I set aside a noon hour to call. I should have gotten a sandwich before I dialed.
My first electronic encounter was with a menu of options, along with the helpful advice that many questions are answered on the Social Security Web page. I expected that. No way did I think I'd get a human right off.
Several menus later, I was starting to think it was about human time. I answered an electronic voice's questions and then waited for the next available representative. The hold music began, perhaps the most obnoxious music I've ever heard, and that includes some keg-party sing-alongs. Someone pounded a piano, with their fists, maybe, and the product was loud, piercing and without discernable melody or pattern. As a kid, I had an 78-rpm record about a boy who dreamed he had a magic piano that played anything, until he reached Carnegie Hall and the magic ended. He pounded away in frustration until he woke up. His pounding sounded like the Social Security recorded music.Only thing I could figure was they were trying to force me to hang up. Not a chance, not after 25 minutes. (While I cringed at the music, I tried their Web site and found the question section where I learned that for my question, I needed to call the number that had me on hold.)
The human I finally reached was courteous and pleasant. She asked numerous questions that I'd already answered for the recorded voice. She put me on hold - without music, which was a relief - a couple of times while she checked something or other. Finally, 52 minutes into the visit, she gave me a toll-free number for the Internal Revenue Service.
Jul 29, 2008
On Hold In Sioux Falls
From a piece in the Sioux Falls Argus-Leader by Terry Woster, who had called Social Security to report an error in the earnings record he had received in the mail: