Saturday, September 8, 2012

Retirement Peeves — Phrases I’m Tired of Hearing

Now that I’m retired, I see too much daytime television and am home for too many marketing calls. I’ve noticed there are certain phrases I hear over and over. Quite frankly, I’ve had enough of them. I’ve decided to collect them in this post and burn the paper they’re printed on. (Yes, I print these posts, as part of the editing process.) Maybe that will enable me to purge them from my subconscious. Or not.

The absolute favorite phrase I love to hate is: “Don’t hang up!” It’s usually followed by something like: “I have a special offer for [insert captive audience criterion here].” “Medicare recipients” is a popular one. “Homeowners” is a vague generic that's used often.

A variation on the don’t-hang-up is: “Please hold for an important message from your credit card provider. Don’t worry, there’s nothing wrong with your account.” I usually catch that last phrase as I return the phone to its stand. I assume the next mouthful would have been an offer of identity theft protection, pitched with: “But you never know when you WILL have a problem.” I am so NOT motivated by scare tactics.

Another near the top of my hate list is the ubiquitous infomercial mantra: “But wait! There’s more!” More indeed. There’s always more. And more, and more. Usually an offer to get two of the wondrous item for the same price as one, plus the extra shipping and handling. S&H is always extra. And exorbitant. If the amount appears at all, it’s in mice type rolling by so fast, you can’t read it. Unlike the toll free number in monster type that’s parked on the bottom of the screen.

Similar to wait-there’s-more is: “But first, these messages.” We hear this on “serious” programming almost as much as on fluff. The more irritating the commercial, the more likely it interrupted something so interesting that you’re guaranteed to stay put so you don’t miss the continuation when the ad ends. You’ll pee in your pants before you cut out on a first-these-messages sandwiched between two parts of a spellbinding story. So cruel, especially at my age.

“Congratulations! You have been selected…” I’ve already hung up before I hear what I’ve “won.” But based on the snail mail I get, I’m sure it’s either a trip somewhere, or a free dinner if I’m willing to sit through a sales pitch on investing for my retirement. I’m not. Newsflash! I’m already in my retirement. And the last trip my husband and I took (not counting for business) was our honeymoon.

These are all phrases from robocalls and TV. There are also many that I hear from friends and family that I’d just as soon not. My favorites among these are: “Do you have a minute?” and “Am I interrupting?” You just know that “a minute” is guaranteed to stretch into an hour. Likewise that even if they are interrupting, it won’t matter. If you dare say: “Yes, you are,” they’ll launch into their saga anyway. Chances are they have a problem that will leave you depressed for days.

Another one I hate to hear coming is: “Stop me if I’ve already told you this…” It means they can’t remember whom they’ve told what lately. I feel their pain. The truth is, even if they have told me, chances are I’m not going to remember anyway. So we do this dance, with me an equal partner, going ‘round and ‘round, telling each other the same stories over and over. That’s what friends are for.

The final two phrases I hate to hear from friends and family (and doctors, accountants and Realtors) are ones that I can’t really blame them for. The first is: “This probably isn’t what you were hoping to hear.” At its worst, this is followed by bad news about one’s health. Fortunately for me, more common is something about my taxes or feedback on our house (when it was on the market). Once I reached retirement, I lowered the bar on what I “hope to hear.” It’s far less stressful.

The other one I dislike, for which I have only myself to blame, is: “Where was the last place you remember having it?” I’m sure that’s familiar to many of you. The reason I hate hearing this, other than the obvious, is that, if I could remember the last place I had the item, I could probably find it myself.

No doubt you have your own phrases you love to hate. Feel free to share them. If I get enough, I’ll do another post on this topic, titled (what else?) “But wait! There’s more!”

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