An argument with a 4-1-1 recording ~

An argument with a 4-1-1 recording…

Like something out of Maximum Overdrive meets Angry Bird.

I was the Angry Bird.


It was this past Wednesday. It was a beautiful, crisp Polar Vortex kind of morning with birds singing and all that good stuff. Finches, cardinals, robins. All chirping happy songs.

Everything felt clean and good with the world.

Except my hair.

I wanted a wash and blow dry. A little gift. Just for me.

I was driving. Highway driving.

I needed to make a phone call to Fantastic Sam’s in Warren, RI to schedule an appointment.

I didn’t know the telephone number… and as I’ve said, I was driving.



Dial 4-1-1.

Listen for the prompt:

AT&T 4-1-1 Info. Say your city and state – like Dallas, Texas. Or you can say other services.

ME (chirping like the happy little winter finch I was, ready to get my female feathers tended to): Warren, Rhode Island.

AT&T: Sorry, I didn’t hear you. Please say a city and state or say other services.

ME (louder, less chirp-ish): WARREN, RHODE ISLAND.

AT&T: Say just the business name, or for residential…  (whatever she said. I already knew what to say.)

ME: Fantastic Sam’s.

And just like that, she was repeating the business name and was more than happy to send me the info in a text message AND allow me to hang on to be connected.

Ah. Chirp, chirp.

But wait?

Did she just say, Fantastic Sam’s in WARWICK, RHODE ISLAND?

Indeed, she did…


I wanted to jump into the phone at that point.

But I hung up and dialed again.

Same AT&T intro, but sounding a bit more confrontational to me. I’m sure of it. Was she resentful that I may be getting a wash & blow dry while she’s stuck somewhere in 4-1-1 Maximum Overdrive?

Same WAR-REN, RHODE ISLAND on my end. Clearly. Calmly.

Prompt for business name.

FANTASTIC SAM’S. Clearly. Calmly.

AT&T: Sorry, I didn’t hear you. Please say a city and state blah blah blah.


AT&T: Sorry, I didn’t get that. Here are some other services: Number 1. St. Mary’s Church. Number 2. St. Augustine’s Church. Number 3. Jazzy Nails. Please say the number of the one you want. Or say repeat. (BTY, there was also a #4, but this finch was no longer a finch. I was an Angry Bird.)

ME (Angry Bird): NONE-OF-THEM. (And maybe, just maybe a WTF?) NONE OF THEM.

AT&T: I’m sorry, I didn’t hear you…



I was a finch in flight turned Angry Bird trapped in technological Maximum Overdrive.

What the hell.

I need human handling.

And soothing human vocalization.

Not flung through air waves with slingshots.

Or 4-1-1 taunting snots.


I had myself an argument with a 4-1-1 recording.

That may be an all time low.

But I did shake my tail feathers off to Fantastic Sam’s in WAR-REN, RHODE ISLAND… the old fashioned way.


Take that, 4-1-1 recording!










An argument with a 4-1-1 recording ~ was last modified: January 10th, 2014 by Sharon Couto
SHOWHIDE Comments (12)
  1. I cannot tell you how much I love this post. I, too, have had arguments with recordings. When I call a company and have to wade through layers and layers of “automated” recordings, I end up irrationally screaming “human being” or “real person” to try to get through. Drives me INSANE.

  2. That is truly a funny story. We have that problem with Siri on my husbands phone. i have recently pulled out the good old fashioned phone book to find a phone number and wow, there it was, no one to argue with. LOL

  3. I laughed so hard that I needed to run to the bathroom. Just what I needed on this rainy Saturday afternoon. Thank you for sharing this hysterical story.

An argument with a 4-1-1 recording ~ was last modified: January 10th, 2014 by Sharon Couto