Tring Tring. Tring Tring. Tring Tring. Tring.
"You have reached the automated voice messaging system of so-and-so. Please leave a message after the tone"
Can you talk to the voice messaging system the same way as you would talk to its owner? If you can, I envy you. If you cant, do you know if there is a name for this disability? :)
Just like anyone else, I talk to different people in different ways - the way of addressing, the tone, the language changes with each individual. Its like a protocol set between two people. The response of the person on the other side of the conversation is very important to that protocol. If its a voice messaging system, which is nothing but a dumb recorder - I cannot talk to it like I talk to its owner. I have tried it too hard, but it does not work! I try to sound as normal as possible, but I sound too weird!
My recorded-voice-o-phobia is not limited to voicemails. I also hate calling customer support centers - it makes me very uncomfortable. If you are one of those who make business with me - charge me 50 or 100 rupees more by mistake, I wont bother calling you up. If you get too greedy and increase it by more than that, I would get someone to call you on my behalf ;) No, I am not that bad actually, but you get my point!
"Thank you for calling us. Your call is very important to us. All our agents are currently busy. We appreciate your patience. Please hold the line while we transfer to the next available operator or go hang yourself (I mean hang up :D)" Cant anyone think of less boring and less stressful messages than this? Who discovered this lifeless tone, this pitch and frequency? I guess this was a practical joke started by someone when they were asked to design a polite and friendly voice message! I guess nobody has done a study on how this tone of talking can be seriously injurious to mental health. I would love to find out the statistics of mentally unstable persons and the frequency of customer support calls that they made in their lifetime - I bet it will have an interesting result. These automated messages are repeatedly played accompanied by some piano music or Kenny G instrumentals. Have you noticed that the same songs that otherwise sound very melodious and soothing get on your nerves when played during a customer support call? To me, the whole exercise seems too tiring - listening to the recorded message, some music, message again, music and after a few iterations, the message suddenly changes, I hear "Hello" a few times and it takes me a while to realize that I am no longer listening to the recorded message, but an agent with an equally lifeless voice.
The only place where I can tolerate a voice message is in Google Talk. Actually, I adore it. Every time I call someone using Google Talk, there is a part of me that silently wishes that the person would not pick the call and I can hear the recorded voice of the lady say "The person you are trying to reach is not available. Please leave a message after the meep. Meeep". Its sounds so silly actually, but it makes me smile even when I hear it for the thousandth time. There is a certain childish exuberance and non-mechanical friendliness about the lady's voice that makes it so adorable. Especially the way she says "meep" - its almost like making a mockery of "beep" messages. Dont you think its high time all voice messages go "meep"?