Your Customer Advocate Will Now Give You A Blindfold And A Cigarette

insuranceadvocate

Here’s a little pop quiz, kids.

If I am on the phone waiting to speak with a “customer advocate,” I am trying to reach which of the following parties:

  1. Better Business Bureau
  2. Small Claims Court
  3. Health insurance company claims adjuster
  4. China Palace carry out counter

First, we eliminate the obvious.   An “advocate” is one who pleads the cause of another.  That’s probably not going on at either #3 or 4, so cross them out.  The word “customer” indicates a business as opposed to a legal situation, so cross out #2.  That leaves #1, the Better Business Bureau, right?  Wrong.

Welcome to the wacky world of “euphemish.”

Regular readers of this blog know that I am the world’s foremost authority on the “Euphemish” language, because I told you so.  Feel free to read all about it here and here.  For those interested in the Cliffs Notes version:

Euphemish noun \’yü-fə-mish\
      a: A language, or dialect, featuring the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.
      Synonyms: Sugarcoat, spin, mislead, lie
      Origin: from the Greek, euphēmos auspicious, sounding good.

I had a little accident in the kitchen, so I called my health insurer’s claims department.  I wanted to know what my plan would pay before I sought medical treatment.  It was just a scratch, but I thought it best to get the question settled sooner rather than later.

I’m not going to name the insurance company; suffice it to say they’re big.  Really big.  I navigated their phone system until I finally reached the claims department.  Their on-hold message promised my call would be handled by the next available “customer advocate.”

I thought claims adjustors were employees; mere corporate tools, forced to toe whatever party line “the man” laid down on claims.  I assumed their job description would be, “Avoid paying even one, thin dime to the working stiffs who made this country great.  Maximize profits for corporate big wigs so they can fly around in the company jet, eating caviar and drinking champagne from the Jimmy Choos of high-priced floozies.”

Au contraire.

This company’s claims department is staffed with “advocates”.  They’re on my side.

As my on-hold wait extended into its 3rd hour, I thought about my “advocate” (while alternatively loosening and tightening the tourniquet.)   I picture her as an earnest young woman with long hair and Birkenstocks, who chose to work for the Indigo Plus Sign Insurance Company of Illinois as a way to give back to society after graduating from an Ivy League school.

My “advocate” would represent me in front of the fat cat, claims review board, pounding the table and shouting “Peg has been paying $1317 per month for 8 years for this policy.  Now that she needs us, we can’t turn our backs on her.  She needs proper care, she deserves proper care, and dammit, I won’t rest until she gets it.  With God as my witness, we will APPROVE that Band-Aid for her! (after the $30 Residential Dressing copay)”

Right then I knew; this time was different. It wasn’t “euphemish”.  This time, “customer advocate” meant just that.

Am I wrong to hope? Could this be nothing more than the fantasy of a starry-eyed idealist?  Maybe.  Or it could be blood loss.  We’ll find out just as soon as it’s my turn to talk to my “advocate”.  I’ve been on hold for 4 days.

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About pegoleg

R-A-M-B-L-I-N-G-S, Ram...Blin!
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78 Responses to Your Customer Advocate Will Now Give You A Blindfold And A Cigarette

  1. bigsheepcommunications says:

    First, I do hope the bleeding has stopped and that you’re not in danger of losing any appendages. Second, my experience with the Indigo Plus Sign Health Insurance Company is that their “advocates” do a great job being polite and friendly, without ever resolving any issues you may be having. In the meantime, can I bring you anything — snack, coffee, transfusion?

    Like

  2. winsomebella says:

    I am surprised the postal service is not flush considering the reams of paperwork sent to me by Indigo Plus Sign of Colorado. Heed the advice of the first voicemail message and hang up and call 911, Peg 🙂

    Like

  3. I’ve actually found it quite productive to be on hold in need of assistance. I put the phone on speaker and lay it beside my computer and get 2 or 3 days of work done before a person actually comes on the line. Of course there are times I’ve caught up on my work and forgot about the “on hold” thing and just walked away. Hours later I will here a voice coming from my office saying, “Hello, Hello?” and I run like hell out of the house. 😉

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Oh, jeez, that is so true. Since I am an insurance agent, I call Indigo Plus Sign and their brethren every day. The only problem is being tethered to the desk when you really, REALLY gotta go. It’s a dilemma when you have invested more than 30 minutes on hold.

      Like

  4. I loved this post. And also your here and here post. I am very fond of the euphemism. I once blogged about 20 or so that were my favorites (stuff like “workforce imbalance correction:, i.e. laid off). It has been my most popular post ever. Every day I get google hits on “euphemism”. So apparently it is a subject that interests a lot of people,

    Like

  5. I can’t decide if you’re smarter than me or just better-versed in insurance euphamish. Did you eventually get healthcare? Or are you missing a digit or two? When I tried to hack my finger off, I didn’t bother calling the insurance company. I did look it up later – the hospital is in-network. But the hospital didn’t process my bill with insurance. So now they want $1600. I suppose that’s the rent for sitting in the ER for six hours. It can’t possibly be the actual charge for a tray of betadine, a hit of lidocaine and seven stitches.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I am better versed. Have I neglected to mention that in real-life I am an insurance agent? I hope we can still be friends.

