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Telephone Muzak - What's the best you've heard?

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So...... I'm on the phone waiting for Fedex Accounts department to decide if they'll stop polishing their nails and answer me, listening to......



............a muzak version of Jethro Tull's: "Living in the Past."


Anyway, after the shock subsides, I'm thinking it's....er..... actually quite good. Made me want to stand on one leg while I waited. Not so sure about the tights and codpiece though.


What I want to know is- what's the best or most unlikely tune you've heard lately on the phone, and/or what song would you most like to massacre as muzak?

J. Eliot Howe (Chief Gear-Pimp)


Guitaravenue L.L.C.

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I heard Alanis Morrisette's "Head Over Feet" played as muzak in a mall in Virginia once. The vocal line was played by a flugelhorn. Nice. :freak:

Current live rig: Roland RD700SX, Hammond XK-3 with Leslie System 21, and Muse Receptor. Also a Nord Stage 76 other times instead. And a Roland FP-7 for jazz gigs.

HOME: Kawai MP8 + a bunch of VI's.

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[CAUTION: mind-numbingly long post with very small payoff punchline. :bor: ]


OK. For 2-1/2 years I had entirely satisfactory service from my Sprint cellphone. But, then I had to talk to them.


I was moving and ditching my landline, upping my minutes. They couldn't change my account in the middle of a pay period (apprently they haven't figured out the accounting concept of pro-rating, yet) and only when I suggested that it would be far cheaper for me to drop my Sprint account and get one from someone else (since I could do that in the middle of a pay period) that they said they'd give me 250 "courtesy minutes." I also elected to "port" my old landline number to the cell.


At that point I'd probably been on hold with them and heard their 5 minute 'smooth-jazz' hold music about a half hour (a typical bland sax-and-synth tune). So, about 6 plays, nearly back-to-back.


I went on about my business, selling my house and arranging my move. But then, a few weeks later, checking my bill online I found that what should have been a $63 bill was $192. They hadn't given me the "courtesy minutes." I called them up and was on hold for another 10 or 15 minutes (3 more plays) before I got someone who told me there was no record of 'courtesy minutes' extended. The service person said she'd email the original person (there never was a response). She then said -- well it's our word against yours. (!)


Meanwhile I spend another 30 minutes on hold in 5 and 10 minute blocks. 6 more plays.


I said, look, how would I even known such a thing as "courtesy minutes" exist? I don't mind paying for each and every minute over my regular allotment and the 250 courtesy minutes -- but you guys promised me this or I would have never stayed with you. What would the point have been since I could have easily just switched to another carrier and got exactly what I want? Do you really think I'm making this up and lying straight faced to you?


"No, honestly, sir, I don't think you're lying to me."


A minor victory. She puts me on hold for another 20 minutes. (4 more plays)


She comes back. "Sir, I can't make any changes to your account -- not even to credit you -- as long as your number portability is still in process."


It had been in process at that point nover a month.


We went around a bit and I finally just said, okay, cancel the number portability. This time I'm on hold for the better part of 45 minutes. (9 more plays).


When she comes back she says, Ok, that's taken care of. I'm sorry we couldn't keep you as a customer.


I say "Whoa! Have you been paying any attention at all?!? It's number portability I'm cancelling, here! Don't you remember we talked for at least 5 minutes about why I couldn't change with portability pending?"


"Oh, that's right," she says. "I got confused."


I'm put on hold for another 1/2 hour, talk to her a few minutes and then another 12 minutes. (8 more plays, give or take).


She finally comes back on and says, Ok, your account is reinstated, your number portability cancelled.


I'd been talking on my cell the whole time. When I got home later to my new apartment, I decided to check my bill online. It was unavailable.


I pick up my cell and it tells me my account isn't recognized. But it does work to get into Sprint's service system. I'm on hold for another 15 minutes or so before I get someone (it's now Friday night).


After I explain the situation, they say, oh, well we must have to reprogram your phone. Call me back on your landline.


My landline is 6 miles away at my old house. I don't know any of my new neighbors and this is not the kind of neighborhood where you just invite yourself in to use the phone of people you don't know.


