"Try Again Later""We regret to advise that the person at extension 4..2..6 is not at her station. Please leave a message or try calling again later." Later. "We're sorry, the person at...

"Try Again Later"
"We regret to advise that 
the person at extension 4..2..6 
is not at her station. 
Please leave a message 
or try calling again later."

Later. 
"We're sorry, the person at extension 4..2..6 
is not at her station. At the beep, you may: 
press 1 to leave a message, or 
press 2 for more options. 
Alternatively, you may wish to try calling again later."

"You have selected 2 -- "more options". 
Please press 3 to speak to an operator, or 4 to hold. 
Alternatively, you may wish to try calling again later."

"You have selected 3 -- to speak to an operator. 
We're sorry, all our operators are busy at the moment. 
Please hold the line and we will attend to you shortly. 
Alternatively, at the beep, you may: 
press 1 to leave a message, or 
press 2 if you wish to revert 
to your desired extension. 
Alternatively, you may wish to try calling again later."

"Hello, Operator?" 
"Yes?! Can I hep-chew?" 
"I am looking for Miss Mary Lim.." 
"What extension?" 
"Extension 426, but..." 
"Hold on ah"

"...We're sorry, 
the person at extension 4..2..6 
is not at her station. 
At the beep, you may: 
press 1 to leave a message, or 
press 2 for more options. 
Alternatively, you may wish to try calling again later."

1) Describe the language features of this poem. What is the effect of using these language features?
2) What do you think is the poet's intention for writing this poem? What message is she trying to convey?

4 Answers | Add Yours

mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

The annoying repetition of the recording which does nothing by frustrate the listener indicates the quandry created by such depersonalization.  There is no real response to the caller; no communication has been established.

lentzk's profile pic

Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

I definitely believe that the author's purpose in writing the poem was to create one of the most annoying poems ever.  Just reading it raised my hackles.  The poem really brings to life the impersonal nature of technology and phone service messages. 

tinicraw's profile pic

tinicraw | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

With reference to language, the impersonal computerized voice is clearly brought to the reader's attention with the elipsises separating the extention numbers. Digital reception is certainly frustrating. The pressing of numbers to make decisions is also not very personal either. It makes one hope that at some point, a human who understands the plight will answer and know how to help in a better way. Ironcially, that doesn't happen when the human actually answers and the viscious cycle continues. The poet's intention behind writing this poem has got to be to show the caller's frustration, but also to make human receptionists in this daily situation stop and think about what the caller had been going through before actually coming into contact with them.

pohnpei397's profile pic

pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that this is about the way in which technology can make our lives more frustrating.  Technology is supposed to be something that can help us and make life easier.  However, it is often used in ways that end up making things worse.  This is one such example since the person making the call is having his or her time wasted by the automated system (and by the heedlessness of the person who finally does answer the phone).

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