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Columnist is dead serious: Down with phone automatons

Thank you for phoning Therapeutic-Health Clinic. Your call may be monitored or recorded for quality control.

If this is a medical emergency, hang up and call 9-1-1. Concerning prescriptions, hang up and call your pharmacy.

Listen carefully as the following options may have changed:

Our office hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., except on Tuesdays when we close at noon. From 1 to 2 during the first and third weeks of the month, no one is available to take your call.

On alternate weeks, lunch hour, instead, is 12 to 1 - except for weeks containing holidays; press the pound key for such listings. Our fax number is 000-123-4567.

For your protection, use your keypad to enter the password you were given on your previous visit to Therapeutic-Health Clinic. Next, your date of birth, then your insurance carrier. Finally, press the last four digits of your Social Security number, your car's license plate, and your latest lottery ticket.

If you don't have - or can't remember- enter your mother's maiden name.

Please hold while we verify your information.

Thank you. If you know your party's extension, you may dial it now.

(DIAL? Isabel thought "dialing" disappeared with the dodo.)

For Dr. Brown, press 1. Dr. Green, press 2. Dr. Black, press 3. For all others, stay on the line.

Due to the volume of calls we receive, no one is currently available to take your call. If you prefer to stay on the line, press the pound key.

Thank you. Your estimated delay is… FIVE… minutes.

You can speed your waiting time by pressing the star key to bring up a list of pre-existing health symptoms, then selecting yours from these options:

If you're running a fever, use your keypad to press the numbers of your current temperature found on your thermometer. Indicate any other personal symptoms by selecting from the following items and pressing the pound key after each to confirm.

For headache, press 1. Joint pain, press 2. Persistent nausea, press 3. Gastronomic ailment, press 4. Incontinence control, press 5. Prescription renewal, press 6. Set an appointment, press 7. For all other matters, press 8.

Remember, if at anytime you would like to return to the previous menu, you may do so by pressing the pound key. Or the star key - depending on current options.

In order to better serve you, please tell us a bit about yourself. Using your keypad, spell out: your denominational affiliation, name of the teacher who influenced you most, your highest-attained level of education. After each, press the pound key.

Still using your keypad, listen to these subsequent statements, then press 1 to agree, 2 to disagree, or 3 to neither agree nor disagree:

"The elderly burden society."

"I approve ObamaCare."

"Congress does a fine job."

If, at any time, you wish to return to the menu, press the pound - or the star-key or back-space to review the previous menu. If you are unable to return to the previous menu, press 11 to hear the complete, above list.

There are no further options. To close, press your palm on all the keys at once.

Thank you for calling Therapeutic-Health Clinic.

(When you hear banging sounds, the noise is not from a phone's pound key being pressed, it's from the phone itself being pounded in frustration.)

© Copyright 2014 by Isabel Torrey, a King City resident and long-time columnist.

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