July 23, 2024
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July 23, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

So I’m still on the phone.

If you don’t recall from last week’s article, or have blocked it out, I’m currently trying to transfer phone service from an old cell phone to a new cell phone, and also transfer my number so the five people who have it will be able to contact me.

And you’d think that every phone call to the phone company would go smoothly, since that’s what they do for a living. But it does not. Every time I entered my number, the phone system told me to call back in five minutes because of some transaction I didn’t know anything about. All I knew was that I’d gotten texts about it every single night for two years that instructed me to call an 800 number, and when I did, they told me I didn’t have to worry about it any longer, and then they proceeded to keep sending me texts. But other than that, it didn’t affect my life at all until I realized they would never let me through the phone system to speak to an operator so I can get out of this phone plan.

Ultimately, I elbowed my way through the system, using the “Just Keep Pushing 0” method. And that worked, in that I got an operator who had no idea what to do either. So he puts me on hold, and a voice comes on and says, “We have a new feature now that calls you back, so you don’t have to sit on hold! Press 1 for us to call you back. Press 3 to keep holding. Your wait time is 1 minute.”

I pressed 3. And the system said, “Okay, your—” and hung up.

So I called back. And this woman picked up, and I thought, “I can explain the whole situation to her, which now has 4 parts instead of 3, or I can simplify it:

“I’ve been trying to transfer my phone number, but I got cut off.”

And she said something along the lines of, “I can do your thing!”

And then she gets back on and says, “I can’t do your thing.”

And I’m like, “I know.”

And she says, “But if you call back in five minutes…”


“Why not?”

“Because I called days ago and was told ‘five minutes.’ These are the five minutes that are going to do it?”

So I say, “Okay, I might as well ask: What is this transaction? What’s it doing?”

And she says, “This is for the benefits!”

And I ask, “What benefits?”

And she says, “The benefits!” Like she was hoping I knew.

“All right. Thank you. But can’t you just finish the transaction process? Or cancel it? I don’t care.”

“There’s nothing we can do at our end,” she says. We, collectively, as a company. None of us. It’s min hashamayim from this point.

And then she continues again: “Anyway, if we get off the phone and you call back in five minutes…”

So I say, “We’ve been on the phone for more than five minutes since you told me “five minutes.” Has my status changed?”


So she puts me on hold. Then the next operator picks up, and I say, “This previous operator was trying to transfer my number, but something was blocked.” And he says, “I can take care of that for you!”

So he’s trying a bunch of stuff, and there are whole chunks of time when nothing’s happening. But he does get back on the line every 30 seconds to ask me, “Are you still there?”


“Okay, I’m still working on it, but it’s taking some time.”

“I understand. This is what you told me 30 seconds ago.”

“Hello, are you still there?”


“I’m still working on it, but it’s taking some time.”

“I got it. It’s like I was in middle of telling you—”

“Hello, are you still there?”

“Always assume I’m still here. I have no motivation to hang up! Why am I the flight risk here?”

And I know it’s not a machine, because every time he gets on, he mispronounces my name differently.

“Hello, Mordell, are you still on the line?”

Anyway, after a half hour of this, he says, “Okay, I canceled the transaction and got your number switched over.”

This is despite the other operator insisting that it absolutely could not be done. This must be the head of the company.

“Now all I have to do is transfer your service.”

And then there’s some more silence punctuated by interruptions, and finally he gets on and says, “Hello, Medical?”


“Let’s test it out. Is your phone turned on?”


So he says, “Try to make a call with it.” And it turns out my phone is now just playing a busy signal on its own. Nothing I press stops it.

So the rep says, “Well, I definitely did it. You know what? Try calling someone in a half hour, and if it doesn’t work, call us back.”

The only reason I let him off the phone at that point is that he’d done so much and he had a whole company to run.

Anyway, I wait a half hour, and sure enough, it doesn’t work. And now it’s getting late, and I have to get to school soon so I could talk to a wall over there.

So I call the number again, and I press 00000, and some operator picks up. Anyway, at this point, I’m in way too deep to simplify the problem in one sentence. So I say, “We were trying to switch phone service, and we were able to switch the phone number, and he said he canceled that transaction, and supposedly he transferred the service too, but now we can’t get the phone to work, and the guy said I should call back.”

And then I hear silence.

I hate that silence. You hear loud typing in the background, and you hope they’re reading their notes, but if that’s what they’re doing, what’s with all the typing? Are they having an emergency texting conversation with the previous guy?

(“You get on.” “No, you get on. I can’t even pronounce his name.”)

Finally, she gets on and says, “Hello, Marcal?”


“I’m not trained for this issue.”

So she puts me on hold. And the voice comes on and says, “We have a new feature! Press 1 to have us call you back, or press 3 to stay on the line.” So I press 3, and I get cut off.

Mordechai Schmutter is a freelance writer and a humor columnist for Hamodia and other magazines. He has also published eight books and does stand-up comedy. You can contact him at [email protected].

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