back to article Dept of If I'd Known 20 Years Ago: Call centres, roosting chickens, and Bitcoin

Give me a moment, I'm on another call. Hello? Hello? … Oh, it's just a recorded message assuring me that my call is important to them. Of course it is: it's a premium-rate helpline. If my future self had travelled back in time to tell me 20 years ago that being kept on hold indefinitely would continue to be the bane of …

  1. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. GlenP Silver badge

    Call Waiting...

    Anybody remember Gateway 2000 back in the 90s?

    I think they were the absolute worst for call wait times for support, upwards of four hours on occasions, with absolutely no other way of contacting them. Computing (IIRC) in a review strongly recommended them for people with low blood pressure as one call would be a far more effective cure than medication.

    Unfortunately for a while they were the supplier dictated by our US corporate so we had little choice in the matter.

    1. Hans Neeson-Bumpsadese

      Re: Call Waiting...

      I strongly believe that companies should be monitored for average wait time for calls to customer services, tech support, etc. If the wait times are consistently over a certain length of time, then they should be legally prohibited from taking on any new customers, as they're demonstrating that they can't adequately service their existing customer base.

      1. Blitheringeejit
        Flame

        Re: Call Waiting...

        Yesyesyes - and they should also be sanctioned for claiming that "we are experiencing an unusually high volume of calls", when what they really mean is "We have a completely inadequate number of staff to deal with the volume of calls we receive all the time". The fines for such bullshit being be a significant proportion of global turnover of *their parent company* - so Plusnet's fine would be calculated on BT's turnover, and [every British hosting company you've ever heard of]'s fine on GoDaddys.

      2. CuChulainn

        average wait time for calls to customer services, tech support

        I don't disagree with that at all.

        There is another side to it, though. I worked on tech support for a high street retailer for a couple of years, and part way through we were outsourced to Capita.

        Capita set about trying to establish reduced call waiting times. And the main target in achieving that was call duration.

        Anyone who has worked on technical phone support with members of the public and retail equipment will know that the simple act of powering on a PC can prove troublesome. Then factor in troubleshooting for anything that the tower contained, what the customer was trying to do, what the customer didn't understand, and so on. Basically, if you wanted to give good customer service in that particular environment, it was pretty much case a of the call taking as long as it takes. Pre-Capita, that was roughly how it worked (as long as you were efficient in what you did).

        But when Capita took over, we were told to achieve an average call duration of 40 seconds (if my memory serves)!

        There is no way you can give a good customer service if you're held to that. But it made the figures reported back to Dixons look good, since it was a KPI Capita had committed to, and it was intended to bring waiting times down.

        One guy on my team actually achieved it for an entire week. And he got rewarded for it.

        But I doubt that many of the people who'd called him with a blue screen issue, and who he'd left defragmenting within 40 seconds of answering were impressed. And that left anyone else who took that customer's next call with a lot more than 40 seconds-worth of work to do.

        I agree though that automatically hearing 'we are experiencing high call volumes' needs sorting. That aspect is wholly wrong. But how the various companies would actually address it opens up a whole new can of worms.

        1. Terry 6 Silver badge

          Re: average wait time for calls to customer services, tech support

          It's only a can of worms of the C suite suits fail to be interested in providing the product that they claim to be selling. Once the product becomes the share value rather than goods and services the company is meant to be providing it becomes a simple case of customer manipulation.

          So for example, VM supply me with a brilliantly fast broadband service and a hub adequate for my household. The fixed phone costs nothing and their (sim only) mobile phone contract is the best value for my needs.

          But it's not a good hub and their email service is a dismal Spam attractor. Their customer service is limited to "We'll book and engineer" even when the problem is a fault in their own systems - because they don't ever admit that they have a fault until they're forced to, even to their own staff. And their web site is clearly run by their marketing dept. because it's sole purpose appears to be to direct you into their spiders web where they can sell you more stuff. Actual useful information is hard to find - even information about what you could buy, because they'd rather sell you what they want to sell instead of what you want to buy.

          1. CuChulainn

            Re: average wait time for calls to customer services, tech support

            I'm also with VM and I can't fault them for normal service.

            The problem with their tech support is that it is outsourced - and it's exactly of the kind I alluded to when Capita took over the Dixons tech support.

