Government Reform

Press 1 for English, Press 0 and Holler "Operator" for a Human



Wondering how to get an actual human being without fighting your way down each branch of a phone tree? Check out Dial-A-Human, which lays out the proper sequence of buttons to push to get a human being as quickly as possible.

The most interesting, and often the most complex sequences: Government offices. My favorites include Department of Homeland Security/INS "Select language. Press 2 6 2 4. Press 0 at each prompt," the U.S. Postal Service " Press 5 4 2 2 at each prompt," and perhaps best of all, the IRS "Don't press or say anything."

Via the indispensable Lifehacker blog.

NEXT: If No One Ran From the Room Crying, He Wouldn't Be Doing His Job

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  1. I definitely could have used this knowledge when I was applying for my Green Card. INS kept me on hold waiting for a person for over an hour many times.

    …perhaps best of all, the IRS “Don’t press or say anything.”

    This describes how to deal with IRS agents as well. No sudden movements. No big words.

    At least the IRS gives you half decent classical music. The Canadian version plays *shudder* Bryan Adams.

  2. Katherine Mangu-Ward: thank you for failing to correct their mistake and pointing out that the INS hasn’t existed for over five years. Your relentless committment to accuracy on related topics is deeply appreciated.

  3. INS kept me on hold waiting for a person for over an hour many times

    The way ICE treats non-citizens is so unspeakably rude that it makes my blood boil. My ex-girlfriend’s stories of dealing with them made me embarrassed that these fucks are representing us to people who want to come here. ARRGGHHH

  4. Lifehacker has become a huge obsession of mine lately. I’m more productive than ever, but I waste SOOO much time becoming productive that its probably at best a wash.

  5. The way ICE treats non-citizens is so unspeakably rude that it makes my blood boil.

    It was definitely a strange experience to be treated as a presumed criminal until proven otherwise (something my white-ness and female-ness usually [unfairly] exempt me from).

  6. And when calling the FBI just call them and hang up. They know who you are and what you want.

  7. Getting to a human is not always helpful.

    I drilled through the phone tree to talk with a Verizon human. I wanted to change a feature on my phone. She ask me for the last 4 digits of my SSN as a security question. I told her. She told me I was wrong. I insisted. She told me I was wrong. I suggested that Verizon’s records might wrong as the result of improper data entry at the time I set up the account. She told me that was impossible.

    I called the California Board of Equalization (sales tax department) to find out why they stopped mailing me tax forms. The human told me that the BOE was mailing the forms. I told him that I was not getting them, but I did get other forms from the BOE. He told me that my mail carrier was to blame. I said, “huh”. “Do you want me to accuse my mail carrier of selectively throwing away certain mail from the BOE?”. He said “Yes, that is only reason you would not get the forms.”

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