Monday, March 13, 2017

Pet Peeves #8, featuring the word "unfortunately," and the Microsoft scam guy

Bring your peeves
The other day, a Twitter follower who was not a fifth grade gamer in a hoodie offered a suggestion for this, the eighth edition of Pet Peeves. 
I am going to start including "Reader Peeves" when readers are nice enough to share.
There will be rules, though.  Peeves must be authorized, which means I have to have experienced them and forgotten to write them down. If I'm sent a peeve that talks about bad service in Business Class  (you know who you are), I just won't be able to include it, because I've had nothing but lovely service in those seats, and very good Bloody Marys.
1. Anything that is still handled by regular mail. I've noticed that conversations with customer service reps (CSR's) who have just told you that you can't handle a complicated thing online tend to involve the word "unfortunately" a lot.
Real life example:

Customer service rep (CSR): "I'll send you a form and all you need to do is fill it out and send it back with your signature."
Me: "Can't we do this online?"
CSR: "Unfortunately, we can't. We need a signature."
Me: "Can't you do an e-signature?"
CSR: "Unfortunately we can't. We need it to be hand-written, so we know it's the authorized person."
Me: "How do you know it's authorized?"
CSR: "Unfortunately, we can only assume if the form has gone to the intended person's address."
Me: "But if I send you actual mail, I won't have a confirmation of receipt unless I go to the post office and send it registered mail."
CSR: "Unfortunately, that's true."
And here is where a quick online task turns into a week-long process while I watch for the form and try not throw it away because 97% of actual mail is junk, then scribble information on the form which will look like a three-year-old filled it out because typing has ruined my handwriting. Then, I will have to search the drawer where we keep dead dinosaur cell phones for a stamp before I realize that I can just get one at the post office where all they do is handle dinosaur mail. 
2. The Microsoft scam guy (MSG). He's been around since 2009 but if you don't already know about him, read about it here.  I hate scams, but this one is worth toying with to avoid feeling peeved.
MSG: "Hello, my name is (whatever) and I'm calling from Microsoft about your computer."
Me: "No you're not, ha ha."
MSG: (click)
MSG: "Hello, my name is (whatever) and  I'm calling from Microsoft."
Me: "Yes, I've been expecting your call.You're going to fix my computer, right?"
MSG: (click)
MSG: "Hello, my name is (whatever) and  I'm calling from Microsoft
Me:  "No you're not. You scammed my mother two years ago. You should be ashamed of yourself."
MSG: (click) 
But my favorite response was offered by a family friend: "What computer? I don't have a computer. Computers are the devil. Are you trying to sell me a devil computer?"
3. I just can't stop complaining about hold music. It should be against the law. 
I will "continue to hold, until the next available representative...etc" when I am sure you won't force me to listen to "Shake it off" with those strange descending lines that make me think of people walking downstairs. 
4. Being cornered by intense people with strong opinions who want me to be as upset as they are even when I'm not even close to being upset at all. People like this tend to keep complaining,  even as you stay in your happy and keep saying, "I know, that's a bummer. I know, that's a bummer." 
5.Chain status updates that tell me that someone I really like is deciding which Facebook friends to cut loose based on whether I am willing to cut and paste (not share) their status for three hours. I don't understand what this accomplishes other than to force the same request upon my friends that I don't like having forced upon me. 
Only a little more annoying are chain status updates that say things like "Share if you love your husband/kids/mom/God," or, "Share if you believe animals deserve to be loved," and so on. 
6. Passwords that must contain three or four characters like %$#@* and an alpha/numeric combo that you will never remember and which will force you to use the "forgot password?" link every time you come back, which will force you to wait for the email that allows you to reset your password before you can finish your task, which you will have forgotten about because now there's a photo gallery on that shows interior shots of the Mary Tyler Moore house.
9. Facebook ads that I am seeing because my Facebook friends have "liked" the products being shown. I don't need products that color roots before my next stylist appointment, and I know if a friend "likes"that the color of the season at Ann Taylor is Kelly green, I'll still never wear it.
The newsfeed is so crammed with ads now, it's like the old days when a 30 minute show was ten minutes Frasier and twenty minutes food and bathroom breaks. 
Last, but not least, I give you Reader Peeves:
1. From reader Gina:
"7 to 10 business days." Just say 2 weeks! The misuse/overuse of the word "curated." Or, "low-hanging fruit."
Thank you, reader Gina. Agree, agree, and agree.
2. From reader Larry:
Misuse of the words "plethora" and "myriad." 
Thank you reader Larry. I think I agree that plethora should remain a medical term that nobody understands rather than become a word that people use because they're tired of saying "many." 
3. Saying "real" instead of "really." It's not "real simple" Martha, it's "really simple." And it's not "real hard," it's "really hard." 

This is a posthumous salute to my husband's high school English teacher, Mr. Richard A. Ertzman, who I understand was real, and elegant and serious about really speaking correctly. 


  1. I so detest "curated". It is in danger of replacing "artisan" as my most hated word. But one comment - not defending what are called "wet signatures", but there are cases where certain transactions can not be handled electronically due to laws or regulations. We can only hope this changes, and soon - but it is not the CSR's fault.

  2. Yes to them all, especially the 'ly" on an adverb. It just drives me crazy.. and crazier still because I can't correct every one about it because that would make me worse than a pet peeve.

    My current peeve is the express lane cashier who needs to have a friendly conversation with everyone thereby nullifying the "express". Once again I don't speak up because that would make me worse than a pet peeve.

    1. "So! Looks like you're having a little party!" one said to me recently, "Birthday?"

      I felt strange about that.

  3. Low hanging fruit has completely gone rotten. Throw it out!

  4. It makes me think of spoiled pears for some reason.