back to article Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

Nobody likes having to deal with cold calls to the office. But when you're manning the IT help desk, you have no choice but to pick up the phone – even when it's a pushy sales pitch. So what to do about those annoying calls from over-enthusiastic sales staff itching to shift their technology wares? One spectacularly …

  1. Alan Sharkey

    I love it. I couldn't listen to the recording for more than about 30 seconds. Well done.

    1. tony2heads

      Anyone that can stand 10 seconds or more

      must be tone deaf or totally deaf. That noise is truly nasty.

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: Anyone that can stand 10 seconds or more

        I did manage to listen 2 full minutes of this ... but that was because I was laughing my ass off and couldn't reach the laptop.

    2. FozzyBear

      Only way to improve this

      Is have the phone system grab their caller ID and call back a couple of times as further punishment

      1. enormous c word

        Re: Only way to improve this

        Oh this is just so brilliant, I'm now really looking forward to my next nuisance call...

    3. tommy_qwerty

      The longer you listen, the funnier it gets...

      You're missing out by not listening to it to the end. No, nothing really changes, you'll just laugh more.

    4. WalterAlter

      Fucking Awesome

      Dudes, that was some of the best edgiest intense noiz jam audio collage I've ever heard. Someone has a career waiting in the wings.

      1. whileI'mhere

        Re: Fucking Awesome

        "Someone has a career waiting in the wings."

        Yes. Yes, they do.

        This is art. In Tate Modern it would have strokey-beard critic types .... well, stroking their beards.

  2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    <standing ovation>

    Oh, bravo! With pub o'clock in two hours, this has made my Friday. Thank you! </standing ovation>

    1. BillG

      Re: <standing ovation>

      That was bloody awful. It's my new ringtone.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    That is bloody brilliant! It has thoroughly cheered me up. It is almost as bad as the "Share and Enjoy" song sung by robots with their voice boxes exactly one flattened fifth out of tune. I'll certainly raise a glass to this

  4. Justin Clift


    If they offer this "as a Service", it'd be awesome.

    Everyone could feed their incoming sales calls directly to Hell that way. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HaaS!

      Most impressive. Everyone working together using a loose and evolving collection of engineering, – behavioral and organizational practices focused on going rapidly, safely, and sustainably from idea to customer / business value.” It's DevOps !

      At long last we have a case study of what a successful DevOps project can do ......send people to Hell.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I made it through 34 seconds. Do I win a prize?

    1. Shadow Systems

      34 seconds? BAH! =-D

      I've got it playing in an endless loop in the background on my computer right now!

      I've been listening to it for at least the last hour, & TheVoicesInMyHead assure me it's the best thing they've heard on the radio in ages!


      1. el_oscuro

        Re: 34 seconds? BAH! =-D

        I managed about a minute but I had to turn the volume down. This is beautiful! I wish most projects had that kind of dedicated teamwork and inspiration. I guess it makes a big difference when you have a solid set of requirements that everyone believes in.

        The only problem is it is too bad, and most sales people will hang up after listening to it for 30 seconds. You want to waste as much of their time as possible. :) May I suggest a some Justin Bieber songs interspersed with the usual "your call is very important to us" bullshit and perhaps an evil wait time counter that slowly decreases but never actual hits zero. You might be able to keep one of them on hold for as much as 15 minutes, and even better - they will have that Justin Bieber song stuck in their head all day.

        Edit: Another evil post suggested you include lots of bad cell connection type crappyness. That is great! I am wondering if after a random value of 10-30 minutes, drop the the call. Be sure to proved the real number that connects to the extension so if they call back you won't be bothered.

        1. PNGuinn

          Far too lenient.

          Love it, but it'll only make the scumbag hang up quick.

          I prefer the idea described on el Reg recently where the caller is conned into hanging on as long as possible. (I loved the bee on my arm bit!).

          Modify the idea a bit to make it seem more appropriate to commercial environment ...

          Pass the call to a hold facility, choose the music carefully to annoy but to also encourage...

          Intersperse with random "helpful" announcements .... mention that all calls are recorded for "training and other" purposes <get all copyrights for call>....

