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Much like Godot's arrival or the line at the DMV, we've always considered customer-service hotlines to be one of life's necessary waiting games. Then we discovered FastCustomer, a new (and free) iPhone and Android app that eliminates the need to ever wait on hold again. Seriously.

Here's how it works: You choose from a list of more than 2,000 companies. FastCustomer then places the call on your behalf (while you put down your phone and get back to your life). Once it's reached an actual human, it calls you back and immediately connects you with the representative.

We selected, for instance, and got a call four minutes later from a friendly agent regarding our missing book order. Next we heard from U.S. Airways about a flight we wanted to change. Finally, we put in a request to Apple and, after eight minutes of not being on hold, chatted with a helpful techie.

Because many companies have multiple FastCustomer entries (the difference between Apple's Computer and iPad/iPod support), you always end up in the right place. And because it puts you in touch with a real person, you avoid the whole "press one for accounts" song and dance.

Consider your Muzak-listening days bygone.

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