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Sunday, June 3, 2012

Don’t Argue with Onstar

I really should not complain much about our Isuzu Ascender. It’s a good size family car and despite how expensive it is now to fill it up, it’s been a fairly good car in the history of our cars we’ve had.

My husband, who is much more savvy in the realm of cars, tells me this vehicle is basically a GMC Envoy. Hence it is equipped with Onstar. We haven’t felt the need to pay extra for those bells and whistles so we never activated it when we bought the car used. I’ve been really content with all the extras it has, like the heated seats in winter. No real need for that in the summer. Air conditioned seats might be a tad more appropriate given our climate is warm more often than it seems cold.

So it’s very safe to say that I’ve never read the manual on the Onstar or delved into how to interact with it when it comes on. It’s come on once before but somehow I ended up pushing the correct button to get it to turn off. I was also parked at that time so it was fairly easy to concentrate. However, when one is driving down the highway and they accidentally push the Onstar button and they have no idea how to shut the annoying voice off, it can be a challenging situation. Following is what happened to me last week on the way in to work.

I tend to flip through the radio stations, listening and finding songs I like or the morning shows that are talking about something interesting. This day was no different. I was lucky enough to find a station with a really good song on, “Journey, Don’t Stop Believing”. So I’m singing at the top of my lungs and somehow hit the wrong button out of the 4 on the stupid steering wheel.

Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: Hello, welcome to Onstar. Please say the number you wish to call.

I am still in disbelief that Journey is gone and it takes me a minute to comprehend so I don’t say anything.
Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: Please state the number you wish to call. (I can swear she sounds annoyed)
Me: Stop (this is the first thing that comes to mind to say)
Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: I’m sorry, can you repeat that?
Me: End (I’m thinking seriously? You can’t understand a one word command?)
Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: I’m sorry. You must say the full number and explains how to say a phone number. (Oh now I’m being lectured on how to enunciate properly, great!)
I don’t say anything, I reach up and punch some buttons frantically where the Onstar stuff is on the top of the car, all while trying to keep my eyes on the road. The recording thing beeps at me. Then the voice starts hounding me again. Apparently, I’m not responding quick enough for her. At this point I just want the stupid thing to shut up.
Me: Shut up (see I’m desparate now, just trying whatever comes to mind to get it to stop)
Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: I’m sorry, can you please repeat that? Please speak slowly and clearly.
Me: Quit (I’m thinking are you kidding me here? I’ve been speaking very clearly. I’m frantically searching the thesaurus in my brain to think of computer type things to say to get it stop talking in that unfailingly polite computer voice).
Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: I’m sorry, that is not a valid command. You need to say the number you wish to call.
Me Yelling now: I don’t want to call anyone! Please stop! (I’m beyond frustrated now and obviously this computer isn’t very smart).

Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: I’m sorry, I don’t understand the question. If you wish to make a call please speak the number slowly and clearly. If you wish to end service please say Cancel.
Me: CANCEL!!!!!! (This thing has been toying with me the entire time. Why didn’t she just say this the first darn time she decided to jump onto the radio and speak to me. UGH!!!!)
Nasal Onstar Computer Voice: Thank you for using Onstar, Goodbye. (Wow! She just had to have the last word didn't she?? All the time in that annoying polite tone too!)

The radio pops back on and I’m sure my mouth is hanging open and I’ve got a dumbfounded look on my face. Seriously, this entire incident went on for about 8 minutes. I know how irrational it is to argue with the Onstar. I’m sure if this has been videotaped I could have had several you tube hits with it. It’s kind of funny now but I assure you I was not laughing when the voice finally shut up and left me alone. I was almost tempted to hit the button again and then yell Cancel just to see if it worked the first time. However I thought better of it. I didn’t want to repeat this again.
Has anything like this ever happened to you? Please share!

Kathie Hitt