Created By: SpiderRider3 on June 30, 2014 Last Edited By: SpiderRider3 on January 29, 2015
Troped

Ridiculously Long Phone Hold

A character is placed on hold for an excessive amount of time.

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Trope

When calling a business, or any person who might receive a high volume of calls, one can expect to need to wait for an operator to become available. Sometimes, if there are few operators available, too many incoming calls, or both, a character can be left waiting for quite a while. These wait times may feel like hours in real life, but fictional wait times can take days to really drive the point home. During this time, a recording will almost always remind the caller that "Your call is important to us" and ask them to continue holding.

Sometimes, a character may be placed on hold by the person they have called. Usually they will leave the phone or forget about it entirely.

Sub trope of For Inconvenience, Press "1".


Examples

Advertising
  • One commercial has a lady call an office after getting out of bed in the morning. A recording repeatedly asks her to continue to hold as she goes about her day. Just before she goes to bed that evening, the recording says that their offices are now closed and to call back tomorrow.

Comics
  • Zits has a story where Jeremy calls a company and is told "please hold while we jack you around from department to department." He declares that it's nice to see some corporate honesty.
  • Sherman's Lagoon has a storyline where Sherman is on hold for days.

Live-Action TV
  • Mr. Moseby calls tech support in an episode of The Suite Life on Deck. He's put on hold overnight and wears a headset so that he can perform his duties on the ship while holding. The call is eventually answered by Zack and Cody, who are visiting a call center while the ship is in port.
  • Friends. In "The One with the Screamer", Phoebe spends several days on hold (on Monica's phone) with a company she needs to talk to before her phone warranty expires.
  • Seinfeld. Kramer rages war with the cable company, after they made him wait all day for an appointment years before. When the cable guy phone's Kramer to access his apartment, Kramer excuses himself and puts him on hold — complete with a tape recorder playing elevator music. Fade to the cable guy at the payphone, checking his watch, when Kramer finally rides by in a taxi to taunt.
  • In I Love Lucy, Lucy calls Ricky and has him stay on hold while she goes from downtown to their apartment so that Mrs. Hansen can't call and ask him about the check she gave her on the dress shop he doesn't know she and Ethel bought.
  • In one episode of The West Wing, Josh is put on hold when trying to find out when the power to the polling phone bank will come back on.
    "I'm on hold. I'm on hold. I'm in some kind of hellish hold world of holding."
  • Downplayed in an episode of The Office (US) where Dwight and Jim team up to make a sale. Dwight uses the phone at the beginning of the meeting and places it on stand by while Jim pitches the sale. Once Jim finishes, he reveals they've been on hold with customer service with one of the big name companies this entire time. They then call up Kelly (their customer service) to show that Dunder Mifflin has superior service.
  • The sideplot of one episode of Married... with Children concerns Al on the phone with an auto parts store, in one case being one one phone call for days.

Newspaper Comics
  • Get Fuzzy. Invoked in a 2005 story arc, in which Rob attempts to get in touch with Dull Computer customer support. At one point during his call, he's placed on hold for hours — so many hours, in fact, that he can't make dinner, and has Satchel order pizza for the night. Meanwhile, at Dull Computers, a few customer service reps boast about their personal records of keeping customers on hold, ranging from three hours to five hours, to one guy who still has a customer on hold as they speak.

Web Original
  • There are various spoof "On hold" messages on YouTube designed to be played to telemarketers when they call. Most of them provide an estimated wait time that's in days or months.
    • This one tells the telemarketer their call may have been forgotten, and to continue holding until someone remembers they're still on hold.

Western Animation
  • The Powerpuff Girls. In "Telephonies," the Gangreen Gang makes prank calls to various different Townsville citizens. Lil' Arturo convinces Professor Utonium, he just won a ten-million-dollar sweepstake and asks him to remain on hold, which Professor does for the rest of the episode, despite Arturo hanging up.
  • On American Dad!, Roger and Steve call a company to complain about a shoddy novelty product they bought. They are left on hold for what is implied to be days, only to be transferred to voice mail.
  • In The Simpsons episode where the family goes to Australia, Bart calls a boy in Australia to ask which direction the water in the sink is flowing. The boy has to check with his neighbour who lives many miles away, so he places Bart on hold and spends half the day visiting his neighbor and going back to answer the question.

