If I was asked to choose one way to most effectively torture terrorists, I would without a doubt suggest putting them on the phone line with the so-called Customer Care service numbers of an American bank or credit card company. They have a foolproof four-layered torture mechanizm in place that would freak out everyone from the most calm minded yogi to the most hardcore terrorists.
Layer 1: The Number Game
The first challenge lies in figuring out the phone number, since they love to mention it using letters for numbers, like 1800-MY-BANK-SUCKS. Dial the number and the Interactive Voice Response starts the torture procedure-
"Welcome to We Suck Bank. We proudly present to you the Super Platinum Credit Card with $1 million credit limit and no monthly charges. For more information and to register for this card, please go to w w w dot wesuckbank dot com. To continue in English, press 1. Esto perso hola kushti espanialo, hesta 2. Luga buga zhingala maka chuka zulu, pangu 3."
You press 1.
"Thank You. For account information, press 1. For balance information, press 2. For information on credit cards, press 3. For information on car loans, press 4...blah blah blah..., For information on Angelina Jolie's latest child, press 37. To repeat this information, press star."
By this time, you are confused.. what did I call up for? "Was it 2.. no wait it was 3..no no I remember it was 1." You press the number and it takes you to the next level.
Layer 2: Speak Up Baby
Off late, the banks have taken a fancy to using voice recognition software, and with it begins new level of torture-
"Thank you. To login, please speak your 16 digit credit card number, 24 digit account number and 10 digit cellphone number, one digit at a time."
You take ten minutes to speak out each number, and just when you thought it was over, it starts again-
"Thank You. To continue, please speak one of the following options. To check your balance, say balance. To request a statement, say request statement. To make a payment, say make payment. To report a lost card, say lost card....blah blah...For more options, say more options."
You try to gather the best American accent and say- "Make payment"
"Sorry. I did not understand that. Please say again."
"Sorry I did not understand that. Please say again."
After 15 trials, "Sorry I did not understand that. Please say again."
"Thank You. Please wait while I transfer your call to our Customer Service Executive"
And here begins the next level.
Layer 3: The Eternal Wait
The annoying 'On Hold' music starts... Tu ru ru ru tu ru ru ru ru...ru ru ru ru.... ru ru ru ru...
After two minutes, the music fades and you feel the person has come on line, but no!
"Did you know you can make your payments online at our website w w w dot wesuckbank dot com! Also we proudly present to you the Super Platinum Credit Card with $1 million credit limit and no monthly charges."
And the music starts again... Tu ru ru ru tu ru ru ru ru...ru ru ru ru.... ru ru ru ru..
After 30 minutes of wait, just when you fall comfortably asleep, a voice is finally heard
"Hello my name is Kathy and how may I help you today?"
Yayyy!!! A HUMAN BEING finally!!! You excitedly start telling your problem- "See, I have a savings account in your bank, and..." but you are interrupted-
"Sir, before we proceed, for your security, I would ask you a few questions"
And here begins the next level of torture
Layer 4: Questions and Questions
"Sir, for your security, may I please know your first name, last name, father's middle name, mother's maiden surname, last five digits of your Social Security Number, roll number of your third crush in fifth grade class and molecular weight of your favorite hydrocarbon compound?"
The first challenge here is trying to remember all questions, and then comes the challenge of answering them all. You spend ten minutes in answering all questions and explaining why you called up.
"Sure sir. We can help. Please wait as I transfer your call to the specialist"
Tu ru ru ru tu ru ru ru ru...ru ru ru ru.... ru ru ru ru...
Disconnected. Last Call Time: 2 hours 48 minutes 36 seconds.