International language breakdown irritates Blue Line riders

My daughter shares this annoying Tattler Tale:

I was riding the Blue Line during morning rush to school, which actually seems more crowded than Red Line lately — even worse

This guy was on his speaker phone trying to use an international calling card. But because he was in the tunnel, he obviously wasn’t able to connect the call.

He just kept trying over and over to complete this call, and over and over this irritating automated menu message kept asking him to put in his card number and subsequently, “Sorry, your call cannot be connected at this time, please try again in a few minutes. Your remaining balance for this call is $2.55.”

But he would just do it again, over and and over.

He was screaming at the menu, too:

“WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?!?” he screamed in broken English. In his own language he was cursing the menu voice.

It was so annoying, and everybody on the car was literally grimacing and mouthing “what the fuck!”

Nobody had the balls to tell him that he was stupid and that his
international phone call wouldn’t work underground. And thus we all had
to suffer.


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  • I love when the train enters the tunnel & the idiots on their phones lose the signal & you sit there watching them just stare at the phone, often for several minutes, like that's going to get the signal back.
    Oh, how did they ever exist before they had a phone?

  • Yes. I was agreeing with the story until I read glg's comment and remembered that CTA was leasing out its fiber optic system to cell phone companies. Thus, he wouldn't have had a signal only if his company was not one paying the CTA to carry its signal.

  • Regarding whether the guy lost his signal - it's my understanding that he could connect to the American phone company that was trying to make the international connection, and thus got notice of his balance, but could not make the final international connection.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    So, I guess that the "wouldn't work underground" comment is rescinded. He apparently was too stupid in another manner.

  • In reply to KevinO’Neil:

    Stupid applies mostly to the companies that won't provide service to their customers due to failure to play nicely together. I find it hard to blame people who get steamed at such incompetence. This is why I stopped using phone cards years ago. I had one from Illinois Bell/AT&T or whatever it called itself at the time, and for some reason I never understood, I couldn't place a call from an O'Hare pay phone to Mexico City to tell my sister my flight was delayed, and bill it to my home number. If it won't work at a really important time, what's the point? So, I wrote her a note and asked the (Mexican) airline to fax it, something they probably did many times a day anyway. Problem solved. If I ever need to make an international call now, I dial it from my landline. But e-mail is easier.

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