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The Call Center Curse

by | Oct 27, 2022 | Perspectives

Witches often got a bad rap. Deemed curse workers, child eaters, raving nudists.

Pft. Absurd!

While Ginny Whittle may have cast a curse or two in her lifetime, she had never eaten a child or danced around a fire with her fanny out for the world to see, thank you very much. However, even if she were keen on participating in the latter, it wasn’t as if anyone would be around to see it. With her cottage deep in the woods, Ginny had made a lifestyle out of avoiding mortals. 

She’d never really understood all the hype around them anyway…

They were just little hairless apes really. Sort of precious she supposed, but not worth living among. 

Unfortunately, although she took great measures to avoid them, they somehow always found her. She blamed the new fad of “hiking.” Curious little mortals finding her cottage and finding it so quaint, and “Oh, could we have a spot of tea?” or “Could we pet your cat?” Ha! She took great enjoyment in offering them buttered moss and a cat infested with fleas. 

The fleas weren’t real of course. Her cat would never allow insects to bury themselves in his fur. He was much too posh for that. But a little enchantment was all it took to have the mortals cringing and exiting quickly.

As the leaves changed, more and more mortals came to Ginny’s doorstep. And Ginny became more and more irritated. Finally, it got to the point where she knew she had to do something.

It was a big spell, hiding one’s entire home, and required many ingredients. Thankfully, Ginny had all but one on hand already. Essence of salmon. 

Nowadays, finding such a thing in its pure form was near impossible. Salmon itself was easy, but the essence was not. However, Ginny had needed the tricky ingredient for another spell a few years ago and knew just where to get it. 

It was a cold autumn day when Ginny picked up her dusty landline and made the call to John’s Pet Food Emporium. She dialed quickly, smiling at the thought of a mortal-free winter. She’d get that bag of “Wild Caught Salmon” cat food, cast the spell, and finally, be left alone

Ginny’s excitement wavered when, instead of a person, she was met with a robotic voice. She listened, her smile turning into a grimace as it told her a plethora of options she didn’t care about. It kept on asking her to press a number. 

“I’ll do no such thing!”

Finally, the robot seemed to understand she would not be pressing anything and a dial tone sounded in her ear. Once again, Ginny found herself smiling.

However, after a few short rings, that tone shifted into music. 

“Hello?” Ginny asked, curious if this music was the new way of greeting people on the phone. 

A voice spoke in her ear. “Please stay on the line. Your call is very important to us.”

“Oh, alright. How long will that be?”

Music was her only reply. 

Sighing, Ginny took the phone over to her rocking chair… and that is where she stayed for the next several hours. 

Now, Ginny thought herself a patient witch, but this was too much. Her annoyance had reached its peak. Before she really understood what she was doing, she was cursing John’s Pet Food Emporium.

On hold for far too long

Let this curse come along

In madness now all descend.

call center has met its end.

“Oh my word,” Ginny said after the curse had left her mouth. “What a pickle I’ve created.”

___

Inside the headquarters of John’s Pet Food Emporium, all heck was breaking loose. The customer service branch of their company was quite literally on fire. CEO Doug Matheson had been on the phone with his COO all day. 

“The agents have gone wild!” Belinda Carson was saying. “They’re breaking the phones, lighting their computers on fire, it’s a madhouse!”

“Belinda, it’s peak season. This cannot continue.”

“They’re refusing to work, but they won’t leave! They’re marching around the office demanding a better solution!”

“A better solution? It’s a call center. Answer the calls.”

“You need to figure this out, Mr. Matheson,” Belinda said. “Otherwise, we won’t have a call center.”

“Hang on,” Doug said, a memory of a video coming to the forefront of his mind. “I’ll call you back.”

“But–”

He hung up and made quick work of searching for the video. The name of the company had reminded him of food. Was it Chobani Flips? No…perhaps the chocolate-covered pretzels. What were those called again? Ah, Flipz. But no. Not that either. Finally, he simply typed automation, cx, and call center into the search bar and the video in question popped right up. “Aha!”

It was a video featuring Brooklinen, a brand he was quite fond of—fabulous bedding—stating their experience with implementing an automation solution the week before Black Friday. And if he was to believe this Jack Lorentzen it seemed as though it worked. 

“Worth a shot,” he murmured as he went to the company’s website and scheduled a call…

__

It had only been a day since Ginny had cast her curse and she was feeling quite poorly about it. Perhaps waiting for hours on end was just the way of things in the modern world. The call center hadn’t deserved the madness she’d cast upon them. 

And she really did need that bag of cat food. 

So, once again, Ginny picked up her phone and dialed. Only this time, she was prepared for the long wait. Especially now that the call center was most likely on fire. 

Except, there was no wait. 

A friendly voice answered immediately. “Hi, Ginny. Thanks for calling John’s Pet Food Emporium. How can I help you today?”

Ginny blinked. “Um…Yes, who am I speaking to?”

“I’m Flip, your personal voice assistant.”

“Oh. Uh, hello Flip. Are you…a mortal?”

“No, I’m an AI.”

“Oh,” she said, feeling more at ease already. “I had one of you before. Made an old bucket sentient and all that. But he wasn’t very accommodating. You, on the other hand, seem quite capable.”

“I like to think so. What can I do for you today, Ginny?”

“Oh, of course. I’d like to place an order.”

“Wonderful, I’ll transfer you to one of our call agents and they’ll take it from there.” 

“Oh,” Ginny sighed, prepared for the long wait yet again. “All right, then.”

However, Flip clearly knew some secret Ginny didn’t because the phone only rang once before an agent picked up. 

Ginny was slightly dazed through the whole ordering process, she couldn’t believe how efficient John’s Pet Food Emporium had become in just 24 hours.

“May I ask,” Ginny said once she’d placed her order, “what happened? Yesterday I was on hold for hours.” 

“Oh,” the agent said, “we implemented a new automation tool. I think it’s called Flip CX.”

“Ah, yes the robot was such a darling. It seems my curse had some benefits after all.”

The woman laughed a bit nervously on the other end. “Ahm, can I help you with anything else, Ms. Whittle?”

“No, that will be all. But please give my best to sweet Flip!” With a soft smile, Ginny hung up the phone. Even curses weren’t all that bad it seemed. Yet another reason she didn’t understand why witches always got such a bad rap.

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