      I am not at all surprised about the $1600 ER chair rental, and that probably doesn’t even include the security deposit.

      Like

  6. mistyslaws says:

    “Please hold the line . . . your call is very important to us . . . a representative, er advocate will be with you shortly . . . HOLD MUSIC . . . . . . . . . ”

    Click.

    “Please hold the line . . . your call is very important to us . . . a representative, er advocate will be with you shortly . . . HOLD MUSIC . . . . . . . . . ”

    After 3 days . . . “Hello? Yes, how may I help you? Oh, I’m sorry, that’s not my department. Let me transfer you to small claims . . . . . ”

    Click.

    “Please hold the line . . . your call is very important to us . . . a representative, er advocate will be with you shortly . . . HOLD MUSIC . . . “

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      But we don’t mind any of that waiting because we know, deep down in our hearts, that our call is very important to them. Kinda brings a tear to the eye, don’t it?

      Like

  7. I do hope “little accident” wasn’t euphemish and that it was indeed little and that you’re on the mend.

    The updated header made sense after I started reading the post. I was all like, “Huh? Is that blood? What?!?” Then I laughed.

    I was on hold for my cable company customer advocate the other day and one of the several paranoid conspiracy theories I developed in that harrowing fifteen minutes was that I was being brainwashed with subliminal messages in the motivational hold music or they were hoping to sedate me.

    Like

  8. Yikes… I’m not sure what sounds more painful – severe laceration or ‘your call is important to us’!
    CLASSIC video, Peg! Always makes me laugh… and a bit woozy. Which probably isn’t good… I hope I don’t pass out in my ‘Super Bass-o-Matic ’76’… I guess I should call it in before I even consider adjusting the control dial so that bass is blended just the way I like it….
    🙂

    Like

  9. Audrey says:

    Well at least in lieu of your advocate you had the soothing smooth jazz of the on-hold music to lull into a false sense of security, right?

    Like

  10. And here I am…bugging you with emails. Sit down, Peg! Put your feet up. Hold you hand above your head, I’ll go get you a bandage and some orange juice! What kind of music are they playing now? is it Rick Astley?

    Like

  11. Elyse says:

    OK, Peg, this is one of the best. And really, I’m not sucking up to you. Or not a lot, anyway. This had me snorting cantaloupe and not in a good way.

    The header is inspired, too.

    Dare I say it? It should be …

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks! Now that you mention it, there IS a place on WordPress where people can suggest such a thing to the powers that be, not that I’m hinting that YOU would do THAT about THIS post….

      Like

      • Elyse says:

        There is? You know I may have finally found a way to make money blogging!

        Like

        • pegoleg says:

          There’s a nickel in this deal for you, Elyse. We’re talking good cash money.

          Like

          • Elyse says:

            That’s about 5x what the ads garner, isn’t it? (I don’t have them cause I figure that earning a dime for each post is hardly worth the effort!)

            Like

        • pegoleg says:

          A dime a post? I can only DREAM about such bounty. I have never seen a single, solitary penny from that ad at the bottom. I indicated to the WP ad department that I was willing to use up to 85% of my blog space for ads to generate a little revenue, but they haven’t taken me up on the offer. Not enough visitors, apparently. Le sigh.

          Like

          • Elyse says:

            ! That’s why I never bothered. See my email about contacting them. I will have to see what I can do from home. Not that they’ve ever listened to me.

            Like

  12. Dana says:

    Marty and I are petrified of something happening to us while we are visiting the States. Even though we purchased comprehensive travel insurance before we left, we both know that if anything severe happens to us (knock on wood), Plan A is to boot it back to Canada, pronto! I can’t figure out the insurance system here and REALLY HOPE I don’t ever have to.

    But Canada isn’t the be-all, end-all, either. I’ve spent 4 days on hold with the Residential Tenancy Office before, and the national cable company also has a top-notch pre-recorded loop that can entertain you during the 18 hours you spend with the phone cradled against your ear, waiting to speak with a real person who can fix your internet.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Wait, Dana – don’t knock on that wood! What if you get a splinter? Embedded Splintricular Objects are specifically excluded on page 93, paragraph 2, subsection 7a of your travel accident policy.

      Like

  13. Pingback: Your Customer Advocate Will Now Give You A Blindfold And A Cigarette | FiftyFourandAHalf

  14. musabee says:

    I still haven’t stopped laughing.

    Like

  15. List of X says:

    “If you can’t afford an attorney, a customer advocate will be provided to you free of charge…”

    Like

  16. Go Jules Go says:

    ha ha ha ha The header! The header!! I bow to you, Peggles. Also I read in response to “Debbie” (Hippie) that you took some poetic license re: your “injury,” which I’m glad to hear. I can’t even get an advocate on the phone to help me fix my Keurig coffee machine. Heaven help me if I spill any on my lap…

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I had to call my credit card company today. I wasn’t on hold long, and they were very polite, but the rehearsed “I am so sorry for your inconvenience” every 2 minutes STILL got on my nerves. May I recommend McDonald’s coffee while your Keurig is on the fritz?

