This morning I spent at least half an hour with a phone plugged into my ear.
I had to call the Transit Authority about a reduced fare Metrocard I lost a couple of weeks ago, and which I had reported lost a couple of weeks ago. I looked up the number online and dialed what I thought was the right number.
Of course, I first had to go through the routine recording “as our menus have recently changed,” until I got to the part where I could say “representative” and get into the hold queue. The music wasn’t bad, at first, interrupted maybe every 15 seconds by the recording apologizing for the wait time, but after a while I realized it was only a two-bar riff, repeated endlessly, and it became boring quickly.
Fortunately, with a cellphone, it’s possible to be on hold and do other things, so I spent this 15 minutes doing necessary stretches. However, when I finally reached a human being, explained my problem (had my replacement Metrocard been mailed?), and learned I wasn’t in her system, it turned out I had called the wrong number. I should have called a city number: 511.
Dialing 511, however, got me a recording saying it wasn’t a valid number. WTF?!
Next I tried the all-purpose 311. The recording here misunderstood the reason for my call and sent me to a lost and found person. (Not too long a wait on hold.) She started to tell me how I could go to the website, and when I said I’d rather speak to a human, she laughed and said she was supposed to tell me all my options. She successfully switched me to the 511 number.
After a brief hold here, I learned that there’d been a “backlog” in replacement cards and mine wasn’t even ready to be mailed yet. (Internal scream of exasperation. With reduced fare, I can only get one round-trip card at a time when showing my Medicare card. This is beyond annoying.)
Well, if it hasn’t been mailed yet, where is it mailed from? I ask. From lower Manhattan, he says. Can I come pick it up then? Yes, he says. He’ll put a hold so it won’t be mailed out, and I will be called and left a voicemail when it is ready. That should save a couple of days in the Post Office.
All of this took only half an hour, but it disarrayed my whole morning.
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