio sensors and must blush right before they hang up on you.

Here’s a trick a friend of mine suggested that he swears works with these pretend computer people. When Mr. Pretendperson or Miss Cheerychirpy asks a question, mumble. Make it a good mumble, something like, “ummblllwwwwaaywammm.” When asked to repeat, mumble again. If that doesn’t get you transferred to a real person, cough. Cough a couple of times if you want to blow the circuits. When you do get a real person, don’t give away this secret technique by shouting, “YESSSSS, it works.”

Have a nice ummblllwwwwaaywammm!!!!


  1. sue too4:25 PM

    Great idea. Let's confuse Miss Cheerychirpy! She works for some of the companies I call, too. Mumbling is good but how about we read off the subject lines in our spam - you know, the ones that use random combinations of words like "but coop restless soul congo" or "I've burnish nor scintillate collarbone." See if that doesn't jam a few circuits or at least get you to a live speaker of English sooner. Wonder if maniacal laughter would do the trick as well...

  2. Anonymous1:30 PM

    Thanks for the tip. I will let you know if mumbling works.