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The last auction hero: Gene takes on eBay


(Eric Shansby)

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By Gene Weingarten
Sunday, November 21, 2010

This column was written entirely while on hold with eBay customer service.

John: My name is John. What is the nature of your problem?

Me: The nature of my problem is that I've been on hold for one hour and 11 minutes, listening to staticky Beethoven. Every 30 seconds a woman's voice has told me the call was important to her and then a man's voice has told me that someone will be with me "in just a moment." So eBay has been serially lying to me four times a minute for a total of 284 lies. It was in the middle of the 285th lie when you picked up and told me your name was John, which I am thinking, from your voice, is a 286th lie.

John: My name is really John.

Me: Where are you, John?

John: San Jose.

Me: I don't think so.

John: We are located in San Jose.

Me: You are not. Admit it.

John: Okay. We are an offshore center. Calls are routed through San Jose.

Me: Two hundred eighty-six!

John: How may I help you?


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