I find it enormously frustrating, as you probably do too, when I call a company and want to speak to a real person abut instead get a robotic voice that cannot solve my problem or answer my question, but will not allow me to speak to a real person. There are some things you can do about this. First, try the 2 easy things first. First, say the words ‘customer service’ or ‘operator’, perhaps repeatedly. That sometimes works. Second, punch ‘0’ on your keypad. That sometimes works too. If those things don’t work, go to Plan B. There are several web sites that tell you the phone numbers at companies that go directly to a live person, bypassing the robot. The 2 biggies in this field are Get A Human and Dial A Human. Neither web site charges a fee or requires you to set up an account with them. Both also have free apps for Android and iPhone users.

I am not sure what is the most annoying thing that robotic voices tell me when I call a business. Here are my top contenders.

‘Your call is very important to us.’ If my call was really very important to you, then you would have a real live person would answer my call instead of a robot, and your robot would allow me to speak to a real person upon my request.

‘Please listen carefully as our menu options have changed.’ Nobody remembers or writes down what your menu options were the last time they called, so why are you telling me this?

‘We are now experiencing unusually heavy call volume.’ There are companies that always say this whenever I call them. How can they be having unusually heavy call volume all the time?

‘Would you care to answer a brief survey after you finish your call?’ The only people who answer ‘Yes’ to this question are people who want to complain – and they are complaining to a robot.

‘We are open from 9AM to 5PM. For your convenience, we are now closed.’ For my convenience you are now closed? For MY convenience you are closed? Obviously, it would be more convenient for me if you were open and answering my phone call!