Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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"Simon Says"

Filter out all but the most determined callers...
  [vote for,

Scenario: the phone rings, and your evil bitchy electronic receptionist "Simon" answers the call...

"Hi and thanks for calling... if you know the passcode enter it now... otherwise, please wait..."


"Oh, joy! You want to speak with _____. Well, first, you need to prove yourself worthy. After all, he doesn't take calls from just *anyone*, you know? Before you can speak to him, we're going to play a little game."

"My name's Simon. As in, 'Simon Says'. And that's what we're going to play. I'm going to tell you what digits to press, and you need to press them... but ONLY if I precede the instruction with the phrase 'Simon Says'".

"Ready? Good. Please press 1 to continue."

(caller presses "1", and is tartly chided for having done so without "Simon Says". He's told to call back and try again. The call is terminated.) otherwise...

"Excellent! You follow instructions well! OK, 'Simon Says, press 1'"

(caller presses 1).

"Simon says, 'dial down the center... CALL-ATT' " (or some other task that requires cognitive thought, a firm grasp of English, and a bit of active effort)

(caller dials 2255288)

"You learn fast! OK, press '9' to complete your call and speak to ____."

(caller has a brain fart and dials '9')

"Oh, I'm sorry... you should have waited for 'Simon Says'. Please try again..." (hangs up)

(caller resists the temptation to dial '9')

"Congratulations! You've proven yourself worthy! Please wait while I transfer your call..." (phone rings and call completes normally).

miamicanes, May 17 2003

CAPTCHA http://www.captcha.net/
Programs to tell humans from computers online. [johnmeacham, Oct 17 2004]


       Nice - it'd be quicker than many phone messaging systems.
thumbwax, May 17 2003

       Please let me know if any company develops this. I'd like to get a job there as an operator... lots of free time.
Pericles, May 17 2003

       Ah, frustration and humiliation. +
ato_de, May 17 2003

       Have a croissant! Wait, Simon didn't say....
OpheliaFrump, May 18 2003

       Would that evil receptionist be Simon Cowell?
k_sra, May 18 2003

       Of course. Otherwise the receptionist would be full of useless praise and named "Paula".
OpheliaFrump, May 18 2003

       // Well, first, you need to prove yourself worthy. //   


waugsqueke, May 18 2003

       oh waugs.... you'll never change.
Pericles, May 18 2003

       I hope not. Someone needs to remind us that we're supposed to behave around here, and I ain't gonna do it!
egbert, May 19 2003

       Perhaps I should explain myself. If I am calling you, I'm not about to take some quiz to get through. I'm not going to 'prove myself' to make a damn phone call. I think it's a ridiculous concept and I voted against it for that reason.   

       I can't imagine any one of you who voted for it actually enjoying it either. Certainly the second or third time you'd be cursing it.
waugsqueke, May 19 2003

       I can't stand automated voice mail systems. I guess this is making fun of them.
snarfyguy, May 19 2003

       I was about to suggest that this be the setup for the "Half-Speed, Ltd" customer services call-centre, but it seems to no longer exist (a pity). Any veteran 'bakers know what became of it?
friendlyfire, May 19 2003

       Simon told me I had to annotate this idea, so here goes! I can't work up the gumption (nice word, eh?) to give it a croissant. I mean I'd have to get out the rolling pin and open a new bag of flour...   

       But neither can I find reason to make it sleep with the fishes. It appears to be a thinly-veiled rant aimed at automated phone systems, but it is funny and entertaining enough to make me forgive and forget.   

       Simon says 'return to your normal activities'.
Canuck, May 20 2003

       I'm with [waugs] - I can't fathom why a business that wants me to give them my money would do this - anyone smart enough to get through the wickets ought to have sufficient self-respect to hang up immediately.
<rant>I want a phone that detects automated voice mail systems and immediately presses 0 for an operator.</rant>
Don Quixote, May 20 2003

       waugs, the beauty is that if you don't follow any of the instructions, the system has to assume you don't have a tone dial phone and route you through, so really the system does weed out the unworthy who follow instructions their given like sheep.
scubadooper, May 20 2003

       //unworthy who follow instructions their given like sheep//   

       "they're given", not "their given"
El Pedanto, May 20 2003

       EP, please drop me a line. Its U're turn   

       I mean by that your pedantness, please write me an email with full capitalis/zation and punctuation!
po, May 20 2003


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