Robot Chicken

, , , | Working | February 28, 2019

(It seems that prerecorded callers are getting smarter every day, since they’ve started to build in responses like, “You know, you’re talking to a real person,” and “Hello? Are you there?” when I either don’t respond immediately or start talking over them, asking if they’re a robot. But none of them can pass the litmus test I’ve started using. I’m at my desk at work when my cell phone rings. It’s not an 800 number, and I’ve gotten a ton of similar calls from seemingly-normal numbers which turn out to be robocalls. I answer, expecting that this won’t take more than a few moments, since it’s probably just a robot.)

Me: “Hello?”

Caller: “Hi. Is this [Not My Name]?”

Me: “I’m sorry, you must have the wrong number.”

Caller: *without missing a beat or acknowledging that I’ve said it’s the wrong number* “Oh, well, I’m hoping to update this account information. This [Charity] is—“

Me: *interrupting* “Are you a robot? Can you hear me?” *repeated a couple times, attempting to interrupt and see if it’s a simple recording*

Caller: *after a few seconds* “Sorry, but I’m not a robot.”

Me: “Okay, then say the phrase, ‘chicken sandwich,’ if you’re not a robot.”

Caller: *tries to go into charity spiel again*

Me: “Say, ‘chicken sandwich,’ if you’re not a robot.”

(I interrupt with this request a couple more times, with no acknowledgement from the other end of the call.)

Caller: *eventually* “Have a nice day.” *hangs up*

(Since the person couldn’t follow a simple instruction to say a simple phrase, I could only assume it was a recording. I called back the number and got a recording and a message that said, “If you’re on the National Do-Not-Call List–” I am! “–and wondering why we’re calling you, it’s because charities are exempt.” I waited until it gave me the option to press a number to remove my name from their call list. Hopefully now the calls will stop, at least from whoever this was. It’s frustrating, especially because they seem adamant about keeping up this farce that they’re not using robocalls. Either that, or the person really was unable to say the phrase “chicken sandwich.”)

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