          Add some juicy long ads for the Company's products ... or other "products"

          Include regular but random "countdown" advisories. You are now 9th in the queue .... 3rd ... 2nd ..."we're very sorry but your call has been jumped by a higher priority call ... please wait, your call is very important to us" ... 5th ... 4th .... "we hope you are enjoying our hold music ... please hold"... You are now number n (slight change & different voice to raise false hope) ...

          If you would like to change the hold music please press the #key ....Please hold while we choose some new hold music ... 10 seconds of silence .... please hold ... <loud crackle> <louder crackle> barely audible 'orrible music rising slowly ... please hold, your call ... 'More

          'orrible music now excessively loud and slightly distorted ... you are now n+4 in the queue ...

          After several minutes " If your call is really urgent you may like to call our high priority extension number 666" ...

          Please hold .... ....

          We seem to be having an unusual number of incoming calls at the moment, please hold ... your call is very important we're having extra resources installed to cope with the unprecedented demand .... If your call is really urgent you might wish to leave your details on our voicemail system. To do do press * now.

          <new music> Please hold ..... you are no 6 in a queue .... <3 mins later> we're sorry, due to unprecedented demand this facility is not available at the moment , press 3 to continue ... <original hold music>

          Now add some long random telephone trees to navigate and some auto answering / questioning with voice recognition which never QUITE gets the right answer but offers to escalate the caller to another queue where they will be able to speak with a real person ... (at an overseas call centre) ...

          Stuff the best ones somewhere on the company website as a deterrent ....

          You might like me if you met me socially ........

          1. Yag

            Re: Far too lenient.

            Sounds like any customer service hotline to me.

          2. Eltonga
            Thumb Up

            Re: Far too lenient.

            That will not only get you rid of sales callers. It will make them hate you too.

          3. annodomini2

            Re: Far too lenient.

            Add "System failure, reinitialising queue, you are now x in the queue"

  6. David Webb

    Am I the only one?

    Am I the only one that actually enjoyed that song, I thought it was really good and much better than anything on X-Idol-Voice-Talent-Thing, and Justin Beiber.

    1. Nick Kew
      Thumb Up

      Re: Am I the only one?

      I've never heard X-Idol-Voice-Talent-Thing or Justin Beiber. At least, not knowingly: I wouldn't have a clue if I did.

      But that track was a lot more entertaining than a lot of the pop that's all-too-regularly inflicted on us by the likes of the BBC. Most recently 'Prince'. When a star is celebrated, why can none of the fawning sycophants ever play us any track that varies in the slightest from a formulaic pop 4/4 allegro tedioso with all the musicality of a pneumatic drill? This track is rather fun by comparison.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only one?

        Most recently 'Prince'. When a star is celebrated, why can none of the fawning sycophants ever play us any track that varies in the slightest from a formulaic pop 4/4 allegro tedioso with all the musicality of a pneumatic drill?

        The reason they play so much of "The artist formerly known as alive" is not for your enjoyment, it's to milk the death for all it's worth as it's one last run at everything where fans will even buy the crud the artist made before they found the rhythm that made their fanbase and income.

        We've been having discussions here if someone is quietly assassinating the old guard to both boost sales as well as get rid of those who know how to negotiate a contract..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only one?

        "...why can none of the fawning sycophants ever play us any track that varies in the slightest from a formulaic pop 4/4 allegro tedioso with all the musicality of a pneumatic drill?"

        Yeah, heaven forbid they might do a Led Zepplin style thing with 7/8 time or anything.

        This "hell" recording is nice, but to be super-cringe material it must compete against stuff like O Superman by Laurie Anderson.

    2. Jim in Phoenix

      Re: Am I the only one?

      Yes. You are the only one that enjoyed that. Now go back to that or the Spitting image chicken song.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now to use it to answer the home phone for the "my name is Brian" cold callers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Utterly brilliant.

    I laughed so hard I sneezed over my keyboard. I want to set up my own successful business solely so I can have this playing to sales people.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      I thought the article was funny, but playing the track had me in tears laughing. Well played guys.

      I don't get many sales calls because I am registered with the corporate telephone preference service, and then religiously take calls from market research companies and tell them that we have no IT budget, no outstanding requirements, and everything is outsourced on multi year agreements, which then goes on the experian (etc.) data which means I am not on the lists that most people buy. But that still means that I get salesdroids working at places too tight to use experian and too unprofessional to screen against blacklists calling me anyway.

      I'm now considering how I can program this up on my ancient telephone system. I'm thinking manually editing in a 20 minute long message to the file the voicemail greeting plays for an individual extension might be the way forwards. Hmm.

      It clearly needs an edit to sound worse though, the sound quality is tood good at the moment. It also needs to fade in and out of sounding like your using VOIP over an unmanaged and overtaxed line to be more convincing. I'm also thinking I could play an interesting shell game with an infinately self referencing automated attendant. That and it should start down from like 3 minutes at quarter speed with longer gaps in the music (which shifts perspective of how long your on hold) and when you get to 15 seconds it should start counting back up with an apology for priority calls going through first. That, and not repeating the same voice message with the same distortion would improve effectiveness dramatically.

      Resolving this problem is clearly a priority one issue. (after the bank holiday is over!)

      God I almost pity salesdroids for the next few months. If everybody reading this article is thinking something along the lines of "dammit, why didn't I think of that" and implements things like this then life is going to get near unbearable for them.

  9. WonkoTheSane Silver badge

    Saved for future use on cold callers!

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

    That is all!

    Great idea though!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

      They might actually enjoy that. And there's royalties to consider.

      1. Danny 14

        Re: They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

        Oh no, it will be the 'as inspired by Time' played by year 5 St Judes primary school.

    2. Mike Banahan

      Re: They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

      You can suck out the pleasure factor from Floyd fans by giving them a dose of Polka Floyd:

      It's worth persevering to the final guitar solo which really will surprise. Spot the use of pitch shift done perfectly.

  11. zanshin
    Thumb Up

    Sheer Awesome

    I laughed out loud just reading the story. Actually listening to that recording has me in tears, and not all of them are from laughing.

    I also got another great laugh out of "Haas". Upvote ahoy!

  12. Efros

    Absolutely Brilliant

    Should have the men in white coats on standby to collect the casualties.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Absolutely Brilliant

      Do you suppose the first casualty might be that weasel found in the Large Hadron Collider?

  13. Sgt_Oddball

    Had something similar set up with the otherworldly noise of dial up modem at 700x times reduced noise. Usually for auto dialers and lecky sales bods.

    Seriously. You can hear the dead souls

    (original sample here for the bored)

    1. VinceH

      For the a moment there, I thought I was listening to the intro to Gary Numan's My Breathing.

    2. Snafu1

      Oh that's very good! All that is needed now is the fax handshake (V12? V21? I can't remember..) for comparison (for film/TV sound editors, natch)

    3. Not That Andrew

      And listening to both this and the other track at the same time is quite extraordinary.

      1. Sgt_Oddball

        Haven't tried both yet, but the weekend is early so maybe later.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Welcome back, Lain, it's been a while.

  14. ma1010


    Hopefully the creators of this masterpiece won't mind when I put this on my voicemail for those who call and want to leave a message when blocking their caller ID. Priceless!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hell yes!

    I appear to have found my new ringtone. Needs a gradual wait_time decrement, though.

    Bye bye loop of a few seconds sniped out of the discordant riff within Hole's Sassy riff.

    Now, where did I leave my phone?

  16. Spanky_McPherson

    Possibly the best worst hold music in the world

    I nearly snorted my coffee all over my keyboard. Brilliant stuff.

  17. Dig

    Is it just me

    Or was anyone else transported back to days of watching max headroom.

  18. Mark Scorah

    She wants to be free from meeeeeeee

    Can't say I blame her.

  19. Teiwaz

    Magic Roundabout...

    For the cheery, I'd have gone with 'magic roundabout' on a perpetual loop, I'm fairly sure the application of which, for a long enough period, would knock a significant number of IQ and sanity points...

    If I wanted to creep people out, I'd choose one of Akira Yamaoka's compositions for Silent Hill.

