During a very dark period in my life, I used Sprint for my cell phone service. The reception was decent, but I hated the company as I have hated few things in my life. I switched providers specifically because it was simply not possible to reach their customer service department. I'd call and spend a small eternity listening to a robot voice slowly dole out tedious instructions--"Press 1 to pay your bill, 2 to hear our mailing address, 3 to get very, very angry, 4 to tear your hair out and stuff it down your own throat, 5 to throw your cell phone at a passerby and scream til one or both of your eyeballs explode." I'd press the appropriate number, and then be transferred to another department with a robot voice which doled out new instructions at the same incredibly slow rate. I'd pick the appropriate number again, and be transferred again...only to be offered some more robot choices. It was like being on a ferris wheel against my will. This went on and on, with no opportunity to speak to a person. Eventually my call would just be cut off. Seriously--after I'd spent 10 minutes pressing 2, then 5, then 1, then 3, then 72, then 119, then 2577860287, then 4, then 9, then 666, then being put on hold, my call would just get cut off. This happened enough times that I eventually just switched providers. Once I sat on hold for 45 minutes, only to have my call cut off. Christ, I hate Sprint.
But as you know, most companies have that same passive-aggressive robot answering their phones, doing nothing at all but making nice customers turn violent. That's why Paul English is going to get his feet rubbed. On his website he has posted an insanely huge list of companies and the shortcuts you can press in their automated systems to get right to a person. In some cases, it's as easy as pressing 0, but in others, it's more complex. For instance, with AT&T, you press the pound key four times, then 1. With Aetna, you press the star key three times. With Dell, you press 1, then extension 7266966, then press 1, then 4, then 4. This is the kind of information that would have saved me several pieces of broken furniture and 2 ruptured eyeballs.
How does Paul get this info? Does he spend all day, every day on the phone calling up Target and American Airlines and IBM, pressing crazy combinations of buttons til he discovers the the loophole? Or does he travel the country, sleeping with customer service reps from each company til he can dupe them into giving up the coveted phone system secret, then dumping them like cheap hookers? I don't know, but whatever his methods, I endorse them--even if animal testing or POW-style torture is involved.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to rub some feet.