I hate talking on the phone. It is just not my favorite thing to do. Especially with cell phones, because there’s the added paranoia of whether my face will sweat so much that it damages the computer I’m jamming against my ear or I will accidentally hang up on someone because of said sweaty ear.
While I have found that using a headset mitigates some of the anxiety for me, especially when it comes to the part of my anxiety that struggles to get people to repeat themselves when I don’t hear them clearly, it doesn’t impact the part of me that just doesn’t like talking on the phone. I mean, I can raise the volume on the headset and make it work, but only to a point.
And, of course, being on hold is no one’s favorite activity. But recently, I found a new low in being on hold when I was trying to make a health care appointment.
First off, there’s the pre-recorded message. I called the main line, and had to listen to their Covid spiel. And then, when I pressed the number for scheduling, the whole message repeated. That was special.
The music that they played on the hold line was fine. Not great, not terrible. No, the terrible part was that every 30 seconds, there’s a click. It sounds like, just maybe, someone is going to pick up. For my particular phone anxiety, the moment the other person picks up creates a great deal of tension in me. It’s time, I have to speak to a human being and try to make myself understood and understand the other person. Scary!
But that click just heralds the arrival of yet another automated recording, thanking me for being on hold and suggesting that I might want to press 1 for voicemail.
And if you stick it out for a mere 5 minutes, it just sends you to voicemail anyway. 10 interruptions to the music that sound like the phone is being picked up, and they just send you to voicemail anyway.
Of course, before you leave your voicemail, you must listen to ANOTHER automated message with instructions on how to voicemail.
Overall, the stress of making that appointment (that I didn’t really want to make, I’ve got issues here), was exacerbated by their horrible hold, and I hope that my stressed voicemail wherein I said their hold procedure sucked will cause them to rethink the torture they are putting potential patients through.