If you ever wondered what this Internet thing is good for, check out GetHuman.com. This is something you would never have seen in the pre-Net days — someone might have known the key to getting a real human at one or two companies, but the Net lets all those people who know a little bit find each other... and everyone can end up knowing a lot!
The database lists companies by industry (retail, automotive, etc.) and includes instructions for making Phone Tree Hell just... freeze over... for each company. Personally, I would consider shifting business to those companies that are labelled "Direct to human."