back to article Must listen: We've found the real Bastard Operator From Hell

Nobody likes having to deal with cold calls to the office. But when you're manning the IT help desk, you have no choice but to pick up the phone – even when it's a pushy sales pitch. So what to do about those annoying calls from over-enthusiastic sales staff itching to shift their technology wares? One spectacularly …


  1. Alan Sharkey

    I love it. I couldn't listen to the recording for more than about 30 seconds. Well done.

    1. tony2heads

      Anyone that can stand 10 seconds or more

      must be tone deaf or totally deaf. That noise is truly nasty.

      1. Daniel B.

        Re: Anyone that can stand 10 seconds or more

        I did manage to listen 2 full minutes of this ... but that was because I was laughing my ass off and couldn't reach the laptop.

    2. FozzyBear Silver badge

      Only way to improve this

      Is have the phone system grab their caller ID and call back a couple of times as further punishment

      1. enormous c word

        Re: Only way to improve this

        Oh this is just so brilliant, I'm now really looking forward to my next nuisance call...

    3. tommy_qwerty

      The longer you listen, the funnier it gets...

      You're missing out by not listening to it to the end. No, nothing really changes, you'll just laugh more.

    4. WalterAlter

      Fucking Awesome

      Dudes, that was some of the best edgiest intense noiz jam audio collage I've ever heard. Someone has a career waiting in the wings.

      1. whileI'mhere

        Re: Fucking Awesome

        "Someone has a career waiting in the wings."

        Yes. Yes, they do.

        This is art. In Tate Modern it would have strokey-beard critic types .... well, stroking their beards.

  2. Ugotta B. Kiddingme

    <standing ovation>

    Oh, bravo! With pub o'clock in two hours, this has made my Friday. Thank you! </standing ovation>

    1. BillG Silver badge

      Re: <standing ovation>

      That was bloody awful. It's my new ringtone.

  3. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    That is bloody brilliant! It has thoroughly cheered me up. It is almost as bad as the "Share and Enjoy" song sung by robots with their voice boxes exactly one flattened fifth out of tune. I'll certainly raise a glass to this

  4. Justin Clift


    If they offer this "as a Service", it'd be awesome.

    Everyone could feed their incoming sales calls directly to Hell that way. :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: HaaS!

      Most impressive. Everyone working together using a loose and evolving collection of engineering, – behavioral and organizational practices focused on going rapidly, safely, and sustainably from idea to customer / business value.” It's DevOps !

      At long last we have a case study of what a successful DevOps project can do ......send people to Hell.

  5. Mycho Silver badge

    I made it through 34 seconds. Do I win a prize?

    1. Shadow Systems Silver badge

      34 seconds? BAH! =-D

      I've got it playing in an endless loop in the background on my computer right now!

      I've been listening to it for at least the last hour, & TheVoicesInMyHead assure me it's the best thing they've heard on the radio in ages!


      1. el_oscuro

        Re: 34 seconds? BAH! =-D

        I managed about a minute but I had to turn the volume down. This is beautiful! I wish most projects had that kind of dedicated teamwork and inspiration. I guess it makes a big difference when you have a solid set of requirements that everyone believes in.

        The only problem is it is too bad, and most sales people will hang up after listening to it for 30 seconds. You want to waste as much of their time as possible. :) May I suggest a some Justin Bieber songs interspersed with the usual "your call is very important to us" bullshit and perhaps an evil wait time counter that slowly decreases but never actual hits zero. You might be able to keep one of them on hold for as much as 15 minutes, and even better - they will have that Justin Bieber song stuck in their head all day.

        Edit: Another evil post suggested you include lots of bad cell connection type crappyness. That is great! I am wondering if after a random value of 10-30 minutes, drop the the call. Be sure to proved the real number that connects to the extension so if they call back you won't be bothered.

        1. PNGuinn

          Far too lenient.

          Love it, but it'll only make the scumbag hang up quick.

          I prefer the idea described on el Reg recently where the caller is conned into hanging on as long as possible. (I loved the bee on my arm bit!).

          Modify the idea a bit to make it seem more appropriate to commercial environment ...

          Pass the call to a hold facility, choose the music carefully to annoy but to also encourage...

          Intersperse with random "helpful" announcements .... mention that all calls are recorded for "training and other" purposes <get all copyrights for call>....

