Dear Abby: You wrote that you know of no one who actually enjoys transacting business with a computer.

Well, you do now; I am one.Maybe it's a sign of my generation (I'm 26), but I think automated telephone systems are fun. If I had a choice between getting a person or a computer to take care of my business, I'd choose the computer every time. It's very efficient, and I don't have to worry about being put on "hold" or dealing with a rude customer service representative.

I realize that not everyone can adapt to this type of technological leap, but I appreciate getting lots of information without saying a word. However, I think businesses need to accommodate customers who prefer to talk with a real person. Sign this . . .

- Press 5 to Repeat

Dear Press 5: Perhaps it's generational, but I confess that I am among those who become confused when I hear prerecorded instructions. However, more people wrote favoring automated systems than knocking them. Read on:

Dear Abby: I have a couple of thoughts after reading "Frustrated Fran's" letter about automated answering systems. Automated systems are, admittedly, far more economical than employing a slew of live operators full time.

There are two ways companies can relieve the frustration of voice mail. The first is used by many firms that offer the caller the opportunity to speak to a live operator by pressing "0" if he/she cannot figure out how to get a satisfactory result from the menu options.

The second solution is one I have encountered less often but is a real help. The recording gives an estimate of how long it will be before callers get through to the party or extension they seek. This provides the option of hanging up and calling again if the wait is longer than desired.

By utilizing either of these options, a company can markedly reduce the frustration that sometimes results from an encounter with a computer. I hope that corporate America will take this to heart.

- Burke Belknap,

Oceanside, Calif.

Dear Burke: At the risk of appearing cynical, let's not hold our breath until corporate America feels it deeply enough in the pocketbook to take it to heart.

Dear Abby: You recently printed a letter from an older woman who still regretted her long-lost romance, and correctly signed it "Stupid in California."

She should have been advised: "Things usually turn out best for those who make the best of the way things turn out."

Also remember, "You may not be able to turn back the clock, but you can always wind it up again."

- Bill Staun, Cincinnati


There is one fault that I must find

With the 20th century,

And I'll put it in a couple of words:

Too adventury.

What I'd like would be some nice full monotony

If anyone's gotony.

- Ogden Nash (1902-1971)

Abby shares more of her favorite, easy-to-prepare recipes. To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $3.95 ($4.50 in Canada) to: Dear Abby, More Favorite Recipes, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)

1996 Universal Press Syndicate



All of the Dear Abby columns since 1988 are available online. Search for "DEAR ABBY" in the Lifestyle section and the Deseret News archives.