Please Try Again Later

Phone workers walk out, but the calls still go through, sort of

"Operator, well, could you help me place this call?/ See, the number on the matchbook is old and faded./ She's living in L.A./ With my best old ex-friend Ray."

If the jilted lover in Jim Croce's 1972 pop ballad Operator had been trying to reach his old girlfriend last week, he might have heard a polite but unresponsive recorded message: "I'm sorry, but due to a work stoppage, there may be a delay in answering your call. Will you please try again later?"...

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