Dear Diary:

So when you were a little kid and the grown-ups asked you what you wanted to be when you grew up, I'm pretty sure you didn't say, "Oh please, cast me into the dark pit that is telemarketing so that I can have hate heaped upon my head and earn minimum wage at the same time. Please. Pretty please."

And because I know that no one dreams of a life as a telemarketer, if I happen to get called by one I try to show them some patience and kindness. It usually comes back to bite me in the butt and today was no exception to the rule.

Bell Canada is trying to get folks to sign up for super duper extra fancy phone services and it's blitzing its customers with special offers. We already have Call Answer so that for the 23 1/2 hours a day I'm on-line there's still a way for people to reach us by phone--at least they can leave us a message.

The telemarketer told me if I wanted to upgrade that to Call Answer Plus then I would be able to check on-line to see if we had any phone messages and not have to log off all the time.

"There's a little icon you click and it tells you," he informed me.

"So how do I get the software?" I ask him.

There is a pause at the other end of the line. So now I know this guy really has clue zero about how this will work. I felt like asking him if pixies were involved but waited to see what he would say.

"You just go to the Bell web site and they put the icon on for you," he tells me. Alrightee then. I figure I can handle this--I'll find the download myself and install it. He tells me the new service will be active after lunch, to go to the Bell web site in the afternoon.


So I hit the Bell Canada web site and it is one of the worst designed, least intuitive sites I've endured in a long time. Fortunately, it has a search function, so I type in "Call Answer Plus" and I get to this page which takes forever to load on my pokey internet connection. Nothing obvious there, but buried at the bottom right of the page are instructions to a download a user manual. EUREKA.

So I download and read through the instructions (which take forever to load because they're in Adobe Acrobat which is very pretty but hello I don't care about pretty, I care about fast). Tick tock tick tock. Finally, it loads and it tells me if I want to find out if I have new voice messages from my computer I have to go to http://www.bell.ca/callanswer/ . EUREKA. The end is in sight.

So I type in that URL and it takes me ... RIGHT BACK TO THE FREAKIN' PAGE I JUST LEFT.

Not to the page where I will get the download.

No, not to a page where I might at least get directed to the download.


I am now at the anger level called peeved. About half an hour of my life has evaporated away for no good reason. Fine.

So I pick up the phone and call Bell Customer Service. I figure a few words with a knowledgeable Customer Service Rep and Mr. Man we'll have that little icon loaded and all will be well with the world.

Yes, I am THAT simple-minded, eh.

See, I hadn't even considered the fact that Bell Canada has joined the rest of corporate Canada in the rush to voicemail. Can you say, "Domo Arragoto, Mr. Roboto" boys and girls? I'm sure you can ...

So I spent another half an hour in voicemail hell without any sign of human life or instructions that would help me find the pixies I need to get that darn icon in my systems tray.

I am now at the anger level called ticked off. I can feel my will to live seeping slowly out of my fingertips. So I go back to the Bell site and I see they have a feature where you can talk to a service representative using Netmeeting. Hey, I have that. So I go through all the screens to get that working and ...

About 432 screens later I get a screen that tells me the number I have dialed (which is programmed into the site by them--it's all automated, there's nothing for me to choose) can't accept Netmeeting calls.


I am now at the anger level called nuclear. Over an hour of my life has gone down the toilet in the search of the elusive Call Answer Plus software. I am beyond cranky. In the front of the phone book there is an e-mail address you can use to reach Bell Customer Service.


The first draft of my e-mail note began:

"Dear Ca Ca Poopy Stupidhead People at Bell Canada:

I see the Bell Canada Brain Trust, Psychological Warfare Division has been working overtime ..."

Well, you get the drift of what I wrote. So I used the first draft to purge all the venom out of my system and let my Inner Bitch run screaming around the keyboard. Then I rewrote my e-mail to let them know I was angry and I WANT MY FREAKIN' ICON AND I WANT IT NOW.

I did it politely, though, because I know the cubeperson who has to read this e-mail had nothing to do with the design of the brain dead website or the stupidhead voicemail.

(And don't think I didn't mourn the loss of the words "Ca Ca Poopy Stupidhead" because I did. Yes, I can be THAT immature.)

I haven't heard back from them.

So as it stands, it's now Faceless, Souless Flawed Technology: 1

Marn: 0

I'll let you know how Round Two goes.



There has been an outpouring of sympathy for the plight of one small moose. The incredibly cute and deeply talented Paul of Rilting fame has even made a button for the Do It For The Moose Campaign.

Here's where the instructions are on how to get it.

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Want to delve into my sordid past?
She's mellllllllllllllting - Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 - Back off, Buble - Monday, Dec. 19, 2011 - Dispersed - Monday, Nov. 28, 2011 - Nothing comes for free - Monday, Nov. 21, 2011 - None of her business - Friday, Nov. 04, 2011 -

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