  20. chivo243 Silver badge

    We've trained our ladies

    Q1. Are a contracted vendor? Let me check that.

    Q2. Are they expecting your call? I'll see if they're busy.

    However, should some one get past them, this wonderful idea does open new avenues of reciprocation... Let me count the ways...

  21. Hans 1

    THANKS, now I know what to do with the sales guyz that call my mobile! I can transfer them over to my landline (has no phone, I do not use it), put that on the voicemail .... great.

  22. Me19713

    Alternative solution

    We used to have a dial-a-prayer recording here in town. I used to forward the salescritters to that. I was sorry to see it go...

  23. Pirate Dave Silver badge


    I just gave our phone guys a new project for the summer.

  24. Chris G

    Lost time

    When I think of the decades and hundreds of times I could have used this, a work of art.

    Just for laughs they should find an Alfred E Newman lookalike and send him to something like Has Britain Got Talent auditions. ( Not sure if that's still going)

    Released with the right video it could be a contender for the next Eurovision Song Contest.

  25. David 132 Silver badge

    Deceptive article headline

    I clicked, expecting to read an interview with a sysadmin in this place describing his success (despite being born out of wedlock).

    I'd have written the headline as "Frustrated IT manager creates hellishly cruel and funny phone queue for sales weasels".

    Probably a good thing I didn't go into journalism.

    1. waldo kitty

      Re: Deceptive article headline

      There's more than one Hell on Earth ;)

      • Hell, California, U.S.
      • Hell, Michigan, U.S.
      • Hell, Grand Cayman, the Cayman Islands
      • Hell, Norway, a village in Stjørdal
      • Hell Cave, a cave in Slovenia
      • Hell Creek, near Jordan, Montana, site of the Hell Creek Formation
      • Hells Halfacre, Kentucky
      I was originally thinking of Hell, Michigan, because that one is definitely known to freeze over from time to time :)

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Almost perfect

    I wish the voiceover didn't have so many delays and stutters in it, just an occasional one here and there would be enough to be annoying without being so annoying that it was obvious it was deliberate.

    I hope they programmed their voicemail system to log how long it took before callers transferred to that extension held before giving up. They could stage a competition trying different amounts of annoyingness to find that perfect balance to maximize the amount of wasted time on sales callers. Remember, salespeople work on commission; they'd be willing to listen to that message for an hour if it meant a fat commission! If you want to hit them where it hurts, make them waste time they could be using to call others.

    1. VinceH

      Re: Almost perfect

      You could also make it less obviously deliberate by having parts in which the call seems to be picked up - but then goes straight back on hold. Snippets of office chatter.

      And for real fun... many years ago, back in the old Nokia feature phone days, when a recording on the phone could be played and the caller would hear it, one prank was to have a one sided conversation recorded, ring someone, and start the playback. Then crack up at the resulting conversation. Have a section or two like that, where the recorded side of the conversation eventually gets frustrated that they aren't talking to who they thought, and puts them back on hold.

      1. VinceH

        Re: Almost perfect

        Actually, I've just realised that I've only ever assumed it's no longer possible to put the phone on speaker and play something back.

        I might have to experiment when it's not 11 o'clock at night!

        If a recording can be played back while a phone call is active, this would be a good - or at least entertaining - solution to marketing calls on mobile phones.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Almost perfect

          Now there's an app I'd like to see, start the app, hit the "answer call" button and would begin their descent into hell, playing the hold message while you listen to their end and laugh. You could hit the "pretend to pick up" button every now and to give them the sound of it picking up, with office noises in the background, a couple beeps like the call is being transferred, and then back into hell.

          Have it keep stats on how long you can make people stick around with different hold messages / music, which all app users can share and have a worldwide leaderboard with the records listed.

          Now there's an app I'll pay 99 cents for. Heck, I'd have paid $49.99 for it a few months ago (or again a few months from now) when my landline was getting calls several times a year from campaign workers and pollsters. I'd have forwarded my number to my cell phone just so I could run that app and give them what they deserve! Would be money well spent for all the amusement value I'd derive from it, and the knowledge I was making political calls and polling that much less effective! Ignoring the calls doesn't waste nearly enough of their time.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Almost perfect

      Agreed -it's sufficiently bad that it's clearly a parody.