          Add some juicy long ads for the Company's products ... or other "products"

          Include regular but random "countdown" advisories. You are now 9th in the queue .... 3rd ... 2nd ..."we're very sorry but your call has been jumped by a higher priority call ... please wait, your call is very important to us" ... 5th ... 4th .... "we hope you are enjoying our hold music ... please hold"... You are now number n (slight change & different voice to raise false hope) ...

          If you would like to change the hold music please press the #key ....Please hold while we choose some new hold music ... 10 seconds of silence .... please hold ... <loud crackle> <louder crackle> barely audible 'orrible music rising slowly ... please hold, your call ... 'More

          'orrible music now excessively loud and slightly distorted ... you are now n+4 in the queue ...

          After several minutes " If your call is really urgent you may like to call our high priority extension number 666" ...

          Please hold .... ....

          We seem to be having an unusual number of incoming calls at the moment, please hold ... your call is very important we're having extra resources installed to cope with the unprecedented demand .... If your call is really urgent you might wish to leave your details on our voicemail system. To do do press * now.

          <new music> Please hold ..... you are no 6 in a queue .... <3 mins later> we're sorry, due to unprecedented demand this facility is not available at the moment , press 3 to continue ... <original hold music>

          Now add some long random telephone trees to navigate and some auto answering / questioning with voice recognition which never QUITE gets the right answer but offers to escalate the caller to another queue where they will be able to speak with a real person ... (at an overseas call centre) ...

          Stuff the best ones somewhere on the company website as a deterrent ....

          You might like me if you met me socially ........

          1. Yag

            Re: Far too lenient.

            Sounds like any customer service hotline to me.

          2. Eltonga
            Thumb Up

            Re: Far too lenient.

            That will not only get you rid of sales callers. It will make them hate you too.

          3. annodomini2

            Re: Far too lenient.

            Add "System failure, reinitialising queue, you are now x in the queue"

  6. David Webb

    Am I the only one?

    Am I the only one that actually enjoyed that song, I thought it was really good and much better than anything on X-Idol-Voice-Talent-Thing, and Justin Beiber.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Am I the only one?

      I've never heard X-Idol-Voice-Talent-Thing or Justin Beiber. At least, not knowingly: I wouldn't have a clue if I did.

      But that track was a lot more entertaining than a lot of the pop that's all-too-regularly inflicted on us by the likes of the BBC. Most recently 'Prince'. When a star is celebrated, why can none of the fawning sycophants ever play us any track that varies in the slightest from a formulaic pop 4/4 allegro tedioso with all the musicality of a pneumatic drill? This track is rather fun by comparison.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only one?

        Most recently 'Prince'. When a star is celebrated, why can none of the fawning sycophants ever play us any track that varies in the slightest from a formulaic pop 4/4 allegro tedioso with all the musicality of a pneumatic drill?

        The reason they play so much of "The artist formerly known as alive" is not for your enjoyment, it's to milk the death for all it's worth as it's one last run at everything where fans will even buy the crud the artist made before they found the rhythm that made their fanbase and income.

        We've been having discussions here if someone is quietly assassinating the old guard to both boost sales as well as get rid of those who know how to negotiate a contract..

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Am I the only one?

        "...why can none of the fawning sycophants ever play us any track that varies in the slightest from a formulaic pop 4/4 allegro tedioso with all the musicality of a pneumatic drill?"

        Yeah, heaven forbid they might do a Led Zepplin style thing with 7/8 time or anything.

        This "hell" recording is nice, but to be super-cringe material it must compete against stuff like O Superman by Laurie Anderson.

    2. Jim in Phoenix

      Re: Am I the only one?

      Yes. You are the only one that enjoyed that. Now go back to that or the Spitting image chicken song.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Now to use it to answer the home phone for the "my name is Brian" cold callers.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Utterly brilliant.

    I laughed so hard I sneezed over my keyboard. I want to set up my own successful business solely so I can have this playing to sales people.

    1. Peter2 Silver badge

      I thought the article was funny, but playing the track had me in tears laughing. Well played guys.

      I don't get many sales calls because I am registered with the corporate telephone preference service, and then religiously take calls from market research companies and tell them that we have no IT budget, no outstanding requirements, and everything is outsourced on multi year agreements, which then goes on the experian (etc.) data which means I am not on the lists that most people buy. But that still means that I get salesdroids working at places too tight to use experian and too unprofessional to screen against blacklists calling me anyway.

