We all have those expressions that drive us nuts. For me, it’s “just a second” and “reason why.” The latter is simply bad usage of English and redundant. Either “reason” or “why” is sufficient. Try it and you’ll see, and agree. But, “just a second” has ramifications well beyond poor grammar. No, it’s not the end of the world, but it’s a regular annoyance that relates to something long gone from our world — customer service.
With everything technological and just about everything else in which a person requires assistance there is the inevitable phone/voice menu that we must navigate. While we struggle with these completely annoying and oh-so-often confusing disembodied instructions, we are usually subjected to repeated commercials from the company. Also, outrageous delays AND the occasional – all too often – disconnect from which, if we have the patience, we have to begin it all over again.
Some of us just press “O” as often as we can, hoping to circumvent the menu but that rarely works anymore. When there isn’t an appropriate voice prompt or “menu item” for our issue, we have to guess what might eventually get us to a “live” human who may be able to help out. That is when the inevitable “just a second” or “just a sec” comes to play.
First, by the time they’ve uttered those lying words, we’ve already logged in untold seconds – actually dozens of minutes more often than not – and now we’re expected to believe it will actually be just ONE second! Call it my quirk, but it bugs me to no end. “Just a moment” is slightly more truthful, though the best of all would be the truth, “Can you please hang on for a very long time while I take my lunch break and likely disconnect you after 30-plus minutes?” Of course, we are never actually asked if we mind waiting another “moment,” “second,” or longer.
This is very similar to calling doctors’ offices and getting the usual response when the phone call is answered – “hang on.” That usually happens without the person even waiting for us to say, “okay.”
Now, I’ll leave all the other ubiquitous annoyances to another column such as speaking with someone in another country who is completely unintelligible, though terribly polite. “Terribly” being the operative word when faced with that circumstance. I’ll also leave it for another day, the wonderful and common scripted answers that bear little or zero relation to our questions.
Social Media actually coined the phrase, “Best Practices” and many of the people I either socialize with or work with online do employ many such good behaviors. On the other hand, the notion of getting a returned phone call, a prompt reply to an email, or an answer to any business proposal seems to have gone the way of phone, elevator, and gas station attendants/operators: long gone, long forgotten.
The real question is why has this all changed so dramatically? And why has it changed so dramatically for the worse? Technology was supposed to make our lives easier. Do you find life easier today? I sure don’t. But, hang on just a second while I think about this a bit more…
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