Did I ever tell you…?

Technology has really moved super fast…

Being Deaf, I first used a TTY to make phone calls; circa 1990s. I’m not going to bore you with useless information on Deaf history, aside from telling you that I did have, for a brief time, a large print TTY, that was actually the last one I had.

I prefer, and still do, to send emails to communicate with businesses, doctors etc. Pharmacists…

I also use IP Relay to make calls. That is what I use for a decade or so. Once I found out about IP Relay, I signed up!

I’ll just bore you for a second: when making a call via TTY or IP Relay, first I call, or connect to, an operator who works for any Telecom company. Then, I provide the number to call and the operator dials. The operator convoys my message verbatim, and tells me what the person says. Something like this:

Craig: Hello, is this London Drugs pharmacy?
Operator: Yes, this is Penny at London Drugs, may I help you?
Craig: thank you…

In the past we ended our sentences with GA (Go Ahead) and ended the call with SKSK (Stop Keying). With IP Relay, that etiquette is now lost, for convo is like a text message, mine pops up on the right, operator on the left…

Okay, a few more seconds and I’ll get to the story; the relay operator, most are pretty efficient, facilitate communication, they communicate what I say, either after or during my typing. They cannot, should not, take up the conversation for me. No matter how busy the person I am call is.

That is exactly what happened, and the rationale behind this blog…

I was trying to track down a certain prescription my neuro-muscular doctor had ordered; oh what the heck, it was Botox. And I needed it in two days time.

First I called our old pharmacy, providing my name, DOB and asked if they had my Botox Rx.

“Hi, I am Craig MacLean, DOB is… I am wondering my Botox is there for pick up?”

The first pharmacy’s reply was negative. So, I called the new pharmacy and repeated almost the same question. Again, the reply was negative.

So, there was a pattern here: name, DOB and Botox query.

I called the pharmacy where my doctor sent previous Botox refills…

The operator started the convo with ”Does he need oral or injection Botox?”

I ignored the question and said instead: ”Hello, can I get a hello?” you know, polite manners right?

After a 25 second pause I get this reply “We have checked your file, and we have your botox ready for pick up.”

What?!

I cautiously replied: “What? I did not tell you my name or my date of birth nor what I needed! How did you know?”

Then it dawned on me like a fireball: the operator took away my power and took over the conversation, probably because the pharmacist was busy.

Naturally I vehemently blew up at the operator, who took it upon themself to provide my name, DOB and what I needed, without consulting with me if they could!

I was very angry, I was shaking! Trying to type when I was shaking and agitated lead to many backspaced words! I was livid!

The operator was apologizing ”…very sorry…” etc… Not once did they say the pharmacy being super busy, or that they were expediting the call.

Not that those excuses matter: it is my voice, my questions, my botox, my health that is being dealt with, not the operator’s. How I pace the conversation is totally up to me!

I could, and did when I finished my livid monologue, hang up on the operator, mid way through their seventh apology, mind you! Ha!

The IP Relay operators generally do not provide full information about the call on hand. Comparingly: I made a call with an intervenor, who informed me the recorded message prior to answering, and to leave a message. IP Relay never tells me any specifics. It is either “We are on hold” or “Do you want to leave a message?” The intervenor also told me that the she could discern a lot of people at the place I called, which means it was busy. IP Relay never tells me that. The intervenor also let me know what song was being played while placed on hold in the middle of the call, ironically it was “Smooth Operator” by Sade! Ha… IP Relay simply says “hold… still holding… holding… hold…” keeping the sounds of Simply Red or Diana Krall to themselves!

Keeping it Short, Stupid, is not going to expedite the call. Instead, it leaves a lot of gaps, and lets the operators take too much control! IMHO.

Thank you for reading, liking, sharing!

One thought on “Did I ever tell you…?

  1. Craig,
    Enjoyed reading your story but became enraged as the story unwound! Your experience is no different than an interpreter or an intervener answering on your behalf when someone asks you a question.
    I was out shopping for a new jacket at a clothing store recently when the sales clerk referred to me in the third person when asking my volunteer what color of jacket I would like. My volunteer was experienced and smart enough not to respond with anything other than, “Why don’t you ask him?” But before she did, I stepped in and provided the sales clerk with a firm lesson in the proper etiquette when assisting a person with a disability.
    As I often say, “Seven and a half billion people in this world and we’re going to have to educate them one person at a time!”
    Enjoy your day and thank you for sharing your story.

    Like

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