2 Ideas Bound To Make Millions

 

 

The phone is driving me crazy.

The phone rang at 1 am and again at 3. I about jumped out of my pajamas.

A couple nights ago as I was deep within the land of dreams, my blissful state of sleep was suddenly shattered by the blasted ringer on our telephone.  Struggling to come awake, my first thought was whether I should be worried about the kids?  Yet, as is often the case these days, when I lifted the handset to my ear, all I heard was the unmistakable ringtones of a fax machine trying to connect to my brain.  Yes, I realize this is impossible, but the machine on the other end must think otherwise for why else would it keep calling my phone number?

 

 A Little Background

 

A little over a year ago, we had to change our phone number.  Now, for those of you who only own a cell phone, I ask you to think way, way back to your early childhood and remember how it was when you had a landline—if you moved then your phone number could only be transferred within a certain area code, right?  Thus, we had to change our old number to a new one, since we moved out of our old area.  And as is the case with these things, I had no way to know who might have used the number previously.

 

I have since concluded the number belonged to a business, for all year long at virtually any time of the day or night, I may get a call, lift up the phone and only hear fax tones.  This sounds something like beep…beep…beep…beep. Worse, as I often slam down the handset in frustration, I will inevitably get a call back a few minutes later and sometimes a third one after that.

 

Okay, all you marketing whizzes out there, are you really this clueless?  I mean, what’s the big mystery here?  Can I spell it out for you?  First fax attempt fails.  Second attempt fails.  Third attempt fails.  Months of additional attempts fail.  Hello?  This must be costing you something.  Anybody with an actual brain on the other end of the line here?

 

I know what you’re thinking.  Why couldn’t I check my caller I.D. and find out who called me?  Ah, yes, if only the solution were so easy.  No, it seems that the company or companies trying to contact my imaginary fax machine have their caller name and numbers blocked.  Okay, you then ask, why can’t I just hook up a fax and see what’s being sent.  Maybe there’s a return number on the information.  I see one major problem with this idea—if I owned a fax and hooked it up chances are things would only get worse since an actual fax-to-fax connection would be made.  Believe me; I don’t want to encourage them!

 

As you might imagine, I’ve been feeling a bit powerless over this situation.  Then this morning, I had this bright idea the phone company may offer some kind of solution.  I wasn’t convinced of it, but I wondered if they could tell me who might have called or at least block the number so I won’t receive additional calls from the same number.

 

If you’ve had the pleasure of calling the phone company of late (or most any large corporation for that matter), you inevitably get to talk to an automated answering system.  This is something I prefer to call, “THE MACHINE”.  THE MACHINE is basically a type of artificial intelligence with a user-interface that usually takes on the voice and mannerisms of a pleasant sounding woman.  This means “her” voice sounds very interested in whatever I have to say and keeps prompting me to talk.  For example, she might say, “If you’d like to talk to someone in billing, please say “billing”.”

 

Now, believe me, I’ve tried playing along.  I’m a pretty nice guy, after all.  Unfortunately, after I say “billing” or “yes” or whatever other option is pertinent, why does THE MACHINE invariably say, “I’m sorry.  I didn’t understand your answer.  Could you repeat that?”

 

I hate automated answering machines.

When I talk to a computer it's only a matter of time before I'm ready to explode.

I don’t know about you, but I grew up in the Northwest speaking English for my entire life.  That means my accent is pretty much like any newscaster you’d hear on TV—meaning easy to understand.  On top of all that, I was on the debate team in high school and took several hours of public speaking related courses in college.  I know that was a lot of years ago, but I really don’t think my language skills have deteriorated all that much.   Why then does THE MACHINE lack an ability to comprehend an answer as simple as “yes” or “no” or “billing” or anything for that matter?  I’ll tell you why: It’s stupid!

 

You see where this is going, right?  I tried calling the phone company this morning and couldn’t get through to actual person because THE MACHINE wouldn’t let me.  Thus, I have yet to find out if those stupid fax calls can ever be blocked.  Somebody help me!

 

Are You Up To The Challenge?

 

Here’s what I’m thinking:  I need a bright inventor looking to make his next cool million.  You see, I’ve got a couple ideas for new products to solve my problems, ideas bound to be an instant success with those just like me.  Now, I’d build these inventions myself, but I really don’t have the engineering background and besides, most of my time these days is spent getting THE “ratslefratzing” MACHINE to talk to me!

 

Invention Number One:  We’ll call it the “Anti-Fax”.  This machine will be attached to your phone line and will detect all unwanted incoming fax calls.  It will automatically connect to the fax on the other end of the line (a machine we’ll call Fax) and make it appear like the connection is achieved.

 

Here’s the kicker: Once the connection takes place, our machine will do everything in its power to thwart Fax.  This could look like receiving Fax’s message at a really slow transmission rate.  Then just as Fax thinks its work is finished, Anti-Fax will send an error message back to Fax telling it the message didn’t complete properly.  Naturally, Fax will try again and the process can be repeated endlessly.  In addition, if Fax gives up, Anti-Fax will start calling Fax.  Once a connection is complete, Anti-Fax will start sending Fax the complete and unabridged volume of Wikipedia in triplicate.  This will insure Fax is inundated and prevent it from making more outbound calls.  Gotta love it, right?

 

Invention Number Two:  We’ll call this the “Anti-Machine” or “AM” for short.  AM’s mission—should he decide to accept it—shall be to wreck havoc on any and all automated answering systems and put them to permanently to sleep.

 

Here’s how it works.  Obviously, there is a lot of time during the day when your home phone line is not being utilized (think of all that time while you’re at work or are asleep).  AM will utilize this time to make toll free calls from your number.  The numbers it calls (or in this case THE MACHINES it calls) can either be selected by you or will come from a national database of the most annoying automated answering systems known to mankind.  AM’s duty?  Tie up all automated systems and make them non-functional.

 

You may still be confused and wonder why we are going to all this trouble.  It’s simple, really—In spite of how completely annoying and obnoxious THE MACHINE is, companies must be able to rely on these systems to handle their business needs.  Without them, they would not be able to field calls and suffer reduced sales and profits.  Thus, with AM in place, they will suddenly have to come up with a solution to offset those losses and the only thing that’s going to work is to hire real people to man their phone lines.  How will we know it’s a real person?  AM will verify it by asking questions.  For example, it might say, if you’re a real human say, “Gesundheit”.  And once it verifies the company is only using human operators it will come off of AM’s national data base of bad guys.  Yes, it’s brilliant, thank you, and it’s all yours!  Now, please get with it and make one, would you?  I’ll be the first in line to buy.

 

How about you?  Got an issue with a phone or a particular company’s automated answering system?  Got a solution?  Why not share your comments below?

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to see:
JB And The Cable Company – A Comic

 

 

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