Conversation With My Insurance Company’s Automated Machine


Machine: Please say the name of the medication you’d like to refill. For instance, if you’d like to refill a prescription of Nexium, say Nexium.

Me: Singulair.

Machine: Did you say, Zoloft? If yes, say yes. If no, say no.

Me: No.

Machine: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that.

Me: No.

Machine: Was that, no?

Me: Yes.

Machine: I heard you say, yes. So you would like to refill your Zoloft prescription.

Me: No! Singulair.

Machine: Hold please. (Brief pause) I’m sorry. You do not have a prescription for Zoloft. Let’s start over. Please say the name of the medication you’d like to refill.

Me: Singulair.

Machine: Was that, Cymbalta?

Me: No!

Machine: Okay. Let’s try again. Please say the name of the prescription you’d like to refill.

Me: (Sneeze)

Machine: I’m sorry, that was not a valid response. Please answer only with the name of a prescription. For instance, if you’d like a prescription of Nexium, say Nexium.

Me: Person, person, PERSON, PERSON!!!!!

Machine: Did you say, Flexeril?

And then I suffered a stress induced asthma attack. If only I had my prescription of Singulair. Or Zoloft, for that matter.


95 thoughts on “Conversation With My Insurance Company’s Automated Machine

  1. This cracked me up. A while ago I had a similar “conversation” with the automated voice for FedEx. Even though it would eventually give me the option to speak to a real person, I could never seem to actually GET there…it would swing me back around in a circle and start asking me the same questions again. On the fourth or fifth try I started swearing like a sailor into the phone, every profanity I could think of, and all of a sudden the voice on the phone said, “Now connecting you to a customer sales representative”. I never laughed so hard in all my life, but it was an insane kind of laughter. lol

    • That totally happened to me with an AT&T help line as well. Once I completely lost my shit and screamed obscenities into it, it connected me to a human. πŸ™‚ The guy was incredibly helpful and got things straightened out in a jiffy, too.

      Lesson learned: To get results, swear.

    • Yes, FedEx is THE worst. I remember calling while I was on my way to drop a package off because I wasn’t sure if they’d still be open. All I wanted were the hours to the FedEx I was driving to. I pulled into the parking lot ten miles later, never having gotten my answer over the phone.

  2. I started laughing hysterically at the third or fourth sentence, much to the annoyed surprise of my roomie. Felt guilty when I read that you had asthma attack, paused for a second, and then started laughing again. πŸ™‚

  3. Unfortunately I have had this exact conversation with IRS, the Bank, the Insurance Comp., and others. I miss human beings. Maybe Wallie: can get a job there. When you finally do get a person they give you a name but I believe it is phony. You can not call back and get the same person and I am sure I have been hung up on a few times.

  4. I find it sometimes help to start swearing at the autoresponder: lots of companies program their systems to recognize blue language and will connect you directly to a live person when it pops up. Thanks for a funny post!

  5. I work in a hospital and we had to go through the same kind of thing to talk to switchboard. A couple of weeks ago, that led to this:

    Machine: Welcome to This Hospital. Please say the name of the person or department you wish to speak to.

    Me: Cardiology Outpatients.

    Machine: Do you mean “Mortuary”?

    Me: No! No! No!

  6. This is so funny because it is so true. I have a similar experience when I call the bank or I’m trying to check an issue with a utility company. You are spot on. Hope you got the right meds. πŸ˜‰

  7. Lol, thanks for the chuckles. Sometimes I don’t want to talk to people, but I like to press the buttons not have to speak. Real people probably listen to these conversation live and laugh their asses off!

  8. Omg, I have almost this exact same conversation on a regular basis with NJ’s voice-(almost)-operated automated traffic conditions system.

    (one prompt in) System: You asked for: Traffic conditions. Please say the name of the highway, route, or bridge you’d like traffic conditions for.
    Me: New Jersey Turnpike
    System: I’m sorry, I didn’t get that. Please say the name of the highway, route, or bridge you’d like traffic conditions for.
    Me: New. Jersey. Turnpike.
    System: I heard: Garden State Parkway. Is this correct?
    Me: No.
    System: OK, let’s start over. (restarts at menu BEFORE “Traffic conditions”)

    18 rounds of this, having tried speaking faster, slower, louder, softer, and outright screaming at the thing, and I find myself with a mad urge to run over whoever programmed it.

  9. Yes, I really wish people waited until technology actually worked before subjecting large numbers of people to it. But I guess they don’t. And probably never will.