      A few stutters/glitches (miss out _ word somewhere) and bad music with clipping and severe band filtering.

      Then gently ramp the volume up and down, so the caller has to frequently adjust their volume controls...

      Occasional "You are number " in the queue, please hold, your call will be answered soon...

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  27. Anonymous Coward

    Will it be released as an EP ??

    What will the "B" side be.

    (VERY old windows user)

  28. redpawn

    Need home version

    I get regular unwanted calls at home. Thanks to caller ID I miss most of them. This is better.

    Market a small box for home use and you would make a fortune.

    1. el_oscuro

      Re: Need home version

      I'd be first in line.

  29. iLurker

    Sounds like Max Headroom.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The Trump song?

  31. Unicornpiss

    Make this your ringtone!

    That is just gorgeous. I love it and hope I won't be infringing on anyone's copyright if I rip it off to add to our phone system. Hey, there's an idea! I'll bet you could sell this to businesses and make a fortune. Everyone hates these calls. I actually had someone call to market Blackberry software to me today. The number was similar enough to our Helpdesk's VOIP line that I made the mistake of answering it.

    My other suggestion for music would be anything from Yoko Ono.

    1. TheProf

      Re: Make this your ringtone!

      "My other suggestion for music would be anything from Yoko Ono."

      I would have agreed with you until recently but then I heard some of her music on Stuart Maconie's Freak Zone (Sunday nights 8pm BBC 6 Music pop pickers!) and quite enjoyed it.

      Now if you'd said Coldplay...................................

  32. Dwarf

    Why did you do this to me ??

    I started here about 3 hours ago and ended up (via the random Brownian motion of the Internet) listening to the Hello This is Lenny bot on Youtube, which you just have to waste some time on.

    Picture a senile old man with a hearing problem (and ducks) talking to the unfortunate telesales people and Indian Microsoft support people. This is absolutely hilarious.

    Its not just a single audio file, but a fairly intelligent IVR system.

  33. Anonymous C0ward

    Nah, make it Gloomy Sunday

    and wait for them all to kill themselves.

  34. fearnothing

    Very nice, although I feel that it could be improved with a little more of a lead in.

    Something like the audio equivalent of that Stack Overflow post about parsing HTML with regex he com̡e̶s.

  35. JeffyPoooh

    Probably not subtle enough to maximize callers' wasted time

    But a great concept...

    Once upon a time, we purchased a little $3 button-like gadget that plugged into the phone line. Powered by the phone line. Press the button and it'd hold the line off-hook and then play a preprogrammed audio file down the line. The audio was first a 'Line Disconnected' tone, to convince robot dialers to hang up and strike the number from the list, followed by a voice announcement informing any humans that this line does not accept this type of call.

    This button technology could be combined with this new audio creation, for the home market.

    Since then we've got Caller ID.

    Oh, the SoundCloud file just ended. I left it playing in the other browser tab. Got to the end, LOL.

  36. fearnothing

    Speaking of which, I've experienced two genuine hold audio instances which were very nearly as bad.

    The first was the first few bars of The Beatles' "Help", on repeat. Now, this doesn't sound too bad, but I guarantee you that if you have to wait through it for 40 minutes because you have something critical that the company is providing, your brain will be liquefied in short order.

    The second was an American company that have those peppy messages extolling the virtues of their product and support offerings interspersed with the hold music. It used to be that they would play the music for about 10-15 seconds, then give you a 10-second advert/message. Recently, they've changed it so it's more like 20 seconds of message separated by one second of music. And this company provides our core product, which breaks often.

    My manager bought me pizza the last time I had to deal with that. He's gonna have to up the ante if it happens again.

  37. Chemical Bob

    Once upon a time in a different life at a small company...

    ...I suggested making a fictional employee called Scrimshaw Cantilever to "take" all the stupid shit. Except that he couldn't 'cause he was always out doing something (hopefully) bizarre - "Oh, you'll need to talk to Scrimshaw Cantilever but he's out for two weeks skiing in the Hamptons" or "Sorry he's getting a bikini wax now" or "He's doing something that's illegal in Utah *in Utah*, won't be back if he gets caught" etc.

  38. BurnT'offering

    I actually enjoy taking sales calls

    Typically they go something like this (and you have to imagine I'm speaking in a monotone with absolutely no affect):

    Me: Burn Toffering speaking

    Caller: Can I speak to Burn Toffering? [Don't ask me why they do this. They always, always do it]

    Me: [Long pause] Burn Toffering speaking

    Caller: Hi, my name is Damien Scrod and I'm phoning from Advanced Cyberdianetics. How are you today Burn?

    Me: [Longer pause] Good.

    Caller: Err ... OK then. The reason I'm phoning today s to ask you, is your DNS fully protected against marsupial attacks? It would be great if I could come in and touch base with you about how Fortune 500 companies are using our solution to protect against this emerging threat vector. When would be a good time for you?

    Me: [Long pause] No

    Caller: Err ... OK. Well, I have a white paper with some case studies

    Me, interrupting: Goodbye

    I always feel quite chirpy after one of these calls. I'd love to know how Mr Scrod feels

  39. Alan W. Rateliff, II

    I just can't even...

    This is damn amazing. The power of techies in a group when they feel threatened. Or inspired. This must be what 30 seconds in Hell is like. 30 seconds.

  40. pdf

    That's very painful, but less entertaining than sending them to Lenny (I can neither confirm nor deny that we have sent telemarketers to our Lenny)

  41. Mad Chaz

    You, sir, have my eternal admiration.

  42. dhaupin

    What song is that? It's so utterly terrible haha.

    I think if I did this, instead of a song, I would put in howling wind, people screaming, etc, more hellish. Your wait time is: ETERNITY.

  43. Thaumaturge


    Love it! Wish I could capture it,but haven't figured out how to do such with Android as yet.

  44. Brian Miller


    I live next to railroad tracks. The sound of a freight train going round the bend on those tracks is appallingly wonderful. A mash-up of that, cats fighting, that slowed-down modem connection noise, Tibetan gongs, and whatever else thrown in should do nicely.

    1. Nick Kew

      Four Yorkshire Railwaymen

      Just down the tracks from here is a maintenance depot. So at night (when there are long gaps between passing trains) we get the trains shunting out really slowly from the depot and stopping right here to go through quite a range of maintenance regimes. The noises have to be heard to be believed.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: Four Yorkshire Railwaymen

        go through quite a range of maintenance regimes. The noises have to be heard to be believed.

        What, worse than an HP inkjet printer?

    2. collinsl Bronze badge

      Re: Snore...

      Have you heard of the Numbers station gongs?

      It's some old spy numbers station the Stazi used to use, but the "wait" music was a stretched 8-track (presumably) of some gong recordings

      here's an example:

  45. Stephen 11
    Thumb Up

    To turn this up to 11...

    Have it playing twice, staggered by, say, 30 seconds. That makes it many times more grating to listen to!

  46. Anonymous Coward

    The Original song

    Having just listened to the original, er, "song", much kudos to the member of your team who actually admitted to "having just the thing". I can only assume that he is medically certifiable...

    And then, you achieved what I would have thought impossible. You made it worse! Absolute genius. It brought tears of laughter to my eyes. The fact that it also made my ears bleed was a side effect well worth putting up with for the laugh.

    May your obviously, fertile and evil imaginations long continue.

    Cheers... Ish

    The original thing.

    1. Nick Kew

      Re: The Original song

      Wow! It really is! So not the BoFH's own invention. Are they paying royalties, since it's not original?

      Definitely sounds much better than the stuff they play in DIY stores, and distressingly often in supermarkets. Or indeed anything on the BBC's monument to mindlessness, Radio 2.

      1. collinsl Bronze badge

        Re: The Original song

        Dear Sir, I wish to complain about your comments regarding radio 2. I am an avid listener of radio 2 and have only had three frontal lobotomies. Yours, Brigadier Sir Arthur Jones-Forescue-Smythe (Mrs)

  47. macjules

    More than one song?

    "It could be playing a detuned or desynchronized version of a Smash Mouth song."

