Along with ridiculous steps to access information, or retrieve some phone messages, it would appear that receiving recorded phone messages is the norm here in the US of A.
Every Sunday night, my mobile phone rings and I'm cheerily informed, via recording, of "important announcements" and reminders from the principal of the Faery's school, regarding the upcoming week.
Twice in the last few days, my phone has rung and - despite not recognising the number - I've answered it.
Instead of a real live human on the other end, a recorded female voice has greeted me: "Hello, I have a call for you. Please hold while I connect you."
Several moments of muzak passed, then, "All of our representatives are currently busy with with other customers. Please wait for the first available..."
I have no idea what she said next, because it was at that point I hung up. Both times. I don't know why I expected something might be different the second time.
But really, is that the best they - whoever they are - can do to get my attention? Seriously? I wonder what the actual success rate is of interacting with people who are dumb enough to wait around? Or don't have anything better to do?
Listen, if you are going to call me and interrupt whatever toddler food fight I'm busy diverting, you'd better bloody well have something of interest to tell me. Nope? You want me to sit on hold? I have a response for that - it starts with "F" and the second word is "off".
Time to go back to ignoring the numbers I don't recognise, and letting voice mail catch them - although somehow I don't think these people will be leaving a message. It's funny how I never get messages from them.
Perhaps some companies believe that leaving an air of mystery will give people hope that they're sitting on hold so that they can be told they've won a million dollars.
Oh crap. I hope they weren't trying to tell me I've won a million dollars.
Unless I really have. But they'll have to try harder...