In a note from American Express (in response to my email to them):

Due to unusually high volume, we will respond within three to four business

How long, I wonder, has the volume been unusually high? How come American Express doesn’t have a plan for dealing with this spike?

We’ve all heard this excuse when we’re on hold. Personally, it doesn’t make me feel any better. I don’t say, "Oh, they’ve staffed up with plenty of people but this particular moment is an exception so I’ll cut them some slack."

What’s missing from the cost benefit analysis is pretty clear: a customer just took the initiative to call in, to do business with you, to pay attention. And the company, just to save a buck or so in excess capacity, makes this eager person just sit and wait.

Surely there’s a better way.