    Please God, don't tell me there is more than one Smash Mouth song?

  48. timhowarduk

    I love it, and feel motivated to spend Monday, sorry Tuesday creating something similar. Thank you.

    My favourite sales call to date was:

    Caller: Can I speak to the CIO please

    Me: Sorry, the CIO is deceased

    Caller: Wow, sorry to hear that. What is your position?

    Me: The CIO

    Caller: Gosh, sorry to bother you at this traumatic time. I'll call back. <click>

  49. David Roberts

    Repeated countdown?

    Just considering "You are number 5 in the queue, 4, 3, 2, 1, We are sorry that you have been on hold so long. Under our public service obligation we are transferring you to the priority queue. You are number 6 in the queue, 5, 4, 3......"

    Lather, rinse and repeat as required.

  50. Chas

    These guys should get the Nobel Peace Prize for their outstanding work.

    I once had to engineer a band this bad at an open air festival in Docklands back in the 90s. I ended up pulling the master faders all the way down thus leaving only the spill from the monitors wafting out—nobody noticed :)

    I was *this* close to going out the back and dropping the stage mains. Stairway To Heaven with the guitar solo played a tritone (!) away from the root key is truly something to marvel at.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After listening through this again (and I still laughed hard), it reminded me of some of the John Peel sessions from the late 70's. These were the ones when punk was trying to work out where to go so there were some very odd music (I use the word music to define something with sounds in it).

    Since the late, great Peel would never, ever crash the end of the song out of respect for the artists', he'd play this through the whole way and put some ever so slightly sarcastic, slightly nasal, comment at the end.

    Ah, those were the days

  52. Frank N. Stein

    Brilliant. Wish I could do this any time I get a call from anyone originating from India. The thick accent and broken English is just too much to bare. :-)

  53. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At my company, the Emergency Security extension number is...

    At my company, the Emergency/Security extension number is 6666.

  54. The Dim View

    And I Thought

    that my company's Music On Hold was the worst ever. They use a 70's synthesizers gone wild (and distorted) tape that makes one long for honest 10,000,000 & 1 Strings elevator music.

    Well done, that man.

  55. Laura Kerr
    Thumb Up

    So close

    For the ultimate in shits and giggles, that should have been on a premium-rate number.

  56. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Touch of the David Brent about the description.

    "I'm a friend first and a boss second. Probably an entertainer third."

  57. x 7

    reminds me of.....

    this classic British "electronic" LP from 1969

    White Noise: "An Electric Storm in Hell"

    Created by a chap called David Vorhaus, with help from Delia Derbyshire (of Dr Who fame)

  58. TRT Silver badge

    I wonder if my experience listening to this recording...

    is anything like the experience of my colleagues with whom I share an office when I unveiled my latest guilty listening pleasure; techno-oompah.

  59. da

    Yes. This is good. Certainly.

    But I tell you... I could make a better audio than this. I could make it as nail-curling as natwest

    ... crossed with squarepusher

    Complete with a labyrinth of numbered options yes.

    Press 1 for more options, 2 to go back to where you were before, 3 for sales, 4 for... sales, 5 for... sales, 6 for legal.

    There are no options, it just beeps at you like the button has been pressed for you.

    Also, occasionally, like radio interference, there's a person saying "hello... hello... yes... that sounds great... you're cutting out... is anybody there?... is ANYBODY THERE?... hang on, let me transfer you to the other line"

  60. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only flaw here

    Genius idea but it's worth noting that it won't be quite the deterrent you might expect.

    Cold callers know that their job is worse than useless to the world at large and typically hate it. Except for the few who manage to turn luck or banter into money the rest are looking for any way possible to appear to be productive without being told to eff off 40 times an hour.

    An indefinitely long phone call which you can legitimately put down to waiting on hold is perfect for padding the numbers, dreadful music or not.

    Expect regular repeat visits from some poor souls who are on 'x hours per week of call time' type metrics.

  61. Richard Pennington 1

    Florence Foster Jenkins

    There's a new film out (this month) about this diva ... probably the worst singer ever to grace Carnegie Hall.

