I had some free time at work today and decided it was time to get my voicemail set up. I lifted the receiver to my ear, pressed the button with the envelope picture and surrendered myself to the automated prompts. A neutral, female sounding robot voice came on.
“To listen to your messages, press 1. To send a message, press 2. To change your greeting press,” the long beep as I anticipated what she was going to say and pressed 3. I imagined that the face these words came from was neither smiling nor frowning – emotionless. I can work with that.
“Please enter your password, followed by the # sign.” I entered 1+2+(my 4 digit extension), what I understood to be the default password on our phone system.
“That is an incorrect password. Please enter your password, followed by the # sign.”
Hmmm, I’ll try one more time. Maybe I had inadvertently transposed 2 of the digits. I pressed the 6 keys in sequence, more carefully and deliberately this time. The response of the automated attendant, who I now imagined was 45 years old, slender with straight, light brown hair and still wearing the same blank expression came back on.
“That is the same incorrect password. Please enter your pass-”
I cut her off and reached for the keypad a third time, mildly annoyed by her editorializing. I pressed 1; I pressed 3; crap! She had gotten me so flustered, my finger had slipped! There’s no backspace on an automated phone menu. I’d have to abort the process and start over. Figuring there was no point in entering the remainder of my 4 digit extension, I hit #. Again the voice, neutral and nonjudgmental, but without empathy and clearly with no vested interested in my success.
“You must enter a password before pressing #. Please enter a-” Jesus, work with me lady, please! I stopped, took a deep breath and resolved to make one more attempt. 1+2+(4 digit extension). I held my breath.
“You have made too many attempts to enter your password and have been locked out of the system. Please contact your administrator for further assistance.”
You win this round, automated voice menu lady.