            I rarely have any issues, so I don't call them very often. But when I do, I recognise what's going on immediately. The first thing they'll ask you to do is turn the hub off and back on again (and reboot your machine), and if the fault is intermittent then the current call will have to end there. Power cycling the hub (and rebooting) is the first thing I do if I have an issue, but they still ask you to do it.

            Then when the fault recurs, the next person you'll speak to will like as not try to get you to do the same thing. That's probably because the previous agent didn't record the details, or the one you just called hasn't read them if he did. That used to happen at Dixons/Capita all the time - they just wanted to do something and get you off the line.

            The secret to getting help from VM if you know you have a fault, and tech support is pissing you around, is to email the corporate office. They have to respond, and things start to happen then - often with a UK-based support agent. That was the last time I had an issue - there was some problem with the POP and SMTP ports, and tech support wouldn't admit to it (or didn't know), and kept fobbing me off.

            On a side note, I don't have any major issue at all with tech support which is in other countries (as long as I can understand them - and my biggest problem on that was with Sky when their support was in Scotland), but I wish they wouldn't bloody well say their name is Derek or Sandra or something! I'd much rather have a bit of side chat about what the weather is like in Mumbai.

            However, being outsourced often means they don't have their finger directly on the pulse, and the information they have is only what they've been fed.

            The bottom line, though, is that tech support is an overhead. Unless they're forced to do it the other way, cutting back is the preferred option. So being forced to cut waiting times would most likely come down to either a) taking on more staff (which they would try to avoid) or b) making calls shorter. That's what I meant by 'can of worms'.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: average wait time for calls to customer services, tech support

              I take your point, but it does still come down to the package the customer (thinks because that's what it looks like they're) buying being not the lesser service that the company- VM in this example- want to be selling.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: average wait time for calls to customer services, tech support

          "And he got rewarded for it."

          I had a colleague like that. Into the customer site - write a patch - leave immediately (especially if getting near to their socialising hour). Manager thought they were wonderful - even bought them off once when they threatened to leave for "a better offer".

          The same manager thought me inefficient at doing the same thing. In some cases that was literal - I was undoing the problems caused by the colleague's patches. Then I established the original root cause, patched it, tested it - and wrote up the symptoms and fix.

          He apparently never heard the seasoned customers refusing to accept a visit from my colleague - and asking for me instead.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: average wait time for calls to customer services, tech support

          " [...] hearing 'we are experiencing high call volumes' needs sorting."

          Had that message this evening on the Tesco helpline - plus usual layers of "press" choices. To my surprise the call was then picked up on the first ring and the issue was resolved immediately.

    2. RM Myers Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Call Waiting...

      To be fair, Gateway was located in a small town in South Dakota which only had a couple thousand people. They probably only had a few farm wives working part-time in the call center, juggling taking calls and milking Bessie.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: Call Waiting...

        To be honest and fair, Sioux City, Iowa (the "small town") had a population of over 83,000 people in the year 1985, when Gateway 2000 was founded. The two counties it is in had a combined population of over 120,000 people. If you throw in North Sioux City (S. Dakota) and South Sioux City (Nebraska), Sergeant Bluff (Iowa) and environs, there were in excess of 200,000 people within a 10 mile radius.

        1. RM Myers Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Call Waiting...

          Sorry Jake, but Gateway moved to South Dakota in 1989 and would have been in South Dakota at the time referenced in the original post ('90's).

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: Call Waiting...

            It's all part of the same metropolitan area, and doesn't alter my point that it wasn't just a small hick cow-town as you implied.

            By way of reference, the three states meet here. You can zoom out to see the physical relationships between the cities mentioned.

            1. RM Myers Silver badge

              Re: Call Waiting...

              I wasn't implying anything. I was trying to make a (lame) joke about Gateway and cows, based on the Hereford colors on their shipping boxes. And yes, I saw many of those boxes, both at work and home (I bought a 486 screamer, for some definition of screamer).

              1. Andy A
                Happy

                Re: Call Waiting...

                Hereford? I remember the Gateway packaging as being black & white. Herefords are a mid-brown with white faces.

                Perhaps in the US pumping them full of hormones changes the colour.

                1. RM Myers Silver badge
                  FAIL

                  Re: Call Waiting...