    There are nine surviving recordings of her in action. Any one of them would finish off most callers.

  62. Kamilion Schnook of Second Life

    Passenger Of Shit would have been better...

    Ah, this reminds me so much of

    How can so many horrible sources sound so good...

  63. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    kind of related

    A large dutch semiconductors companies IT help line phone number is 6666.

    It gave me a good chuckle.

  64. martin_b

    You Sir are a Genius!

  65. Jucking Fidiot

    Perhaps too good?

    OH DEAR GOD! I wept from the the sheer beauty of it! I could actually taste the colors, and smell the notes!

    My only worry would be sales types who actually liked that fecal rendition, and tied up our lines by calling back. A tune only a sales person _could_ love.

  66. dougkiwi

    I enjoyed it.

    I listened to the whole thing while getting through my morning emails. I spent the first half of it giggling. While listening to the second half, where the deep nuanced message of the artist(s) is revealed, I came to understand the nature of most of the emails that I receive.

  67. dougkiwi

    There is a much worse way to torture somebody on hold ...

    1) Play a song that is very good, something you can really get into, and ...

    2) Interrupt it every 10 seconds to remind the caller how important their call is.

  68. Stuart21551

    "playing the most obnoxious music over and over again"

    Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a certain VLFI (Very Large Financial Institution) in HK holds the patents on that.

    Getting on 20 years now.

  69. HKmk23


    I don't suppose you could do a voice over in French? They are just getting their heads around cold calls here and ring at all hours.....

  70. Hoe


    This is a must have for any phone system, getting setup first thing Tuesday!

    Just a shame I cant use it in the blocking software on my mobile too!

  71. Hoe


    Please some great hits, the kind people want to sing along too, but message over all of the good bits, so get people right into it then just as it gets going, then drill them with the pain and suffering of meaning less looped recorded messages! :)

  72. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The only thing keeping me from recommending this at work is ...

    The risk that an actual customer might get ground up in these gears. A remote chance, I know, but it'd be a terrible thing.

  73. Marty McFly Silver badge

    The tenacity of sales reps who LIE in order to get through to someone is deserving of this tactic. Those sales reps give the software sales industry a bad rap.

    However, to arbitrarily treat all sales reps this way is a real dick move. It is the real world and sometimes the SHTF. When it does and you need help this instant to keep your business running, you will be happy that you took a few of those sales calls. That way you have the relationships in place to expeditiously solve your problem.

  74. leocomerford

    "You are ... Number 9. ... in the queue. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9 ..."

  75. Ken-in-Houston

    Sprained my eardrum!

    I think I sprained my eardrum trying to listen to that!

  76. Dr Patrick J R Harkin

    Could be eviller....

    The wait time is always 3 seconds. It should start at 5 minutes, then get less with each repeat until with 30 seconds to go - it resets back to 5 minutes

  77. Bernard M. Orwell

    It's been "blocked by my organisation" I've asked my network chaps to unblock it under the category "essential business tools".

  78. Paul Woodhouse

    verra verra niiice...

  79. Snipp

    You darn IT guys

    Qualifies as epic in my world. This one goes out to all you mid-tear IT drones who are inundated with sales calls you're not even allowed to approve.

  80. laird cummings

    Max Headroom with a head cold...

    Wow. What an utterly horrible fate. Couldn't happen to a more deserving set of folks.

  81. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ramp it up with flashy Lights!

    Totally need to add an ALGO sip strobe or similar to this thing and mount it on the ceiling, let the queue ring/flash the strobe and every one in the office can be entertained while watching them be "burned in hell" with a good estimate of how long they stayed there.

  82. Pirate Dave Silver badge

    Working great so far

    I did get our phone guys to create extension 6666 and set this as the announcement. I've used it probably a dozen times since the summer, and never once have any of the sales callers dared to call back. Although...maybe they're still on hold. I should go check.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Whenever this happened in the office

    (Some years ago) we'd gather round the C*O at the time who'd come up with creative ways to keep the salesperson busy. Sometime's we'd pass the call around through 5-10 people, great fun, anon for reasons. (Disclaimer: only for shifty unsolicited sales calls)

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