Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Robots calling

I probably shouldn’t even have answered the phone. I usually don’t when it’s an unfamiliar out-of-area number. The robo voice said, “If you are a senior suffering with diabetes or low back pain, please press 1. We have free help for you. If you are not a senior with diabetes or low back pain, please press 2 to be removed from our list.”

I pressed 2 and got another message: “Please hold on and you will be connected with an agent who will remove you from our list.” It rang and rang until I heard some curious babbling, then a person who said, “Hello, hello . . . “ It was not an agent but a lovely woman with a Spanish accent who was not a senior with diabetes or low back pain. She also had pressed 2 to be removed from the list. We had a brief civilized chat about our good health and the insanity of the communications system and said goodbye.

But it got me to thinking. These people who do the robo-calling don’t want to remove you from the list so they’ve figured out a way to connect you with another person who shares some of the same wants and needs you have. You have a pleasant conversation with that anonymous person who becomes almost like a new friend and you both hang up no longer annoyed with the robo-caller.

And during this intense pre-election period, there’s yet another angle to this. The candidate’s robo-caller could call and the message would say, “If you are suffering from occasional headaches (substitute: painful joints, nasal congestion, insomnia, anxiety, depression, constipation, PMS, erectile dysfunction, job-related stress . . .) we have free help for you. Please press 1 to be connected with an agent. If you have none of these conditions, please press 2 to be connected with an agent who will give you free help to maintain your wonderful life.”

The agent on the other end of the line could then tailor a message to garner your support for their candidate. For the example, if you pressed 1, the Romney people would tell you that Obamacare is a travesty that will only create havoc in the American health care system and your erectile dysfunction won’t be treated properly if President Obama gets another four years in office. If you pressed 2 because life if good, the Romney agent will tell you that your lifestyle is in great jeopardy unless you elect Romney president. The advice is free. There’s nothing you need to do other than show up at your local polling place and vote for their man.

If you are a robo-caller and you want to use this new system of mine, you’re going to have to pay me big bucks for this wonderful idea.

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