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The Times
  • Loretta LaRoche: Dealing with voice mail can test your sanity

  • Columnist Loretta LaRoche says she’s often thought that if she had to go into another career, she could be a concierge. Although she says she’d get the job done, she knows she wouldn’t be happy.

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  • Dear readers,
    I wish to apologize for any omission that occurred last week in my column about energy drinks. The piece was prompted by an article I read in a recent issue of Newsweek magazine. I quoted directly several times from the article, which also appeared online at The Daily Beast.com. Those direct quotes should have been clearly identified with quotation marks and should have noted the magazine and the author, Kent Sepkowitz. I was writing my column on an iPad for the first time while traveling and had technical difficulties. My final version of the column was never saved or emailed.
    As a writer I realize the issues of integrity and ethical practice involved in presenting work to the public, and I sincerely offer apologies to Mr. Sepkowitz and to my readers.
    Thank you,
    Loretta LaRoche
     
    I’ve often thought that if I had to go into another career, I could be a concierge. I would get the job done, but I wouldn’t be happy.
    I would guess that a majority of my life has been lived on the phone. Yes, some of it has been focused on interviews for a variety of things, like a show I’m doing or a book that I’m writing. But I consider those fun. The rest of the time, I’m trying to manage getting appointments with doctors and dentists, paying bills, or trying to access a host of individuals to do maintenance or cleanups of some kind at my house.
    I also get appointments for my partner and used to so for my mother, my children and my two ex-husbands.
    Since finding out that I have to have a shoulder replacement, I have added phone calls to the surgeon’s office. Now this may not seem daunting to some folks, but I have really reached my limit of listening to voice-mail programs and the need for them to tell me my call is being monitored for quality assurance. I would love to know who’s monitoring it and if their taping it for future sales training. If so, then they should be paying me and others for our services.
    One company whose bill I pay by phone has a system that could be used by the FBI to extract information from spies. Once you engage their voice mail, you are pressing numbers every few seconds. After you answer the human clone’s questions, you are turned over to a real person in some far-off land whose accent is so thick you need a translator. I hate to keep saying “what?” but I have no choice, which keeps me on the phone even longer. I know I could just mail the stinking payment, but days go by and, voila, I am forced to use the phone.
    Page 2 of 2 - The worst case of phone fatigue I’ve experienced is when I call the phone company. When I interrupt the clone, it keeps insisting it has the answer to my question. I then begin to press O for operator until I have a broken finger before it stops. Why did THEY have to get rid of the nice operators who said “Hello, can I help you?” Oh, I know, because it’s more efficient, doesn’t allow for individuals to vent, and helps the bottom line.
    Well, I’m sick of it, and the only bottom I’m interested in is mine, because it’s getting wider from sitting so long making these calls.
    Author, humorist, PBS star and Fortune 500 trainer Loretta LaRoche lives in Plymouth, Mass. To share your pet peeves, questions or comments, write to The Humor Potential, 50 Court St., Plymouth, MA 02360. E-mail her, visit her website at www.stressed.com, or call 800-998-2324.
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