  10. I feel your pain, literally!

    Here, borrow my inhaler, we’ll share. Don’t worry about germs. My vaccinations are up to date.

    We’ll be dead before either one of us is able to get that automated ding-a-ling to wake up and figure out our request!

  11. Pingback: Conversation With My Insurance Company’s Automated Machine | Mo is blogging...I think

  12. You should have sued that company… for reals. I get tired of those automated machines with voice recognition, try talking to it when your kids are fighting in the back ground, or when it picks up traffic or your air conditioner. It makes me want to kill things it makes me so angry. I wish I could hit the person who invented that in the face with a phone receiver.

  13. I was told years back to start swearing and someone will pick up. Maybe they had a device to pick up stress levels I thought???
    Anyway, I lost my shit and sure enough someone answered. I thought I had found the loophole. The back door to great service. I just need to loose my shit and then a real person will answer. Of course, ‘the squeaky wheel gets the grease’. Alas, it turns out that was a short lived phenomenon as it where, and really they are just recording everything and have audio of me acting a fool at some droid that psychologically breaks you whether the phone call is success or not.

    What a shambles!!

    Tales from a Brave New World…

    Best to you in love,

  14. I was an insurance customer service agent and we took live calls. No prompts, no machines. It was so funny sometimes, I would answer the phone “Good Morning, Thank you for calling ________ This is Michelle How can I help you.” …. and people would say “operator” or “person” or start punching keys. I would simply say “I can re-direct you a receptionist but I am an agent and would be happy to help you.” I can’t tell you how many times someone said “OMG you are a real person!”
    I hate automated customer service, it stresses me out to the point that I start acting like Godzilla in Tokyo. Now I give my son the phone, let him work through it until he gets a person and then take the call back. Automated customer service is NOT customer service.

  15. Me: Representative…

    Machine: You are reprehensible?

    Me: Representative…

    Machine: You want to work on a Reptile farm?


    Machine: You need to rectal wart department… Hold one moment please while I transfer you…

  16. I dubbed that voice Sybil in an early post on my blog. The voice that turns a normal person into a psychotic, violent, pathetic screaming ball of impatience.

    But it saves somebody a few nickles. Who needs a jobs program.

  17. Pingback: Conversation With My Insurance Company’s Automated Machine | Brad Zimmerman

  18. If you’re ever in that kind of a situation again, try singing! Yes, it actually works! I’ve tried this while on the phone with the vodafone customer hotline and the machine just kept firing more and more questions at me, so I started singing, it got confused and put me through to an actual person. πŸ™‚

  19. A very funny read but a frustrating experience that we have all been through. Wouldn’t you love to lock the person who came up with this idea in a room with only an automated line for company?

  20. This made me laugh out loud because I know very well the pain and frustration of dealing with automated services. Fantastic entry!

  21. lol… when I get that junk I just start pressing zero till someone picks up… the worst ones to call is anything to deal with the VA… they’re like… all the lines are full right now… and then just hang up on you…

  22. Pingback: Conversation With My Insurance Company’s Automated Machine | irishcatartwork

  23. There is nothing more frustrating than trying to communicate with an effing machine!!! Sometimes I suspect they do it on purpose. Luckily, hitting ‘0’ usually helps you get to a human…usually.

  24. LOL great post. Don’t you love how hard it is to actually talk to a human being these days. You click thru a zillion options to finally have a chance to speak to an operator who has no idea who she should connect you with. BTW I have some humorous posts on my blog At least I thought they were funny…

  25. hilarious! been there and had a very similar experience. the most mundane and often frustrating things in life are the most entertaining…on reflection of course!

  26. Pingback: For English, Press 1 | The Daily Colonic

  27. First and most important: Congratulations for getting on Freshly Pressed!

    Second, could you write about Siri? Better yet, could you just record it? Talking to Siri seems better than the automated menus on the phone. She can talk back and say strange things, which might be less frustrating than the automated voice for phone menus.

  28. I think we all have been to VRU hell. What ever happened to the concept of a pleasant conversation with a real human being? I guess it is just too expensive.

  29. sounds like conversations I have with my mother……..if only she would wear her hearing aids! Thanks for the laugh! I realize this is an older post, but was perusing other blogs similar to mine and came across this.

  30. This rings a bell. I was recently having a looooong exchange with a computer at the Drivers License Bereau, when it suddenly said, “You’re time is up, Please try again,”.and hung up on me.
    I didn’t know whether to laugh or be offended. Question: Should I feel foolish for having my feelings hurt by a computer?

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