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December 15, 2019

On hold for 86 minutes on my Apple Watch

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This past Thursday I decided to finally end my 36-year-long subscription to the Charlottesville Daily Progress.

The semi-annual jacking up of my subscription rate finally hit my wall when the latest bill demanded $325 for the next six months.

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With an added $2.95 processing fee because I pay by check.

The e-Paper, a perfect replica with far better graphics quality, costs $60/year.

Do the math.

But I digress.

I called the paper's local customer service number using my Apple Watch and after four or five attempts, was able to successfully negotiate the brain-dead automated voice mail system and get to where I could press "3" on my watch's keypad screen to speak to a live person in "customer service."

That was around 1 p.m.

At 2:26 p.m. — 86 minutes with every minute having the same recording telling me that they'll be with me in a moment but if I preferred, I should press "1" and they'll call me back the moment a representative is free, and I won't lose my place in line — do they think I just fell off the turnip truck? — a guy came on and in a couple minutes my business was done.

What struck me during the wait was how much more convenient it was to be on hold via my watch rather than my phone.

I just went about my business all over the house and outside without having to worry about putting the phone down and forgetting about it, or touching its face and disconnecting the call.

FunFact: the New Yorker cartoon by Leo Cullum that leads this post appeared in the August 10, 1998 issue.

You could look it up.

I cut it out and put it on my fridge immediately because it so perfectly captures one of my peculiarities, namely, what I call "pathological patience." 

I will stay on hold forever.

In the same vein, when I'm in the supermarket checkout line and engrossed in something I'm reading in some magazine and I'm next up for checkout, I'll leave my line and go to the back of another one so as to be able to finish the piece.

Diff'rent strokes.

December 15, 2019 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


At 59, I'm the tail end of people that still get the paper. I was a carrier as a kid, making enough money to buy a dark room and other things I was into then. Rochester was home to Gannet which had 2 local papers, one morning and one evening, plus a German paper that petered out in the 60s. When Gannet pushed their terrible CMS on our paper, it was ridiculous. No links out! I had the daily until a few years ago after thinning the paper and jacking up the price, I canceled and went with the WSJ which was much cheaper. I ended up getting the weekend paper when the local had a deal, $4 a month, then 8, then 12 and finally $16. At that point I called to cancel and they reduced the price to $12.

The carrier service is atrocious. The same carrier delivers both local and WSJ, yet 3 of 6 WSJ deliveries in a week were missed. I would have been fired for doing that as a kid, yet it is routine in the winter. I think the local paper prints the WSJ too and I don't get it if they are behind.

Gannet was recently sold to a much smaller local company, Gatehouse. Hopefully they'll use a better CMS and actually have links out. From the on-line services I've used, the NY Times does the best job. I'm currently subscribed to them.

I admire your patience. Bluetooth headsets are a big help for being on hold, but the watch is certainly a cool idea.

Posted by: Greg | Dec 15, 2019 3:04:18 PM

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