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  • Paul Davidson

Reminiscing About Zero

Man, zero used to have it good. “Used to” being the key words.

These days, when you call a customer service or technical help or general line to talk to/complain/argue/investigate something with your latest favorite company and the recorded voice comes on the line and you’d just rather talk to a real person — you can no longer press “zero.”


Because the powers that be have figured out a way to make you listen to all of the options before you can decide on where you want to go. They have assigned so many departments to a myriad of different codes and numbers and computers who ask you to say “NO” or “YES” all because they don’t want you to simply be able to press ZERO and get an operator.

Go ahead. I dare you. Call one of your companies who provide you with gas, electric, water, internet, cable TV, fruit of the month or what not. Then when the recorded voice starts, press zero.

“I’m sorry, you have pressed an incorrect extension. Please listen to the main menu and try again.”

Fifteen minutes later it will be revealed to you that, on this phone system the magic number is 7. Seven!? Who makes the number 7 the button to press to get a live operator? Numbers for operators or live technical support representatives have ranged from 6, 7, 8 and 9 to 11, 16, 32, 501, 1123, 55 and double-zero.

It never used to be this way. You always could be confident that when you pressed zero, you got an operator. But these days, those snakes at your favorite company have found yet another way to get you to waste more of your day trying to determine just what button combination will get you where you need to go.

I hate it. And so should you.

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