We’ve been doing what they call a beta-test in the last several weeks, and there have been more than a few misunderstandings. Folks say they were put on hold for too long, or they had an unfriendly experience when they finally spoke to an Intervention Assistance Specialist.
Looks like a few people complained about being disconnected in the middle of their call - and I can see where that’s upsetting, but there are legitimate reasons for it which I’m going to address here. As usual, 99% of all disappointment and hurt feelings are caused by unrealistic expectations. In this case, yours.
In the Beginning
When telephones first came out, any mention of an accident or emergency during a private conversation was dealt with in a speedy fashion because the operator, Marge, was always listening in, and her husband was the police chief and fire warden. Those days are long gone.
In the mid 20th century, official emergency services went national and then international. When muscular dystrophy was cured, all of Jerry Lewis’ telephone operators were about to be out of a job, so they formed the “Workers 918 Union.” The name came from the number of operators, and was eventually reduced to 911 due to employees finding more remunerative employment at Taco Bell. Soon the union was called “911,” and the name stuck.
In those early days the ratio of callers to operators was very small, and personalized attention was the norm. After reporting a rape or burglary, for instance, it was not at all unusual for the operator to ask if the caller would also like their dry cleaning picked up or their lawn mowed. This was considered to be common courtesy, and was the hallmark of the emergency response team.
The Sweet Smell of Change
After the recent criminalization of all unions and employee benefits associations, Workers 911 Union was purchased first by Wendy’s International and then by amazon.net.universal, a wholly owned subsidiary of Kraft Foods, which of course is a division of Sprockets International. We have spent a little time since the acquisition of this important customer service organization to spruce it up and rethink its purpose, abilities and just plain usefulness. Next month we will roll out our new and improved “Help U Help Us Help Others” (HUHUHO) program.
As of January 1, when you call 911 you will experience speedy, professional help on an unsurpassed level. We know we are giving you superior service, but we also know that change can be difficult for everyone concerned. Our employees have been trained extensively. Now our job is to educate you, the customer, so we can
avoid as many lawsuits make the transition as smooth as possible.
What Can I Expect?
Whatever you like. We’re here to tell you what will happen, not to discuss your feelings. Under HUHUHO, you will experience the following:
- Hold times not to exceed ten minutes, except during peak calling periods of 0700 to 2300 every day. While you’re waiting, we provide recorded self-help information on popular topics like “So, You Were Just Shot in the Neck,” and “What To Do When Your House is on Fire and You See the Smoke Coming Under the Door but You’re in a Wheelchair and You Can’t Move.” We call our completely complimentary service HUHUHOTUP, which stands for “Help U Help Us to Help Others by not Tying Up the Phone.”
- When you are connected with one of our skilled Intervention Assistance Specialists, you will first be presented with an array of monthly specials which we are certain will be of use to you. In January, for instance, we are offering the astounding Poo Devil Personal Cleaning Machine for three easy payments of $29.95 plus shipping and handling. That’s a 50% savings! You’re welcome. If you’d like a second Poo Devil for just $19.95 plus shipping and handling, just let your Intervention Assistance Specialist know.
NOTE: We ask that you remain silent while being presented with our special offers, so that our operators don’t have to restart their scripts. Any interruption from you will delay response time to the emergency situation you are about to report, and we know you don’t want that. So don’t make it happen.
- Our specialist will then take your report. Speak slowly and clearly, spelling out your name, your address, and the location of the incident, and repeating yourself as many times as you are requested to do so. We cannot be responsible for errors in transcription of the information you provide, and if we knock down your neighbor’s door by mistake because you cannot be bothered to enunciate clearly, you will receive the bill and/or be arrested for making a nuisance call.
- We promise to deliver your report to the appropriate emergency response team, if it can be determined who that is, as soon as we can after receiving it. Such is our commitment to you, the citizen in need, that we almost never take longer than 30 minutes to do this. We know this response time is remarkable, but as professionals we achieve this high standard of excellence on a regular basis (weekends, nights and holidays excepted).
Did You Hang Up on Me?
Now that you know about our excellent new service, we need to discuss the reasons why one of our extremely professional operators might disconnect your call. Our trained researchers have determined that nearly 87% of 911 calls are not emergencies at all. In order to have any hope of dealing effectively with true emergencies, our operators cannot speak with time wasters, moaners or heavy breathers. They are therefore authorized to “discon” anyone who misuses the 911 system.
We know this is confusing for a lot of people. It can also be aggravating to be fined for repeatedly calling 911 for non-emergency reasons, or to end up in jail, especially when your child has just been kidnapped. Because we understand those of you who abuse the system are shockingly ignorant, we have provided the following chart, “Do Call 911/Don’t Call 911” in pictorial form.
Special Health Concerns
It should be obvious to even the most obtuse that if you are unconscious or you’ve been killed, you should call 911 immediately. That is exactly the kind of situation our trained professionals handle. In fact, failure to call in such an instance would certainly be a parole violation.
If you have a heart condition, which your doctor may have referred to as a “dodgy ticker,” a “bum pump,” or other technical terms which we can’t spell right either, remember the acronym CPR. This stands for Call, Push, and Raid the fridge. Failure to do any of these things in the proper order could lead to severe regret. Also, let emergency personnel and mourning loved ones know you did your best by keeping the following instructions on your person at all times:
There have been a few complaints of operator rudeness, and we need to nip this in the bud. Everyone appreciates kindness and patience, but we are not your therapists. You can’t get speedy, professional assistance from people who are all touchy-feely. When our trained personnel call you “bitch,” they are only trying to stop your whining and get the information they need in order to help you. Likewise, “Who gives a crap?” is a rhetorical statement of efficiency. Sometimes you will hear an operator giggling, but that is probably just gas from a previous meal. We are not here to be your friends. We are here to help. You need to stop sniveling and let us do our jobs. Got it? Because we can always hang up and move on to the next caller.
And Finally, a Word about Politeness
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