When on hold - but not unheard - try this script

Help is on the way for callers who now know their private utterances - sneezes, belches, family arguments, and all - may be taped during the time a company puts them on hold. The New York Times has just noted this in a front-page story on calls "monitored for quality assurance purposes."

Don't be caught saying something you wouldn't want monitored. Put yourself in control and maybe have a little fun. Consider the following scripts. After all, presidents have TelePrompters, why not you? If you're on hold and being overheard by:

The bank: "Honey, did you ever find that $5,000 I left on the kitchen table?"

Electric company: "How many times do I have to tell you the light socket is not a toy!"

Computer service: "I hope I get someone from India, don't you? When I hear an American voice my suspicions are aroused."

Broker: "But, dear, the CEO himself told me they were going to do it and the stock should double tomorrow."

Hardware store: "Well, you were the one who wanted to qualify for 'Extreme Home Makeover.' "

Anybody: Loud sounds of sobbing. Then hilarious laughter. "I know that's what it seems like. If you only knew."

But you don't have to rely on prepared cue cards. Write your own. Improvise a little. You be the judge of quality assurance.

Roderick Nordell is a former Monitor editor.

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