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I made the mistake today of allowing someone to pay me through PayPal. They gave me a mobile phone code and message that said I had to create a pin number. So I did. Then they said I had to activate “this” phone, but there was no phone. I contacted customer support, which turned out to be an “automated customer support assistant,” named Sarah. If she is an “assistant,” I am left to presume that Sarah, who is a computer, has an automated computer boss. Anyway, here is a transcript of our typed “conversation” that “Sarah” sent me:

Hi. I’m Sarah, PayPal’s automated customer support assistant. How can I help you today? You : I’m trying to figure out how to claim money. I received a message saying I had to activate a phone, but I have received no instructions on how to do so.

Sarah – PayPal : I’m afraid I didn’t understand your question. Can you ask it more simply?
You : How do I activate a phone to claim money?

Sarah – PayPal : How can I help you?
You : By answering my question.

Sarah – PayPal : I’m right here if you have any other questions.
You : That’s very comforting.

Sarah – PayPal : Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
You : I will, as soon as you’ve done the first thing for me.

Sarah – PayPal : Let me know if there is anything else I can do for you.
You : You can offer to help me again. That would be nice.

Sarah – PayPal : Thanks. I’m right here if you have any other questions.
You : Good to know. Do you think we’ll ever achieve peace in the Middle East?

Sarah – PayPal : Thanks for stopping by. I’m right here if you have any other questions.
You : Did you use to work for the Department of Motor Vehicles?

Sarah – PayPal : I don’t know exactly what you mean. Can you be a little more specific about the issue?
You : Your avatar looks hot.

Sarah – PayPal : I’m sorry, but I still don’t understand your issue. For further assistance, you can contact PayPal directly.
You: I did, and they sent me you.

Sarah – PayPal : Thank you for stopping by.
You: You’re welcome.

(Conversation Terminated)

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blueeyedadri
blueeyedadri says:
This is almost as bad as the voice recognized commands, you end up shouting in the phone!

Thanks for sharing, welcome to the blogsphere!
Lesli Muir Lytle
Lesli Muir Lytle says:
Yes, welcome.
I'd be careful. If you start getting recorded breathing and hang up calls, I'd report Sarah to the police. But I guess that's what you get for hitting on her!

Lesli Muir Lytle
Kathleen
Kathleen says:
A case for Donovan Creed. Good preamble for one of your novels!!!!!
ceebee308
ceebee308 says:
Fiction... Or Non-Fiction... Completely possible considering that I've spoken to Kimberly in Mumbai! :)

Excellent post, John!

Claude
Debra L. Schubert
Debra L. Schubert says:
This is freaking hilarious. Love the question about peace in the Middle East!!
Valerie
Valerie says:
I work with PayPal on a daily basis. The ole' "hot poker to the eyes" would be much more agreeable.

I agree with Kathleen, it'd be a good preamble to a story. PayPal, I think, could make one mental.

Welcome to the blogosphere :o)
Heidi Sutherlin
Heidi Sutherlin says:
Careful. You wouldn't want to annoy Sarah. You never know what she may be capable of. Misdirection is an age old tool...
The First Carol
The First Carol says:
Hahaha! The only thing that would have made the experience any richer would have been if Sarah had been from another continent, like maybe somewhere near India.

Great looking blog :-)
Melanie Sherman
Melanie Sherman says:
How hot is her avatar? Do you suppose I could copy it for my own?
starrygirl1
starrygirl1 says:
This is too funny. Loved the Motor Vehicle & Middle East questions. Welcome to the blogosphere!