Ab y uL ytl oe Rm. Hai ltl ed Articulation  
t was a voice like none I had ever to eight weeks past due, kindly press  
“If you received correct material,  
heard before. It was not simply two. For orders that are now nine to 24 but believe it is for someone else’s job,  
pleasing, but beautiful. Yet even weeks past due, gently press three. If please make arrangements to deliver it  
the word beautifulwas not descriptive you can’t remember when you placed to them as soon as possible and at your  
enough. It was . . . celestial.Yes, that’s it your order, but believe that George W. cost. Otherwise late charges may apply.  
. . celestial.  
Welcome to the friendly world of president at the time, softly press four.” cated incorrectly, fix it, and install it as  
Velocity Metals, your quality metal Now I should have pressed two, but soon as possible. We realize that this  
supplier,” the angelic voice began, curiosity overtook me. I wanted to may slow down your billings on the job,  
where your complete satisfaction is know what she would say to a poor guy so press five to explain how you intend  
our only goal.” who’d been waiting for his material to pay us on time.”  
The calm serenity of her voice had since the Bush administration. I think “If you can’t identify the material  
Bush—either one—may have been If the material you received was fabri-  
a soothing, almost hypnotic effect on he received my note, but it’s been a few you received, we probably can’t either,  
me. It was a good thing, too, because years now.With a slight pang of guilt, I so cut it up and sell it for scrap and  
once again the mortals at Velocity had pressed four.  
send us the money. Press six to make  
“We are oh so sorry for any inconve- payment arrangements.”  
The list of options continued endlessly.  
fouled up an important order for one  
of our best customers. The specifica- nience we may have caused you,” she  
tion on the job allowed only for Veloc- said with heavenly cadence. “When Yes, it did seem that my quality metal  
ity products. This particularly critical your quality metal supplier does not supplier knew the business well, as I  
order was now six weeks overdue, and deliver on time, we feel your pain. But had experienced each and every option  
I had been steaming while dialing Ve- remember, a million people will go mentioned at some point in my dealings  
locity’s number. But now the ethereal to bed hungry tonight in third world with them.At last, though, the voice that  
quality of her timbre was starting to countries around the world, so who are belonged to my new best friend gave  
overcome my anger.  
you to get upset about a little old alu- me one final choice: “If you are now as  
clueless as we are as to what happened to  
I wiped a small tear from my eye your order,press 138,”she said.  
“If you’d like to place an order, please minum order?”  
press one,”she said.“For product infor-  
mation, press two. For technical assis- and wondered how I could possibly be  
tance, press three. To review the status angry with this warm, compassionate waited.  
of an existing order, press four.” creature. Of course she was right. The  
“For the Dial-A-Prayer Hotline,press  
She must be an angel, I thought. world has more pressing problems to one.”  
I pressed the three numbers and  
Human beings never sound this good. worry about than my aluminum order.  
She could probably read the city- What a lovely person she must be.  
by-city weather report from today’s  
newspaper to me and I wouldn’t mind. ued,“and select the proper response:  
“To hear a reading of movie reviews  
from movies playing in your area,press  
“Please listen carefully,” she contin- two.”  
“For great ideas on what excuse to  
But, alas, I needed some answers, so I If you have received correct material, give your customer about their lost  
quickly pressed four.  
but in the wrong color, press one;  
but the right color, press two;  
order, press three.”  
I slipped my shoes off,leaned back in  
my chair and pressed two. n  
“Your order is important to us,” the If you received incorrect material,  
angel continued.“We will always do our  
best to deliver the highest-quality prod- If you have not yet received any  
ucts on time, every time.After all, that’s  
why we’re your quality metal supplier.  
We have even developed this high-tech  
automated communication system to  
keep you informed of your job’s prog-  
ress through our high-speed, state-of-  
the-art manufacturing facility.”  
She continued, “For orders that are  
now four weeks or less past due, lightly  
press one. For orders that are now five  
material, press three and go to  
our excuse menu. Please enter  
the first four letters of the ex-  
cuse you expect us to give you  
followed by the pound sign. If  
you’re unsure of what excuse  
may apply this time, please  
enter the first four letters of the  
excuse we gave you last time,  
followed by the pound sign.  
L y l e R . H i l l is the managing  
director of Keytech North America,  
a company providing research and  
technical services for the glass and  
metal industry. Hill has more than  
40 years’ experience in the glass  
and metal industry and can be reached at You can read his blog every  
other Monday at  
USGlass, Metal & Glazing | August 2016