Laugh

Laugh
Click any letter for a look at my prize-winning essay from the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition. You don't even have to buy a vowel.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Hold It!

Some days you have to fight to hold on, even as you’re on hold. The scene: a small office, an injured worker, a secretary. Pleased to meet you. I’m the secretary.

Me *dialing the Insurance Company (referred to in the future as The Defendant) listed in large print on our official Insurance Policy, and assuming a pleasant, yet professional Secretary Barbie voice*: Hi! I have a Worker’s Comp case here. What do I need to do?

Insurance Professional: We don’t handle that. You’ll need to call our claims administrator. They can tell you everything.

Me: Okay. How do I reach them?

Insurance Professional: Call this number, ask for Brandon. *Amy ponders the fact that this sounds a bit like a clandestine drug drop, but decides to play along for the sake of the employee, who is beginning to swell. * "Oh, and you’ll need an Injury Report Form," the Insurance Professional whispers confidentially.

Me: How do I get one?

Insurance Professional *Amy imagines her waving a hand vaguely into the air in the approximation direction of Brazil* They have a website. . .

*Amy Dials New Insurance Professional*

Me: Hi! I have a Worker’s Comp case here. This is a very small office and we’ve never had to file a claim before. I’m supposed to ask for Brandon.

New Insurance Professional: It doesn’t matter who you talk to. You just need to file a claim.

Me: Okay, How do I do that?

New Insurance Professional: I’ll find someone in claims. *Amy makes mental note to apply for job in insurance industry.* You need a claim number. *Puts Amy on hold. No music. No cheerful voice. The sound of a phone echoing in the distance continues until Amy considers retirement and begins to create an online advertisement for her replacement.*

New Insurance Professional comes back on line: You need to verify your policy number. *Amy does this and is rewarded by the ringing phone of doom for another few hours. My fingernails now need trimming and I could use a hair cut and leg wax.*

Another New Insurance Professional comes on line: Hello. (No cheerful voice. No “How can I help you? She sounds as if she’s on an IV Valium drip.)

Me: I have never had to file a Worker’s Comp Claim. I need a claim number.

Another New Insurance Professional: We don’t give out claim numbers.

Me: That’s fine. I just need to send our employee to the doctor. What do I need to do? (Amy is thankful the patient is not spouting the spurty kind of blood. So is the patient.)

Another New Insurance Professional: I don’t think we give out claim numbers. I’ll ask my supervisor.

Me: I just need to know *Amy interrupted by her arrival once again on the Insurance Hold System which equates with Dante’s Seventh Level, the one populated by people who could not pass the Wal-Mart Greeter test. This time, however, she is serenaded with music from Casper the Friendly Ghost. Okay maybe it’s not Casper, but it’s not Mozart either.*

*Amy organizes pencil drawer, stacks post-it notes according to color, and alphabetizes contents of candy dish. Just as she tears page off calendar and resets clocks to daylight savings time, her old friend comes back on the line.*

Another New Insurance Professional: Yeah, we don’t give out claim numbers.

Me: That’s fine. What do I need to do to get this employee seen by a doctor?

Another New Insurance Professional: You can call in the report.

Me: Should I do that now or later?

Another New Insurance Professional: Yes.

Me: So I need to call you later?

Another New Insurance Professional: You can. Or you can do it now. * Amy holds phone away from ear. This kind of stupid might just seep through the phone line. Just my luck, to avoid swine flu and get struck down by this. *

Me: So I can do it now?

Another New Insurance Professional: If you want to. Whenever. At your convenience.

Me: So I can send our employee to the doctor and then call you?

ANIP: If you like.

Me: Do I need to ask for you? *Please, God, no* What’s your name?

ANIP: Beelzebub *This is not entirely accurate. I changed names to more accurately describe the situation.*

Me: So she can just go on to the doctor.

ANIP: Well she needs to go to an Urgent Care Facility.

Me: So she doesn’t go to her own doctor? How clever of you to mention it.

ANIP: Yeah.

Me: I don’t have a claim form.

ANIP: Well you can just call. . .

Me: Got it. Thanks so much for your assistance.

* Amy terminates the call and considers terminating the Insurance Professional but is leery of being placed on hold indefinitely and doesn’t think she can hold out much longer. *

Employee: So what do I do?

Me: Hold on.

6 comments:

Skyraven said...

Roflmao! I HEART YOU AMY!!!!! Oh man, I could just hear you seething. lol Do people in customer service not know that they are supposed to be helping as in "service?" lol I wish you luck mama. And I hope the employee feels better soon so they don't have to deal with this crap anymore!

JLC said...

Brilliant! Your writing is so good, I was getting frustrated right there with you! :D

Janna Qualman said...

ROFL! I'm so sorry you had to sit through it (most of it, I know all about embellishment for the sake of the craft), but boy, it reads well!

Kirsten Lesko said...

Should I do that now or later?
Yes.

HAHAHAHA!

ralfast said...

Call waiting is the Seventh Level of Hell. Worse when you are calling a pizza delivery establishment (*cough*Dominoes*cough) and they put you on hold!

Hello I want a pizza! I'm going to give you money for it and everything!

Even in person sales people can be jackholes, in fact I heard the following in local store of my *last* cellphone service provider:

"Payments are made over there," points to a ATM look-alike machine, "if you do it here (ten paces from where the machine is and with one attendant playing with her Blackberry) we will charge you $5."

Yes, that comes to about $1 per footstep, or fifty cents if you're a slow walker or are taking your time planning an escape route after you committed bloody murder, in public during daylight hours.

colbymarshall said...

HAHAHAHA! I have missed reading your funny adventures :-) I've been MIA too long!