                  My bad. I should have said Holstein. I grew up in a small farming community, but I never worked or lived on a farm, and I obviously never learned my cattle breeds. I even had a 2nd cousin who owned a dairy farm with an extremely large dairy herd (called a factory farm - it was heavily mechanized).

                2. jake Silver badge

                  Re: Call Waiting...

                  "Hereford? I remember the Gateway packaging as being black & white. Herefords are a mid-brown with white faces."

                  There are Black Herefords, but you are essentially correct. The Gateway packaging was Holstein, or Friesian, depending on where you are in the world. Read the always-suspect Wiki for more on the history of the Holstein Friesian breed ...

                  Hormones have nothing to do with the genetics of colo(u)r in cattle.

                  1. MOH

                    Re: Call Waiting...

                    Does the colour depend on whether they drink Holstein Pils?

                    1. jake Silver badge

                      Re: Call Waiting...

                      Depends on which "they" you mean. I remember seeing a batch of students drinking Holstein Pils and looking rather green about the gills ...

              2. jake Silver badge
                Pint

                Re: Call Waiting...

                It came off as yet another variation of the "Gateway's Origins" mythology.

                It's still the weekend, have a beer.

    3. Mage Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Call Waiting...

      It's simple. Only sales and customer retention makes money.

      So they will only ever have the minimum number of call centre staff for complaints, in terms of keeping a Regulator happy.

      "Yes, Sir, Comreg," enthuse eir (really still eircom but moved from Dublin to the Channel Is since stricter offshoring and banking laws came in). "We are adding more call centre staff."

      >

      A novel idea? Improve the actual service quality.

      But that reduces profit more than adding a few call centre staff to satisfy the regulator.

      Good form this week, Dabbsy.

      1. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: Call Waiting...

        "Only sales and customer retention makes money."

        This only makes sense if you compartmentalise a company's work. i.e treat the whole as less than the sum of its parts.

        In effect selling the product is seen as making money - but making the product is seen as losing money.

        Marketing then becomes a way of making the public pay the same, or greater, for a product that not as good as it should be.

        It's what happens when beancounters become executives and shares become short term gaming chips for corporate traders..

    4. jake Silver badge

      Re: Call Waiting...

      Gateway 2000 was the epitome of excellent customer service ... at least in comparison to Microsoft. To this date, I have never, not once, ever, seen Microsoft truly resolve a customer support call, with the exception of resolving activation issues.

      In the '70s it was an industry standard joke trying to get help with Microsoft's version of BASIC. By the '80s, I actually had the companies I worked for pay the IBM premium for PC-DOS (as opposed to the identical MS-DOS), just to get support which had clues.

      After over 30 years, I finally threw up my hands and stopped all contact with Redmond, as of January 1st, 2010. I even removed it from all[0] my household computers, and no longer took any contracts that had anything to do with Microsoft software. It's been over a decade now, and I haven't missed it a bit. Recommended.

      [0] All except one ... I still have a Win2K machine that runs AutoCAD2K, and that is all. Hopefully I'll have all my CAD junk transferred to a more FOSS friendly solution before she dies ... Before you ask, yes, the old girl is airgapped. And no, in 21 years I haven't needed technical support for her from either company.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Call Waiting...

        "After over 30 years, I finally threw up my hands and stopped all contact with Redmond"

        I didn't know you could be put on hold for so long.

        1. TimMaher Silver badge
          Pint

          Re: Call Waiting...

          Cracking @doc!

          Nearly threw up.

          Get you a crate of beer for that one.—————>

    5. herman Silver badge
      Flame

      Re: Call Waiting...

      "Gateway 2000" - You have never phoned the CRA or IRS from overseas have you?

    6. David Roberts Silver badge

      Re: Call Waiting...Gateway 2000

      In defence of Gateway their UK operation was pretty good.

      I recall support via email, and having a support engineer come out and fix a hardware fault on my Tower system under warranty.

    7. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Call Waiting...

      "Unfortunately for a while they were the supplier dictated by our US corporate so we had little choice in the matter."

      pushing the support load back on the US corporate usually solves that kind of thing (or simply itemizing the time spent on hold as chargeable when doing the interminable "accounting forms" they require)

  3. KittenHuffer Silver badge

    So I'm not the only one .....

