FRAZIER: On parenting tactics and service calls

Published 4:00 am Saturday, January 8, 2022

When a child comes to their mother or father in need of information or to solve a problem, there are sometimes occasions when the parent they seek out advises them to reach out to the other.

This may be because their mother or father doesn’t know the answer to their question, they don’t have the time to answer or, in some cases, the energy to answer. Hence, the child may feel like he or she is getting passed back and forth from one parent to the other.

This week, I felt like that little child.

On Thursday, I was having trouble with my AT&T U-Verse televisions, but like a woman of the 21st century, I pulled up the AT&T app on my mobile device to seek assistance.

When I had trouble in the past, I used the app and had been amazed how my smartphone could access my TVs and resolve the issue. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case Thursday.

After multiple tries of typing in the problem through the app, and not having success, I resorted to making a phone call. That’s when I began to identify with the children.

For anyone who has ever tried to reach AT&T or for that matter other entities, like your health care provider or a mail order or utility company, via the phone, you know how maddening it can get.

Like with the parent, the buck is passed.

And it usually goes like this — you have a question or problem, so you call.

Typically, it’s a recording that initially answers, which is then followed by a series of questions, asked by said recording. You are then asked to punch a number on your phone that will direct you to whom you need to speak.

I pray I select the right number.

After you are transferred to the number where the question or problem is to be resolved, you then sit on hold — sometimes for so long, you can watch your fingernails grow.

Also, to try and distract you while waiting, music is played — annoying music at that — or is it that it’s just played over and over and over and over?

Finally, when someone does answer and you go through the details of why you are calling — raise your hand if you have ever been told, you will need to be transferred to another department.

This gets maddening when you have talked to just about everyone in the company and still, no one knows how to help or who needs to help.

On Thursday, after my second transfer, I gave up and hung up. The fellow on the other line spoke with an accent my hear could just not pick up, and it must have been likewise for him. After he asked me how to spell my name three times — that was all she wrote. I didn’t even say goodbye.

Nevertheless, I realized after disconnecting the call that my situation may not be so dire.

The TV in the room over my garage was working, as was the Roku. While this meant hubby and I wouldn’t be able to follow our routine of watching the NBC nightly news while we had dinner, I (I mean we) could, however, still watch my favorite home improvement shows on Discovery+.

But wouldn’t you know, by the time we sat down to eat, the TVs had magically come back on.

Hmmm, isn’t that another tactic parents use sometimes?

About Terri Cowart Frazier

Terri Frazier was born in Cleveland. Shortly afterward, the family moved to Vicksburg. She is a part-time reporter at The Vicksburg Post and is the editor of the Vicksburg Living Magazine, which has been awarded First Place by the Mississippi Press Association. She has also been the recipient of a First Place award in the MPA’s Better Newspaper Contest’s editorial division for the “Best Feature Story.”

Terri graduated from Warren Central High School and Mississippi State University where she received a bachelor’s degree in communications with an emphasis in public relations.

Prior to coming to work at The Post a little more than 10 years ago, she did some freelancing at the Jackson Free Press. But for most of her life, she enjoyed being a full-time stay at home mom.

Terri is a member of the Crawford Street United Methodist Church. She is a lifetime member of the Vicksburg Junior Auxiliary and is a past member of the Sampler Antique Club and Town and Country Garden Club. She is married to Dr. Walter Frazier.

“From staying informed with local governmental issues to hearing the stories of its people, a hometown newspaper is vital to a community. I have felt privileged to be part of a dedicated team at The Post throughout my tenure and hope that with theirs and with local support, I will be able to continue to grow and hone in on my skills as I help share the stories in Vicksburg. When asked what I like most about my job, my answer is always ‘the people.’

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