Real Life
  • A common tactic when people are cold called is to say "just wait a minute" and then leave the phone indefinitely, with the caller holding until they realize no one is coming back.
  • One guy who called Comcast to cancel his service was placed on hold for 3 hours, after which their call centers closed.
Community Feedback Replies: 20
  • Western Animation
    • The Powerpuff Girls. In "Telephonies," the Gangreen Gang keep making prank calls to various different Townsville citizens, including Professor Utonium, whom Lil' Arturo convinces he just won a ten-million-dollar sweepstake, and asks him to remain on hold, which Professor does for the rest of the episode, despite Arturo hanging up.
  • June 30, 2014
    foxley
    • Friends: In "The One with the Screamer", Phoebe spends several days on hold (on Monica's phone) with a company she needs to talk to before her phone warranty expires.
  • June 30, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 1, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Added a space between *'s and the first word following them.
      • Namespaced work name(s).
  • July 1, 2014
    henke37
    We need a picture of a skeleton with a phone.
  • July 1, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ loool.
  • July 1, 2014
    bitemytail
    ^^ Just do a google search for 'on hold forever' and click image search. There's tons of those
  • July 1, 2014
    bitemytail
    Caption for image should be "Your call is important to us. Please hold."
  • July 1, 2014
    ZuTheSkunk
    • In one episode of Life With Louie, Ora (the mother of the main character) calls the camp where Louie is on a vacation, since she wants to talk to him. Due to the fact that Louie is currently on a trip through the forest, and a troubled one at that, the woman who receives the call tells Ora that it might take some time before he can come to the phone. Ora says that she will wait anyway, possibly spending a few hours just sitting at the phone. The episode's stinger is Louie's dad receiving an absurdly high phone bill.
  • July 1, 2014
    CatAna
    A common tactic when people are cold called is to say "just wait a minute" and then leave the phone, call still in service.
  • July 2, 2014
    AP
    • Downplayed in an episode of The Office US where Dwight and Jim team up to make a sale. Dwight uses the phone at the beginning of the meeting and places it on stand by while Jim pitches the sale. Once Jim finishes, he reveals they've been on hold with customer service with one of the big name companies this entire time. They then call up Kelly (their customer service) to show that Dunder Mifflin has superior service.
  • July 3, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    In I Love Lucy, Lucy calls Ricky and has him stay on hold while she goes from downtown to their apartment so that Mrs. Hansen can't call and ask him about the check she gave her on the dress shop he doesn't know she and Ethel bought.
  • Live Action TV
    • Seinfeld. Kramer rages war with the cable company, after they made him wait all day for an appointment years before. When the cable guy tries to gain access to Kramer's apartment through a phone call, but Kramer excuses himself and puts him on hold - complete with a tape recorder playing elevator music. Fade to the cable guy at the payphone, checking his watch, when Kramer finally rides by in a taxi to taunt.

    Newspaper Comics
    • Get Fuzzy. Invoked in a 2005 story arc, in which Rob attempts to get in touch with Dull Computer customer support: at one point during his call, he's placed on hold for hours - so many hours, in fact, that he can't make dinner, and has Satchel order pizza for the night. Meanwhile, at Dull Computers, a few customer service reps boast about their personal records of keeping customers on hold, ranging from three hours to five hours, to one guy who still has a customer on hold as they speak. And whenever Rob isn't on hold, he's bounced around from one department to another.
  • July 6, 2014
    SKJAM
    The "customer leaves phone on indefinite hold to punish cold caller" variant was in a Mad Magazine article, if we need it to be media.

    May involve the phrase "your call is important to us."
  • July 7, 2014
    eowynjedi
    • In one episode of The West Wing, Josh is put on hold when trying to find out when the power to the polling phone bank will come back on.
      "I'm on hold. I'm on hold. I'm in some kind of hellish hold world of holding."
  • July 7, 2014
    Chernoskill
    In the Simpsons episode where the family goes to Australia, Bart calls a boy in Australia to ask which direction the water in the sink is flowing. The boy has to check with his neighbour's, who lives many miles away, so he places Bart on hold and spends half the day visiting his neighbor and going back to answer the question.
  • October 19, 2014
    CaveCat
    • Jon Arbuckle from Garfield sometimes falls victim to this when trying to ask women out on a date.
  • October 23, 2014
    randomsurfer
    The B-plot of one episode of Married With Children concerns Al on the phone with an auto parts store, combining being on hold forever with Voicemail Hell. He's one phone call literally for days.
  • October 23, 2014
    PistolsAtDawn
  • October 23, 2014
    AmbarSonofDeshar
    • Zits has a story where Jeremy calls a company and is told "please hold while we jack you around from department to department." He declares that it's nice to see some corporate honesty.
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