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I Hate Automated Phone Answering Systems

Updated on November 14, 2016

Automated Phone Answering Systems

I hate automated phone systems. I know, some can be funny. But, in the business world they are just plain irritating. I had to call the Employment Development Department and my experience consisted of getting a long message, which was extremely frustrating.  After being directed by a recording to select a few numbers, I get another long winded message about how the system works (approx. 2 minutes). Then the system give me several options via pushing certain buttons. It proceeded to direct me to push "0" if you want to speak to an operator, which you never get. The recording goes on to tell you "all lines are busy" and that "there will be a 10 minute wait" and you will have to call back. I stayed on the line for several seconds and then all of a sudden, a recording continues to tell me "to call back at a later time, goodby" and hangs up on me!

I have run across others that ask you to input the person's number you are calling or select the individual's name from the available list.  If I don't know the person I need to speak with, I am forced to try "0" for operator.  That doesn't always work.  Sometimes trying "0" for operator disconnects me.

So, with all this frustration, I thought a lens was in order.  Now, do I think automated systems are going to go away?  No, I am a realist.  However, I must say I have, at times, briefly contenplated on how I could get even.  Maybe pickup a few of the snappy phone recorded messages that are reviewed here in this lens.  I had to "X" rate this lens due to a few offensive words in one or two of the videos (Homer's & Arnold's Pizza Videos).

My favorite video: Press One For English.

Outsmart the Smart Automated Phone System

How to Outsmart Automated Phone Systems

By Jolayne Houtz and Emily Heffter

Press 1 if you've ever been trapped in phone-system hell when calling the customer-service line of a large company.

Press 2 if you've ever cursed, yelled or hung up in despair before reaching a human being.

Press 3 for shortcuts to go straight to a real person.

To help you escape from automated phone purgatory, The Seattle Times has compiled a consumer's guide for thwarting the phone systems at about 60 local and national companies and government agencies.

We spent more than 2 ½ hours on hold while experimenting with various tricks to bypass the phone menus, voice prompts and automated routing systems to reach a human. A few made it easy to get an operator. Others required a virtual tap dance of carefully timed number-pushing, or they trapped callers in an endless loop of options.


We might be in, we might be out, but leave a message and you might find out!

We have Valdemar Poulsen to blame!

According to "Adventures in Cybersound: Valdemar Poulsen, the Danish telephone engineer and inventor, patented what he called a telegraphone in 1898. The telegraphone was the first practical apparatus for magnetic sound recording and reproduction. It was an ingenious apparatus for recording telephone conversations. Continue: Answering Machines

What To Say Back To A Machine

Consider one of these.

Hi! Fred's answering machine is broken. This is his refrigerator, speaking. Please speak very slowly, and I will stick your message to myself with one of these magnets.

"Hi, you have reached the Borg collective. Please leave your name and star system and we'll assimilate you as soon as we can."

You have reached the Strategic Air Command Nuclear Missile Storage Facility. We are unable to come to the phone right now. At the tone, please leave your name, number, and target or list of targets, and we'll launch as soon as we can. And have a nice day.

A is for academics, B is for beer. One of those reasons is why we're not here. So leave a message.

How do you keep an idiot in suspense? Leave a message and I'll get back to you...

Going Crazy

Mad TV

Crazy Debt Collector Recording

Stupid Phone Answering Machines

Just a few of some favorites:

Stupid answering machine messages

"Hi. This is John: If you are the phone company, I already sent

the money. If you are my parents, please send money. If you are my

financial aid institution, you didn't lend me enough money. If you

are my friends, you owe me money. If you are a female, don't worry, I

have plenty of money."

"Hi. Now you say something."

"Hi, I'm not home right now but my answering machine is, so you

can talk to it instead. Wait for the beep."

"Hello. I am David's answering machine. What are you?"

(From Japanese friend) "Her-ro! This is Sa-to. If you leave


I call you soon. If you leave *sexy* message, I call sooner!"

"Hi! John's answering machine is broken. This is his

refrigerator. Please speak very slowly, and I'll stick your message

to myself with one of these magnets."

One Ringy Dingy - Ms. Tomlin - Our Favorite Telephone Representative

And, I believe we all remember lily Tomlin. She was the best with the telephone.

Please Sign My Guestbook

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    • John Huf profile image

      John Huf 

      4 years ago

      Especially when small business do that... If I call a plumber I really don't want to talk to an Automated Phone Answering machine....

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great idea for a lens. Made me laugh, especially that replay of the Seinfeld episode with George.

    • blue22d profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago

      @mommycapri: That might be worth trying, especially on long waits! Thanks for the visit.

    • mommycapri profile image


      6 years ago

      I heard that if you curse at the automated services, it automatically sends you to a live person. Never actually used this trick, probably comes in handy!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 

      6 years ago from Vermont

      When I used an actual answering machine to take calls I had a funny message on my system. I use voice mail these days and sorry, but I screen all my calls and can't hear them if I decide to not answer. What I really dislike are getting to voice mail systems when I call my doctor or another business and get stuck in a loop. Then I shout HELP or OPERATOR to get to a real person.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      I love the one ringy dingy, my fave!

      Mel @ :)

    • John Dyhouse profile image

      John Dyhouse 

      7 years ago from UK

      I do so agree about hating automated answer machines, but next time I am caught up in one I shall think of this lens - thanks for a great way of keeping calm.

    • blue22d profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago

      Great idea Chris. Thanks for stopping by and your generous comments.

    • ChrisDay LM profile image

      ChrisDay LM 

      8 years ago

      You lack a module in this lens for: "If you like this lens, press 3; If you don't like this lens, press 4; If you want to bless it, press 5; If you want to criticise it, press 6". :-)

      Great lens - hits the button.

    • Ramkitten2000 profile image

      Deb Kingsbury 

      9 years ago from Flagstaff, Arizona

      Oh, I SO hate automated phone systems! Usually, I just start hitting 0, 0, 0, 0 in the hopes that a real person will come on. And a lot of times that works. Either that, or I refuse to press ANY numbers or do the audio reply thing and just sit there, silent. After asking me a few times to please press a number or say such-n-such, most automated systems ring through to at least an operator. Ha!

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      Made me chuckle - am seriously thinking of changing my answering message to one of these......


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