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Grizzly bear stories: a phone call to Apple

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Recently, I spent four days trying to figure out how to activate my new iPhone 5. I’m not a very technology-savvy fellow, but I am extraordinarily stubborn, particularly when I know that asking for help will involve having to follow a robot’s instructions for a while, pressing a series of buttons, and sitting through a lengthy holding period before I actually reach a human being. But yesterday, I finally caved: I talked to a robot. I pressed buttons. I sat on hold for a while. And then Danielle from Apple was very helpful and got me up and running. The following is a completely factual account of what might have happened if Danielle had not been working, and had been replaced by a grizzly bear.


BEAR: Thank you for holding and welcome to Apple. This call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes. My name is Monty and I’m a bear. How can I help you today?

ME: Yeah, hi Monty. Did you just say you’re a bear?

BEAR: Yes.

ME: Okay, and what do you mean by that?

BEAR: Just that I’m a bear, sir.

ME: Yeah, but like, what does that mean?

BEAR: That’s it. It means just what it sounds like.

ME: Okay. But, like… what?

BEAR: Perhaps I can explain it differently: are you a human?

ME: Yes.

BEAR: Well I’m a bear.

ME: Oh. (Lengthy pause.) And you work at Apple?

BEAR: Yes sir, they’re an Equal Opportunity Employer.

ME: Huh. Yes, I suppose they are.

BEAR: Now how can I be of service today?

ME: Alright, well here’s the basic situation: I’m trying to activate my iPhone 5, but in order to do that it’s saying I need to have iTunes 10.7 installed on my computer, but my computer won’t install iTunes 10.7 until I have the Mountain Lion operating system, but I can’t download the Mountain Lion operating system until I have the Lion Operating system, which I don’t have and which I believe you guys no longer offer, which doesn’t make much sense to me, but there it is.

BEAR: Yes.

ME: Hello?

BEAR: Yes, hello. Okay I’m going to need to get the serial number from your device. Could you provide me with that number, sir?

ME: I’m not sure. There are a few numbers on the back of the phone and I’m not sure which one’s the serial number.

BEAR: The serial number isn’t on the back of the phone.

ME: Oh.

(A few seconds pass.)

ME: Hello?

BEAR: Yes, hello. The serial number is located in the “Settings” menu, and then you go to “General,” and then go to “About,” and scroll down.

ME: Okay, one second.

BEAR: Okay.

ME: Okay it’s A, S, P, 4, 2–

BEAR: (interrupts) Wait, sir, what was the third letter again?

ME: Oh, sorry. It was a P, as in “please.”

BEAR: Okay and is that “please” like, “yes, please,” or “pleas,” like a synonym for “requests?”

ME: Does it matter? They both start with a P.

BEAR: Yes, but in the interest of thoroughness sir, we like to–

ME: How does that make it more or less thorough? You only need the first letter.

BEAR: Well as I explained, sir, this call may be recorded for quality assurance purposes so I want to be sure that we’re on the same pa–

ME: But it doesn’t matter.

BEAR: But sir, here at Apple we strive to–

ME: Alright, alright, Jesus Christ. It was a P as in “population.” Does that work?

BEAR: Yes that’s quite better, sir. Please continue.

ME: Okay after the P, it was 4, 2–

BEAR: No, sir, I mean please continue explaining the first situation. Originally, sir, did you mean the term representative of politeness or the plural noun of a beggar?

ME: Oh my god, fine. The word I used was spelled P-L-E-A-S-E — Please. Are we clear now?

BEAR: Yes, quite clear on the spelling now, sir. But “please” can be used as an adverb, as in, “Please pass the potatoes, Patricia,” or as a verb, as in, “Patricia, your passing of the potatoes pleases me.” Which did you mean?

(A few seconds pass.)

BEAR: Hello?

ME: Dude, are you shitting me right now?

BEAR: Sir, if you could refrain from using foul lang–

ME: Neither, okay? Neither! I didn’t use it in a sentence, I just said the word!

BEAR: Yes sir, but in the interest of thoroughness, I’d prefer to make sure we’re on the same page. So please sir, I plead you, just tell me–


Ian Micir is associate editor of When Falls the Coliseum. He graduated from Drexel University with a BA in English in June of 2012. During his time at Drexel, he won ten awards for writing, including five in his final year. Micir’s work has appeared in The 33rd – An Anthology and The Classical.

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