Bring back the old hold music

Posted On: Saturday - September 25th 2021 6:10AM MST
In Topics: 
  Music  Curmudgeonry  Big-Biz Stupidity  Customer Care

Hold music used to be a thing of jokes along with elevator music, which, speaking of the latter, you don't hear much Girl from Ipanema anymore on elevators, or any music, do you? Having music on hold is no assurance for the guy on the other end that someone, well now often another piece of software, WILL eventually "pick up", but it had its purposes. I believe the reason for it was two-fold, to sooth the mind of the caller, as he is bound to get into a worse mood with time, and to assure him that he hasn't been disconnected.

I've been used to hold music, even more so in this age of being put into some phone tree even when calling the local hardware store.* Some of it, even if not The Girl from Ipanema, is reasonably enjoyable. At one job in which I had to make phone calls often to the one same big customer, they had the same nice acoustic guitar piece on there that it made me wonder if someone at that company had written it. I woke up one morning after having worked there the previous evening with a nice acoustical guitar riff in my head. I picked up the guitar to play it thinking this could be a nice original. After a minute I realized that it was the hold music!

Anyway, things always get worse, per Rosenberg’s Law, as commenter MBlanc46 reminds me. They even had to screw up hold music. Someone in marketing got wise and determined that the customer could be sold MORE STUFF while waiting on hold, in fact, the more time on hold, the better. Granted some of the time it's information that may help the caller with what he has called about. Either way, the hold music gets interrupted every 30 seconds or a minute with a voice. This is extremely frustrating, as, if it keeps going steadily, one can relax with the music, having other useful thoughts, or just calm down per its intended purpose, sometimes to the point of sleep. "Hopefully, the girl on the other end can wake me up when she answers", I think.

The voice interruptions are stressful, because every time the voice comes on, I have a quick thought that someone's answering, and I come out of any relaxation. If the phone is on speaker as I do something constructive with the time on hold, then the voice interrupts whatever that is, as it should if it were someone answering.

There's one more thing that goes along with this form of "customer care" stupidity. I don't hear clear signals so much anymore. With the voice-over-IP, lots of connections, and crappy equipment, often the sound is variable in strength with quite a bit of static parts of the time. During some of those times, I think the software has just hung up on me. It's hard to relax, so as to be in a good state when eventually talking to the girl from Bangalore, Manila, Belarus, anywhere but Ipanema.

Big Biz is relentless and does not care how much indignity the customer will experience. Even being on hold is much more stressful than in the days of The Girl from Ipanema:

* Peak Stupidity has been through this one. The smallest of businesses must think it's not professional if they just up and answer the phone when it rings.

Tuesday - September 28th 2021 10:14AM MST
PS: Mr. Hail. Thanks for that info. I had no idea, as I have no tweet receiver with the crystal or whatever you need. Seriously, the only thing messed up is Mr. Brimelow's link is to @StupidityPeak rather than PeakStupidity (of course, I HAVE no @ sign, so ...) That's a guy who writes tweets using "Peak Stupidity" but could not(?) get that wording in his twitter handle. (Who does, I wonder, as I assume it has absolutely nothing to do with a website URL?)

His link to this site works fine though. I will write him an email and thank him for that, along with explaining that I am not the tweeter.
Tuesday - September 28th 2021 10:10AM MST
PS: Alarmist, you are great at pulling up some further PS curmudgeonry post ideas. The gas pumps are very annoying to me. I have come close to pumping a few ounces of 87 octane into the speaker area, and I DO know there are cameras at that. "Hey, I slipped, man..."

What I do is either use the pump handle latch (with the couple of notches), or failing that, my gas cap inserted in there to let the pump run while I walk way over to the other side to get away from it, and maybe chat with someone. This only works if you want a fill up, of course.
Tuesday - September 28th 2021 10:07AM MST
PS: I appreciate the music links, everyone.

Chompers, that was good, and thanks for starting the thread going in THAT direction, haha. I feel left out, as all I could do was the armpit farting thing - nothing to write home about. My boy can do it now, so there's that ...
Monday - September 27th 2021 11:03PM MST

VDARE and Peter Brimelow thank PEAK STUPIDITY

I thought you should know that last week none other than Peter Brimelow personally name-dropped and thanked PEAK STUPIDITY for an August essay appearing on this website.

A belated thanks to @StupidityPeak for the kind words!

"If even Peter Brimelow calls these people Communists, than Peak Stupidity will call them no other."

This was in reference to "OK, Some (V)Dare Call it Communism." (, Aug 13, 2021.
Monday - September 27th 2021 6:52PM MST
PS: Mr. Clown, when I was a young'un, I knew a kid that could recite the (entire) alphabet while burping. I never made it past 'L', and rarely past 'G'.

That and a guy at my Father's office could fart (quite loudly) when his finger was pulled.

But that was back when this country could still perform amazing feats of daring-do.
Chompers the Clown
Monday - September 27th 2021 6:26PM MST
PS Hold music is a construct of the white male capitalist pig patriarchy and will be replaced with flatulence or belching sounds as part of the Great Reset Leap Forward
The Alarmist
Sunday - September 26th 2021 12:31PM MST

Yep, help lines charged based on time on the line.

Here, BTW, is a classic use of Girl from Ipanema

I filled up my car the other day and my wife was amazed that the pump pumped TV at me ... she didn’t notice it was all advertising. The pumps in Europe, at least my corner of it, aren’t that “advanced” ... yet.
Adam Smith
Sunday - September 26th 2021 9:07AM MST
PS: Good afternoon everyone...

Press One For Poop Emoji
Sunday - September 26th 2021 8:17AM MST
PS Herb Alpert just put out a new release!
I like a good slappy bass line on the Welcome to Costco I love you line.
No one is there to answer, we are on our own.
Athenian Democracy is lowest common denominator egalitarian crap that always ends in collapse.
Stacy Abrams/Haitian immigrant 2024.
Saturday - September 25th 2021 7:37PM MST
PS: Thanks for the stories, Alarmist. I'd never heard of that one, having to pay for the help line service. Was it really based on time too?
michael mitchell
Saturday - September 25th 2021 2:03PM MST
Still think Girl is one the best ever.
The Alarmist
Saturday - September 25th 2021 9:41AM MST

Worse still, in Europe you are often charged for the privilege of calling help lines, so you are paying to be on hold. Conflict of interest?

My funniest “elevator music” story comes from a friend who worked for John Lennon in the ‘70s; apparently they got on an elevator in NYC one day, and the song “Imagine” was wafting out from the Muzak speakers, to which Mr. Lennon said something to the effect of, “Christ, I’ve lived too long.”

My personal hold story was a lady from Texas who called me in our NYC offices, who I had to put on hold for a couple minutes, and when I came back on line shyly told me our hold “music” was pornographic. I looked into it after the call and found that someone had tuned it into Howard Stern that morning.
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