      I'm now considering how I can program this up on my ancient telephone system. I'm thinking manually editing in a 20 minute long message to the file the voicemail greeting plays for an individual extension might be the way forwards. Hmm.

      It clearly needs an edit to sound worse though, the sound quality is tood good at the moment. It also needs to fade in and out of sounding like your using VOIP over an unmanaged and overtaxed line to be more convincing. I'm also thinking I could play an interesting shell game with an infinately self referencing automated attendant. That and it should start down from like 3 minutes at quarter speed with longer gaps in the music (which shifts perspective of how long your on hold) and when you get to 15 seconds it should start counting back up with an apology for priority calls going through first. That, and not repeating the same voice message with the same distortion would improve effectiveness dramatically.

      Resolving this problem is clearly a priority one issue. (after the bank holiday is over!)

      God I almost pity salesdroids for the next few months. If everybody reading this article is thinking something along the lines of "dammit, why didn't I think of that" and implements things like this then life is going to get near unbearable for them.

  9. WonkoTheSane

    Saved for future use on cold callers!

  10. Marketing Hack Silver badge

    They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

    That is all!

    Great idea though!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

      They might actually enjoy that. And there's royalties to consider.

      1. Danny 14 Silver badge

        Re: They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

        Oh no, it will be the 'as inspired by Time' played by year 5 St Judes primary school.

    2. Mike Banahan

      Re: They could use Pink Floyd's "Time" as hold music.

      You can suck out the pleasure factor from Floyd fans by giving them a dose of Polka Floyd:

      It's worth persevering to the final guitar solo which really will surprise. Spot the use of pitch shift done perfectly.

  11. zanshin
    Thumb Up

    Sheer Awesome

    I laughed out loud just reading the story. Actually listening to that recording has me in tears, and not all of them are from laughing.

    I also got another great laugh out of "Haas". Upvote ahoy!

  12. Efros

    Absolutely Brilliant

    Should have the men in white coats on standby to collect the casualties.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Absolutely Brilliant

      Do you suppose the first casualty might be that weasel found in the Large Hadron Collider?

  13. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    Had something similar set up with the otherworldly noise of dial up modem at 700x times reduced noise. Usually for auto dialers and lecky sales bods.

    Seriously. You can hear the dead souls

    (original sample here for the bored)

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      For the a moment there, I thought I was listening to the intro to Gary Numan's My Breathing.

    2. Snafu1

      Oh that's very good! All that is needed now is the fax handshake (V12? V21? I can't remember..) for comparison (for film/TV sound editors, natch)

    3. Not That Andrew

      And listening to both this and the other track at the same time is quite extraordinary.

      1. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

        Haven't tried both yet, but the weekend is early so maybe later.

    4. heyrick Silver badge

      Welcome back, Lain, it's been a while.

  14. ma1010 Silver badge


    Hopefully the creators of this masterpiece won't mind when I put this on my voicemail for those who call and want to leave a message when blocking their caller ID. Priceless!

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hell yes!

    I appear to have found my new ringtone. Needs a gradual wait_time decrement, though.

    Bye bye loop of a few seconds sniped out of the discordant riff within Hole's Sassy riff.

    Now, where did I leave my phone?

  16. Spanky_McPherson

    Possibly the best worst hold music in the world

    I nearly snorted my coffee all over my keyboard. Brilliant stuff.

  17. Dig

    Is it just me

    Or was anyone else transported back to days of watching max headroom.

  18. Mark Scorah

    She wants to be free from meeeeeeee

    Can't say I blame her.

  19. Teiwaz Silver badge

    Magic Roundabout...

    For the cheery, I'd have gone with 'magic roundabout' on a perpetual loop, I'm fairly sure the application of which, for a long enough period, would knock a significant number of IQ and sanity points...

    If I wanted to creep people out, I'd choose one of Akira Yamaoka's compositions for Silent Hill.

  20. chivo243 Silver badge

    We've trained our ladies

    Q1. Are a contracted vendor? Let me check that.

    Q2. Are they expecting your call? I'll see if they're busy.

    However, should some one get past them, this wonderful idea does open new avenues of reciprocation... Let me count the ways...

  21. Hans 1 Silver badge

    THANKS, now I know what to do with the sales guyz that call my mobile! I can transfer them over to my landline (has no phone, I do not use it), put that on the voicemail .... great.


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