SWEAR OR YELL: A reader with some experience in IVR systems writes:

workaround for many IVR systems is to swear or yell at them. They are
programmed to recognise certain words, or in some cases high volume, as
an irate customer, who is then bounced to a human being. Typically with
a soothing “You seem to be having some trouble choosing the right
option. Please hold while you are transferred to an operator.” The
other thing that gets on my wick are companies who advertise that your
call will be answered by a real person, then flick you to planet IVR
after three words.

other way of quickly getting through to a human, as I discovered today,
is to select the option to cancel your account. I swear this is true:
for my elderly parents I got a $260 reversal of an overcharge on their
internet bill, 125 free local calls a month (for “bundling”), a cheaper
( by $20 a month ) broadband plan twice as fast as what they had. True,
the new plan does not offer unlimited downloads, but they didn’t need
that. Why Telstra didn’t offer/explain these alternatives earlier beats

LOOK IN THE PHONE BOOK: Phil Atkinson writes:
our business, we not only use the numerous CD and online databases
around these days, but we also retain old telephone directories. Great
if you want to contact a local bank branch etc. They always ask “How
did you get this number?” and the reply – “From the phone book!” must
keep them scrabbling around for hours…

And Alan Hatfield writes:
I note that there is a nascent list for Australia here and there is also a mechanism for setting up a more formal (and verified!) list at gethuman.com. All that is needed is for an Australian editor to step forward.