      Like

  17. Carrie Rubin says:

    Dealing with one’s insurance company is the quickest way to spike one’s blood pressure to dangerous levels. Of this I’m convinced…

    Like

  18. mercyn620 says:

    I know what’s going on. That idealistic consumer advocate was fired/downsized recently and they have not changed the recording. Your call is being forwarded to a help desk in India. Those employees are still being trained. Stay tuned…

    Like

  19. Tar-Buns says:

    Can you say irritating? Frustrating? Mind-numbing inefficiencies???
    Love the dressed header, dahling!
    PS – see you Sunday for the parade!

    Like

  20. Kudos on the post and of course, the header. You could have taken the easy way out and just put a blindfold on one of those damn dirty apes and scribbled a Marlboro dangling from his mouth, but you stepped up and drew an apron and blood! Then again, sitting on hold for hours and hours gave you plenty of time for ape adornment.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Good idea. I did consider that I hadn’t tied in to the title anywhere in the post, but I was in the mood for an apron. And as mentioned, I had plenty of doodle time.

      Like

  21. It wasn’t “Cuss Homer. Ads for Kate”? (You weren’t accidentally on some weird phone conversation by mistake? – oh, sorry, that couldn’t be. Those call would probably be answered right away….Insurance companies, on the other hand, do have a good amount of customer cussing….)

    Like

  22. Your awesome header made me think of one of Dante’s rings of hell. Is it getting hot in here or have I just been on hold for 3 days?

    Like

  23. dorannrule says:

    Hilarious but sadly true. Whatever happened to REAL customer service?

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      I have to laugh when I see big companies touting how you’ll get a hold of a live body when you call them – like it’s a wonderful new thing! Which it is, when you consider where we’ve come to.

      Like

  24. Al says:

    To the heirs of Peg-o-leg. If you read this, please accept my condolences on Peg’s recent demise. In her sweet naivete, she trusted “the man” to be there in her hour of need. Perhaps you can take some solace in the fact that she became famous as the first official victim of Obamacare death panels. Perhaps there is a book deal in there somewhere that will ease the financial pain.

    I will miss her blogs…..along that line, if you could let her many followers know that I was her second favorite blog (after her own, of course), I would appreciate it. Oh, and also, my wife loved those little red shoes…….

    Like

  25. Only you could make an episode like this so hilarious!

    Like

  26. Lenore Diane says:

    I cut myself making a pizza once. I don’t do knives anymore. I’m afraid I’ll cut it again, and well – I lost so much blood while on hold the first time, I need not do it again.
    The header… how do you do that? You are so very clever, all while bleeding to death, too.

    Like

  27. pattisj says:

    Is that a machete you’re carrying in the header? You DID say a small scratch…?

    Like

  28. I do hope this was indeed a small (tiny) kitchen accident and that you recovered while on hold. They lulled you into a false sense of security, they roped you in didn’t they?

    The reality? That Advocate thing? It is a title, they give them that to make them feel good about themselves while paying them a pittance. It has nothing to do with you, sorry.

    Love your header! You are brilliant.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Thanks Valentine! Another company I call says “please hold for our customer service AGENT” accent added by me. I’ve asked them before, “are you really an agent? Because I am, and there is some training and licensing involved. Did you go through that?” You can hear the blankness through the phone wires.

      Like

  29. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    I spent a day’s worth of calories yesterday waiting to get ahold of someone at my mortgage company – listened to 15,000 automated selections – we were all the way up to, “Press 256T to speak to someone about …” when I finally heard the selection I wanted. Maddening, just maddening.

    I think a well-stocked First Aid Kit is essential. And First Aid Kit is a euphemism for “don’t ever expect to see or speak to a health professional.”

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      Is there anything more frustrating than corporate phone systems? I know it’s a bit sick, but I often wonder if somebody calling the Suicide Prevention Hotline gets to wander around in those until they’re SURE to pull the trigger.

      A First Aid Kit is essential. I also invested in the game “Operation”. Under Obamacare, that little function is sure to become do-it-yourself.

      Like

  30. Sandy Sue says:

    Save the liver!

    Like

  31. Calling insurance companies always stinks. Always. When I was younger, I worked in a pharmacy and we always had to call insurance. It was awful.

    Like

    • pegoleg says:

      You think it’s bad now? I just got done with a webinar on upcoming changes due to Obamacare and I am so depressed I’ve got to be careful around sharp objects. America is SO screwed.

      Like

  32. Laura says:

    I’m always suspicious of an “advocate” on the payroll of the company they’re supposed to be advocating to. But I guess that doesn’t matter if they don’t even answer the phone.

    Like

  33. Pingback: The 3 Most Powerful Letters In The English Language | Peg-o-Leg's Ramblings

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