Which Business Gets You to Swear on the Phone the Most?

An analysis of 1.2 million U.S. consumer calls from March 2012 to November 2013 by Marchex, a mobile advertising company, found that we are most likely to swear while on the phone with satellite TV providers, housing contractors, and cable providers. Here’s their full list:

1. Satellite TV providers – 1 in every 82 conversations
2. Housing contractors – 90
3. Cable providers – 123
4. Auto Repair – 144
5. Tow Truck – 159
6. Locksmith – 192
7. Storage – 214
8. Pest Control – 215
9. Heating & Cooling – 215
10. House Cleaning – 218
11. Lawn Care – 271
12. Carpet Cleaning – 275
13. Plumbing – 334
14. Home Buying – 411
15. Auto Dealers – 870
16. Flowers – 1,110
17. Property Management – 1,390
18. Hotels – 1,486
19. Senior Living – 1,742
20. Veterinary – 2,634

Our favorite swear word to say on the phone? The F-bomb, though sometimes we’re polite enough to wait until we’re on hold to let it out.

Photo: Frederic Bisson

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10 Comments / Post A Comment

andnowlights (#2,902)

I’ve never sworn at a customer service rep, but I’ve come close with Chase and Comcast. And I definitely swear after I hang up! I worked retail for three years and often got cussed at for things I had NO control over. The customer service people have little to no control over policies that their giant companies put into place and swearing at them doesn’t help! No need to make their days suck even more because their company is the worst, especially if they’re really trying to help. Sometimes you get an unhelpful one, but I think I’d be unhelpful sometimes if I had that job too.

gl (#5,458)

I swear at those infernal computers that make you speak to them. My typical ploy is to press zero ad nauseum but sometimes that doesn’t work and they just keep talking at you asking you to repeat yourself. And that’s when the real swearing begins. Seriously whoever invented those is going to hell. And any companies that use them are also going to hell. Just. Let. Me. Press. Numbers. Don’t make me talk to a f*cking computer that can’t understand words half the time anyway!!!

wrappedupinbooks (#1,426)

@gl Oh dear god I know. I often have to call banks for work, and sometimes I get the computer, and I read somewhere once that if you curse at the computer it transfers you to a person faster. So whoever walks by my office gets the lovely treat of hearing me dryly rattle off curse words nonsensically.

gl (#5,458)

@gl To be fair I’ve never sworn at a real live human I don’t think. I guess I just have to worry when our computer overlords take over and they get back at me for all the abuse I’ve put computerized phone systems through.

MissMushkila (#1,044)

@gl I just got a Discover card, and was shocked when a person answered the phone to activate my card. A happy-sounding, helpful person. He even asked if he could help me with anything else or if I had questions. It was the most cheerful and civil phone exchange with a live person at a bank in my life, and it completely shocked me.

garysixpack (#4,263)

I’ve never sworn at a phone rep, but I’ve once kept a DISH Network rep and supervisor on the phone for about 2 hours. I just would not hang up the phone. I kept asking the same questions in slightly different combinations and variations, and I kept asking them to explain the same things over and over again. All while being very polite, of course. I finally took pity on them and let them go after a couple of hours.

Allison (#4,509)

oh I’ve cursed at some poor Comcast reps before, generally in the sense of “I know you don’t control this but your company is (STRING OF PROFANITY).” Or just dropping in casual curse words, but I never curse out the person I’m talking to. If it were a contractor and something had gone curse worthy wrong, I would probably not restrain myself.

deepomega (#22)

What is a “housing contractor”? A GC? Or something related to buying/selling?

pizza (#599)

@deepomega Someone who constructs a new house. My parents had a ton of problems with one about 15 years ago. I wouldn’t be surprised if they cursed him out.

deepomega (#22)

@pizza Never build a new house, I guess! We probably have plenty.

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