Humor: The Hell HOTline

The HOTline
By Jane Lebak

“Hello, and thank you for calling the Hell Hotline. Our menu options have changed, so please listen carefully. If you would like to sell your soul, please press or say ‘one’ now. To check on the status of a loved one, press or say ‘two.’ To hear why something you did was perfectly excusable, please press or say ‘three’. To hear Satan’s quote of the day, please press or say ‘four.’ To speak to an operator, please remain on the line.”

{hold music plays: it’s Barry Mannilow}

“Hell Hotline. How may I direct your call?”

“I need some help with my Dell computer.”

“I apologize for the inconvenience, but you’ve reached Hell, not Dell.”

“No, I called Dell. Are you handling their tech support?”

“That’s a common misconception, sir, but you’ve called Hell, not Dell.”

“Look, I just want someone to fix my damned computer!”

“Oh, I didn’t realize it was damned. That changes things. May I put you on hold?”

“No, you may not! I just want tech support. And quit pretending this is really Hell.”

“Sir, it really is. May I please place you on hold?”

“That’s it, I’m just supposed to take your word for it?”

“Yes, sir, just my word. May I please place you on hold while I transfer you to tech support?”

“I don’t believe you. There is no such thing as Hell.”

“Sir, you called the Hell Hotline, and you’ve reached Hell.”

“Are you calling me a liar?”

“No, sir, I’m only saying where I work and what number you’ve called.”

“My job is hell too, but I don’t go answering the phones with ‘Hell Hotline’.”

“I’d trade in a heartbeat, sir. Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

“Is it really all fire and burning there?”

“No, sir. Some of us work as telephone customer service representatives.”

“You’re being rude and insulting! I want to speak to a supervisor.”

“Absolutely, sir. I’ll escalate the call immediately. Please hold.”

{More hold music. This time it’s ‘You Light Up My Life.’ Caller is heard to hum along with ‘It can’t be wrong if it feels so right.’}

{a deeper voice} “Thank you for holding, sir. I understand you had a problem with one of our CSRs?”

“Yeah! She got completely insulting when I just asked her to fix my damned computer.”

“I’m so very sorry for the inconvenience. I’d like to send you a free lifetime service contract for your computer. May I have your name, your address, your phone number, the names of your children down to the third and fourth generation, plus your local place of worship.”

“And are you going to fire her?”

“Funny you should say it that way, sir. It’s already being done.”

“Good.”

“I wouldn’t go that far. If you check your computer, you’ll notice it’s already working again. Is there anything else I can do for your today? Wealth, fortune, fame, season tickets to the Red Sox, a jump to the head of any line at Disney World?”

“Wow, you take care of your customers!”

“That we do, sir. We would be more than happy to send you a complimentary apple with your service contract, as well as a commemorative Golden Bull statue.”

“Now that’s more like it! You’re treating
me like a god.”

“As you deserve! I knew as soon as you filed your complaint that you’re just the kind of customer we ought to have. I’ll just take a few minutes to enroll you in our rewards program, and then I’ll send you on your way.”

“Wait–is there a catch?”

“Well, sir, this is a lifetime membership, but we really prefer our members not to worry too much about paying the dues. After all, we’re the hottest thing around.”

“Fair enough. You know, you guys aren’t too bad.”

“We pride ourselves on giving that impression. If there’s nothing more I can do for you, sir, thank you for calling the HOTline, and have a nice day.”

{a click as the phone disconnects}

>”That was great. And this damned computer is working again. I wonder what they charge for the call? Doesn’t matter — no price is too high for that kind of service.”