Wednesday, September 1, 2010

For English, Press 1

For English, press 1. For Spanish, lo siento de decirle que yo no le puedo ayudar. (I’m sorry to tell you that I can’t help you.)

I’ve been seeing some stuff on Facebook recently along the lines of “I shouldn’t have to press one for English, this is America!”

While I understand the frustration that leads to that sentiment, I must say that I’m not quite there yet. I’m far more impatient with the eight-level hierarchical menu of choices that I get when I call my doctor’s office. They start with a recording of their office hours, when they go to lunch, what holidays they observe, and the notification of the next twelve full moons. Then they launch into the series about who YOU are: “If you are a doctor’s office, press one. If you are a pharmacy, press two. If you are a drug rep, pick up pizza and salads for the sixteen of us, and stop by any time. If you are a patient, please stay on the line, as your call is important to us.” Then you are unceremoniously disconnected.

Anyhoo, I got the most curious document in the mail this week. It was from Ingenix, a company I swear I have never heard of until now. It contained a form letter that, in a nutshell, was trying to determine whether I had recently been in any kind of accident. You see, I had been having back pain, and my doctor (who I ultimately reached via smoke signals) ordered x-rays. Apparently, my insurance company, with whom I have had a very close personal relationship for at least five years, uses Ingenix to investigate claims they may not have to pay. You know, if I was getting x-rays because I had been in a car accident, or a street fight, Charming Insurance Company could disavow all responsibility for my care.

Here’s the connection to where we started this post. Right along with the letter asking me to supply all sorts of information about what happened (to wit, nothing) to justify the x-rays, there is an exact copy of the letter in Spanish.

Yes. In Spanish. To me, Leah Rubin. Not Leah Rubin Gonzales.

So I think that sending the form in two languages is pretty insane, unless they had a reason to believe that I needed to communicate in some language other than English. I mean, with a name like mine, they might as well have sent it in Russian, Yiddish, Hebrew, German, or Esperanto.

Especially since I’ve been with the same company for so long, with never a hint of inability to read and write in English… Oh… Unless they’ve been reading this blog, and they think I am illiterate. I hadn’t thought of that.

But really? We’re not killing enough trees? We’re not putting enough trash into the landfills? We’re not yet thinking about our carbon footprint enough to realize that maybe we shouldn’t send TWO copies of every form to our customers in two languages without some good reason?

Press ‘R’ for rant.


  1. Two letters? You're kidding...
    I suppose you shouldn't even be getting the ONE letter from and investigation firm, but c'mon.

    I saw a bumper sticker the other day that read, "Why the hell should I have to press 1 for English. This is America! English is our language!"

    I like being bi-lingual myself, but I do understand that sentiment. (finger poised above the R key)

  2. Ha! Press R for rant. You crack me up. That is crazy that they sent 2 letters. Now that's something I haven't seen yet.

  3. me too, me too. I don't want to press a button for English. Pleazzzzze.

    Very funny. Press R for rant was my fav.

  4. Leah, that's some crazy stuff. Ingenix: The "In" is for intrusive, and the "genix"? Well, perhaps it's their way of spelling "genius" because clearly, that's who's behind their brilliant use of extra paper. They must be relatives of the people that print instruction manuals in English, Spanish, and the language preferred by most U.S. consumers: FRENCH.

  5. That is just kooky and ridiculous and a waste! Hey wait, you are kooky and ridiculous but a total gem. Funny stuff once again!

  6. Great post! I have to admit, if an answering machine message is too long I just hang up!

  7. The amount of paper that gets sent out unnecessarily is ridiculous. Our insurance company recently felt the need to send me 3 copies of one son's referral.