    ..... who now wishes that they hadn't thought that BitCoins were a waste of time fad. I could have purchased a couple of dozen right at the start and by now I'd be ..... trying to convince my local council to dig up the tip to find the old storage device they were on when I threw it out!

    But I guess they're just like every other 'penny stock' on the market. 99.99% of the money you'd spend on them would just be flushed down the toilet. It's only by looking back a decade or two that you'd know which one you should have bought.

    1. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

      Re: So I'm not the only one .....

      I always thought that the "bit" in the BitCoin was intended to infer that you had a 50/50 chance of making a profit or loss.

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: So I'm not the only one .....

        In that case it would have been called a BetCoin ;)

        1. jake Silver badge

          Re: So I'm not the only one .....

          Many of us did call it BetCoin back in the day.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Mushroom

      Re: So I'm not the only one .....

      It's a scam. Get out now.

      You think it will rise more and stay in. But the people behind the scam will know when to get out.

      Meanwhile it's destroying the Environment. In terms of environment and scalability the most evil software system ever.

      Ordinary people will lose out.

      1. Andy the ex-Brit

        Re: So I'm not the only one .....

        Have an upvote. They'll be along shortly to downvote you.

  4. ButlerInstitute

    "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" - T J Watson (attributed) was right!

    I think the ultimate historical statement that's been poo-pooed for many years, but turns out to be about right, is T J Watson's alleged comment that "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers".

    In the long run this has turned out to be right (approximately). They are:

    Google Cloud

    AWS

    Microsoft Azure

    and probably very few others (eg IBM, Alibaba, DigitalOcean)

    The number may be slightly out, within a couple of orders of magnitude maybe, but the principle is that there are very small number doing most of the world's computing)

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" - T J Watson (attributed) was right!

      Ah, but will they be owned by the five richest kings of Europe, though?

      https://frinkiac.com/meme/S07E23/633282.jpg?b64lines=IGNvbXB1dGVycyB3aWxsIGJlIHR3aWNlCiBhcyBwb3dlcmZ1bCAxMCwwMDAgdGltZXMKIGxhcmdlciBhbmQgc28gZXhwZW5zaXZlCiB0aGF0IG9ubHkgdGhlIGZpdmUKIHJpY2hlc3Qga2luZ3Mgb2YgRXVyb3BlCiB3aWxsIG93biB0aGVtLg==

    2. jake Silver badge

      Re: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" - T J Watson (attributed) was right!

      There is an interesting article on who may or may not have said something like this on the always suspect Wiki. See here. Worth a read.

      With that said, I categorically reject the concept. Computers come in all shapes and sizes and uses. There will always be a use for another computer, probably up to (and possibly beyond) the heat death of the Universe.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: "I think there is a world market for maybe five computers" - T J Watson (attributed) was right!

        "[...] probably up to (and possibly beyond) the heat death of the Universe."

        You mean the mice were only doing a pilot run with the Earth?

  5. David Pearce

    I wonder how many Bitcoins have been lost. Some of my colleagues played with mining in the early days, it is very likely that their coins have been lost on an old disk, stolen from Mt Gox or they have died without telling anyone about them.

    Bitcoin is a staggeringly difficult asset to pass safely to your inheritors after your death

    1. gerdesj Silver badge
      Gimp

      "I wonder how many Bitcoins have been lost."

      I actually deleted my wallet with two and a bit BT in it back in the day. I found a floppy that I used to use for backups in a drawer a few months back and it was unreadable. Took me a while to put together a system capable of running a FDD. lol etc.

      1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge

        I think the best thing to do would be to print out the necessary details and stick it in a safe deposit box.

        1. Dr Scrum Master

          You could add a picture of the queen to that printout, and practice your calligraphy too.

      2. Missing Semicolon Silver badge

        I've got good at reading old 3.5 inch floppies. You need some IPA for cleaning, a few cotton buds, and a stack of drives. And patience. And ddrescue.

        1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
          Pint

          IPA

          Took me a moment to realise you meant isopropyl alcohol...

  6. Aaiieeee
    Windows

    There was a bitcoin price spike in 2014 when it hit $1000. A friend and I who had been observing for a while then lamented at how it had peaked and we had missed the boat.

