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Screwing with the operator

Ever get an operator who gave you a hard time, and you didn't know
what to do? Well if the operator hears you use a little Bell jargon, she might wise up. Here is a little diagram (excuse the artwork) of the structure of operators

/-------- /------ /-----
!Operator!-- > ! S.A. ! --->! BOS !
--------/ ------/ -----/
!
!
V
/-------------
! Group Chief !
-------------/



Now most of the operators are not bugged, so they can curse at you, if they do ask INSTANTLY for the "S.A." or the Service Assistant. The operator does not report to her (95% of them are hers) but they will solve most of your problems. She MUST give you her name as she connects & all of these calls are bugged. If the SA gives you a rough time get her BOS (Business Office Supervisor) on the line. S/He will almost always back her girls up, but sometimes the SA will get tarred and feathered. The operator reports to the Group Chief, and S/He will solve 100% of your problems, but the chances of getting S/He on the line are nill.

If a lineman (the guy who works out on the poles) or an installation man gives you the works ask to speak to the Installation Foreman, that works wonders.

Here is some other bell jargon, that might come in handy if you are having trouble with the line. Or they can be used to lie your way out of situations....


An Erling is a line busy for 1 hour, used mostly in traffic studies A Permanent Signal is that terrible howling you get if you disconnect, but don't hang up.

Everyone knows what a busy signal is, but some idiots think that is the Actual ringing of the phone, when it just is a tone "beeps" when the phone is ringing, wouldn't bet on this though, it can (and does) get out of sync.

When you get a busy signal that is 2 times as fast as the normal one, the person you are trying to reach isn't really on the phone, (he might be), it is actually the signal that a trunk line somewhere is busy and they haven't or can't reroute your call. Sometimes you will get a Recording, or if you get nothing at all (Left High & Dry in fone terms) all the recordings are being used and the system is really overused, will probably go down in a little while. This happened when Kennedy was shot, the system just couldn't handle the calls. By the way this is called the "reorder signal" and the trunk line is "blocked".

One more thing, if an overseas call isn't completed and doesn't generate any money for AT&T, is is called an "Air & Water Call".
Posted on September 27th, 2009 - Updated on December 31st, 2010
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Jolly Roger

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