Grouchy old man interlude

Yesterday I had to call the power company to transfer service on a small rental property in our back yard. I was put on hold. No problem.

But the message, repeated every minute for nine minutes, included the standard American language for this situation: “Your call will be answered in the order it was received.” Everybody knows what this means, of course, but it’s ugly and ungrammatical English. I hear and use ugly and ungrammatical English every day, so what’s the big deal? Well, this is institutionalized ugly and ungrammatical English. Someone in charge of the interface between a big company and its customers was so ignorant that this sounded fine to him, or—worse—decided that the correct form sounded too prissy, and was too lazy to come up with another formulation altogether.

This language transgression alone is always enough to get my grumpies going, but the power company also favors those waiting to have our call answered in the order it was received with a musical interlude. I am known in the family for a killer rendition of the national anthem in which I quack it like a duck, so a musical aesthete I’m not. But the sounds coming over the phone were so execrable, so soulless, so putrid, so insulting to real music and musicians and disdainful of listeners, that it can only have been chosen by the same melon-head who’s in charge of corporate electronic medium messaging strategies. By the time a nice lady named Lorraine came on the line to answer my call in the order it was received, I was quacking so loud I almost didn’t hear her.


Grouchy old man interlude — 1 Comment

  1. Oooh deary deary me.

    I think you need to go for a walk!

    Have I set myself up here? My own grammar is appalling… Ooh deary deary me..


    Lorraine wasn’t a big breasted blonde who worked at the United States Postal Service, was she?

    She was something else!

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