    I have come to realise that calling market highs is akin to fortune telling. You might be right, but then you might be wrong. Call it 50/50 and if you like gambling have a go. Even now. Just do it rationally and don't play with money you can't afford to lose.

    I seriously doubt anyone knowingly held bitcoin from the early days till recently to realise the gains that we all dream of. We would all have sold out at when it was at £10 a coin and been happy with the super duper profits.

    I made my choice and am OK with that.

    *mutter* bloody bitcoins

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      I spent about £150 on a couple of USB "miners", a hub and Raspberry Pi in around 2014 as a curiosity and set them to mining in a pool (the odds even then of actually mining a block yourself were tiny). I turned them off some time in 2016 when the cheapo 5V power supply I was using for the RaspPi popped a capacitor, at which point it was taking several months to get a single "share" of 0.001 BTC on the mining pool.

      I ended up with slightly under 0.01 BTC in total, at the time it was worth about half of what I had "invested", not counting electricity costs, but was interesting as a curiosity.

      It's currently worth a little over £3K. With the way the price is bounding about, tomorrow it could be £5K, or equally well £1K.

      As a serious investment, it is far too risky, and I haven't yet found a safe and convenient way to actually sell my "holdings". Maybe if the price continues to rise as it has done in the last year, regulators might start to take notice, banks might take it seriously, and I won't have to take a risk with some random "cryptocurrency exchange" that might disappear overnight in order to cash out.

      If the price continues to rise, it might get to a point where I can sell a small amount for whatever the lower limit is for Capital Gains Tax and treat it as an annuity. It might be at that level in 5 years time. It might also be at 0. It all depends on what people are prepared to pay for it, and whether it eventually collapses...

      1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

        I have made money from Bitcoin - but not the obvious way. I do have 1 bitcoin which I bought when they cost around £60 as an experiment. I have never done anything with it, but it is still safe in my wallet. In theory it is worth a lot more than that now, although there is no easy, safe and relatively inexpensive way to realise the cash.

        However, last year, I bought a US ETF stock which tracks bitcoin. I used money I could afford to lose, and have been betting on the variability. I took the approach that each time the price doubled, I would sell half the (remaining) stock. This gives me my original cash stake back each time. I have done that twice so far so I have doubled my money in less than a year, even if bitcoin never goes up again. When it crashes, I will probably do the same thing again.

        1. TimMaher Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Sensible approach

          Spot on @Graham.

          I have a 20% rule on stocks. Sell 1/6 of the holding for 20% plus trading cost. Don’t factor in divis, they count as a small risk hedge as they are usually not much over a few quid.

        2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

          I do have 1 bitcoin which I bought when they cost around £60 as an experiment.

          I wish I had done the same, that 1 BTC is now worth around £35k (at the time of writing), or put another way, 57,000% profit.

  7. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
    Mushroom

    "Please listen carefully...

    ...as our menu items have recently changed."

    Not in the umpteen years I've been calling you.

    I think we all know someone who mined some bitcoins, saved the key to a USB drive, and has forgotten where they put the drive, which now has $[RetirementAmount] of bitcoin on it...

  8. Mast1

    $12.46 in transaction fees

    I may have heard it somewhere else, but it seems like the only people who consistently strike it rich in a gold rush are.............

    the people who sell shovels.

    1. swm Silver badge

      Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

      "I may have heard it somewhere else, but it seems like the only people who consistently strike it rich in a gold rush are.............

      the people who sell shovels."

      And the grocery stores.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

        Emporiums with liquor and women too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

          This is where the foundation of Trump family money came from. Friedrich Trump (Donny's Granpa) made it rich with casinos and brothels in the Yukon during the gold rush. Even put one of his establishments on a boat and sailed it upriver when the town it was in ran out of gold.

          1. jake Silver badge

            Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

            Haven't you heard? Nobody cares about the Trump family anymore.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

              Except it's a brilliant example of making a fortune in the 1st generation, living off it in the second and living with a reputation and a sense of entitlement that's totally unearned in the third.

              Also how being in that third generation enables a degree of support that no ordinary situation could provide. Trump able to use the name to get himself fame, investment and even the presidency. All on the back of his grandfather's wealth.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

                The money from the first generation was modest. It was Fred (Don's Dad) who made the real fortune in property in New York, although obviously helped by his fathers legacy. Extreme success as a business man. Extreme failure as a parent and generally as a functional human. Mary Trumps book "Too Much, and Never Enough" is well worth a read.

                1. jake Silver badge

                  Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

                  And again, nobody cares. The Trumps are done. Put a fork in 'em.

      2. jake Silver badge

        Re: $12.46 in transaction fees

        And better trousers.

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Stop

    Games will be everywhere

    Even in iOS adverts when you are playing a free game!

  10. Dr_N Silver badge

    Centipede on a Nokia?

    Surely you mean Snake, Mr Dabbs?

    1. Jay 2

      Re: Centipede on a Nokia?

      I think he does. Centipede was that excellent Atari arcade game with a trackball.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Biggest wine I have worth phone queries is when the hold music occasionally cuts out for a "your call is important to us" message. If I'm on hold forever, I'm putting the phone on speaker with the volume down. With the volume down, I can't tell if someone finally answered or if it's another "all our representatives are currently helping other customers" (no kidding? I assumed they were all simultaneously taking a dump, thanks for telling me).

    At one point, I had to call Microsoft tech support for something. They had decent hold music, and the voiceover was clearly not someone answering (the music kept going, and the volume ducked just enough). I was impressed with the variety of messages they had recorded, until one music break where the voice said "let's check some hold times. SQL server hold times are currently 45 minutes. Exchange hold times are at 30 minutes...". Seems they had a DJ in a booth in Redmond spinning tunes and giving hold times like an afternoon easy listening station during rush hour.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      At least that's nicer than a lot of companies. They actually put resources into that. There are ones that are a lot more frustrating to me, such as the ones with exactly one piece of hold music, which is always heavy on the drums so it fades in and out. When they've cut about 45 seconds of that and looped it, you can go insane fast.

      Another honorable mention goes to an ISP I've used before. If you call the technical service line, they'll play music and read messages that suggest you check your cables, reboot the modem, etc. Fair enough. I've already done that and the messages do get annoying after you've heard the same ones five times each, but there are people who can benefit from that, including the support reps who hopefully don't have to waste time on people who could fix their problem by power-cycling their equipment. The only problem is that, if you call their system for a different purpose, like they've billed wrong or you are moving and need to cancel service, which you've indicated on the IVR system before you were put on hold, you'll hear ... messages that suggest you check your cables, reboot the modem, etc.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        "such as the ones with exactly one piece of hold music,"

        RSPB - birdsong

        Sally Army - Christian brass band music.

        Luckily I no longer have dealings with either org.

    2. Andy A
      Facepalm

      I seem to remember that Wordperfect once employed a "hold jockey". Didn't know other companies were involved. Maybe it was the same chap?

      I once rang HP to organise a warranty job on one of their printers. The hold music was varied, but then came a Bob Marley track.

      "We're jamming....."

      1. jake Silver badge

        Whart is really fun, and I run across it surprisingly often ...

        ... is when you get on-hold music that is one of the old Muzak orchestral recordings of The Beatles ... but it's clearly a digital recording off a stretched 8-track tape.

        I just hang up. My old ears can't handle that kind of abuse.

        A couple weeks ago I was in the Sonoma Whole Foods talking to one of the employees when the unforgettable strains of 1977's Elton Motello song Jet Boy, Jet Girl came over the background music. I looked at the guy and asked him if he had any idea what was being played. He shrugged & said he'd never heard it before ... Most of the 60-somethings in the store were quite amused, but one old biddy threatened mayhem if they played it again in her hearing. Poor thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Whart is really fun, and I run across it surprisingly often ...

          "Elton Motello song Jet Boy, Jet Girl"

          Not one the BBC would have played. Lyrics NSFW?

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            Re: Whart is really fun, and I run across it surprisingly often ...

            more or less the same tune as "ca plan pour moi"

            1. jake Silver badge

              Re: Whart is really fun, and I run across it surprisingly often ...

              You mean the Metallica tune?

  12. Lorribot Silver badge

    You weren't less grumpy when you were younger, you just hadn't learn't how to do it properly yet

  13. Christoph

    Do not buy Betamax

    (see title)

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