I drive to my old house. I'm on hold for another 15 or 20 minutes (I'll let you do the song math form here on out) before I get someone. Since Sprint has no way of getting you back in touch with a given service assistant I have to explain the whole freakin' story over again (there is some kind of written history but it is apparently vague and Sprint people do not like to read it as far as I can figure out).


I go through an elaborate programming thing, following the person's instructions. They tell me it will take approximately 2 hours for it to come back into service. I go home. 3 hours later, still no service.


I need this phone, it is, for all practical purposes, my only phone. I call back into the service center. They tell me to go back to my landline. Another 12 mile roundtrip. Another 40 minutes on hold. Another irritating re-programming process. Another two hour wait... basically til morning.


And it's still no good.


Suffice it to say that every person I talk to thinks that the last one didn't know what he was doing. They all say things like "Oh, I see what happened. I can fix this![/i]" I'm semi-camped at my old house, which has 15 years of behind- piano and furniture dust blowing through it like a prairie dust storm. Over and over I wait on hold, 10 minutes this time, 40 minutes the next. Sometimes they tell me I'll have to wait after reprogramming (2 hours is the typical) but sometimes they say, oh no, this will work right away. And always the same irritating hold tune...


Nothing works.


On Sunday morning, I spend almost 45 minutes on the line with a serious-minded guy who sounds like he's from Africa. He's convinced the others missed something. He puts me through a really elaborate reprogramming routine -- but just as it's almost over his voice disappears in mid-sentence and I hear the eery but familiar hum of the sprint system background noise. At least there's no hold music. Then I hear "The time allotted for you to make this call..." recording telling me that I've been dumped back out to the main phone system.


I call one more time and I'm talking to a slightly rude woman who runs me through the programming routine twice more. To her apparent consternation, it doesn't work. I could have told her that. She says "Just one more try."


I tell her "Look, ma'am, I've been on the phone with you folks at Sprint for a total of almost 10 hours out of the last 48... I've reprogrammed my phone at least 12 times and I've had to make 6 12 mile roundtrips to do it. I think I must have heard your insipid, puerile, incredibly irritating hold music over 50 flippin' times, usually over and over again, back to back. I'm done with Sprint!"


I drive straight to Circuit City and buy a cute little Samsung T-Mobile phone. My previous two cells had been Samsungs and they were great. This is less, so, because it has a color screen that I soon realize is very hard to see in daylight. But, hey, who uses a cell phone outdoors, huh? It works out of the gate and that's the important thing.


I have one question about internet service options (they're pretty stupid, turns out, basically just a way to pay do DL ringtones) so I call up T-Mobile.


And I run straight into the exact same incredibly irritating, insufferably puerile, smooth-jazz track that I'd so recently grown to know and loathe on the Sprint system... :eek:

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Had a weird 'hold music' experience once. I was on hold with one of our vendors, and they had the same Muzak channel on the phone as our shopping center had on the outside speakers. One was a millisecond behind the other. I felt like a human tape delay. :freak:

"I had to have something, and it wasn't there. I couldn't go down the street and buy it, so I built it."


Les Paul

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I also had a great idea tonight at work. You know that old song that starts I believe that the children are our future...? (Whitney Houston?) I can see that done as one of the de-tuned, Nu-metal, cookie monster vocals songs. :D Maybe Damage Plan could handle that as a cover...


a.k.a. "El Guapo" ;)


...Better fuzz through science...



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I was once in a Wendy's, and something strangely familiar came over the speakers. I knew that it was a song I knew really well, but I couldn't place it. Then it hit me: Judas Priest! Actually, it was "Diamonds and Rust", a Joan Baez tune, but I was much more familiar with it as a Judas Priest song and it was hilarious to hear it on the Muzak.
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I told a friend of mine in Sarasota about this muzak thing, and he said: "Aha! Come with me .......!"


We drove to a mini-mall in Longboat Key where they play Steely Dan muzak all the time. Everyone shopping there was about 100 years old, even the baggers in Publix.


"Chain Lightning" and "Black Cow" for centenarians in a slo-motion shopping city.

J. Eliot Howe (Chief Gear-Pimp)


Guitaravenue L.L.C.

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