It’s a tale as old as March 2020: you go to say something in a Zoom meeting, only to be told by several slightly amused, slightly smug colleagues that your connection is on the fritz, or worse - you’re on mute.
It’s just part of the new world of work, and even Amazon founder and world’s richest man Jeff Bezos isn’t immune to it.
Appearing at the House Judiciary Committee's antitrust panel via video-conferencing, Bezos tried to respond to a question from Congressman Greg Steube about whether China was known to steal American tech companies’ technology, only to be told he was on mute.
“Mr Bezos? You're on mute,” Steube said.
Another member of the panel helpfully added, “Uh, Mr Bezos - I believe you’re on mute.”
Bezos quickly turned his microphone on and apologised before responding.
“I’ve heard many reports of that, I haven’t seen it personally but I’ve heard many reports of it,” Bezos said.
“Certainly there are knock-off products if that’s what you mean and there are counterfeit products and all of that.”
Viewers on Twitter delighted in the relatable stuff up.
“Finally something I have in common with a $100+ billionaire,” one person commented. Bezos is worth US$180 billion, according to Forbes.
"Mr Bezos, you're on mute" - finally something I have in common with a $100+ billionaire.— Sriram Krishnan (@sriramkri) July 29, 2020
“Mr Bezos, you’re on mute”— Jane Manchun Wong (@wongmjane) July 29, 2020
It happened, it finally happened
“The most relatable part of this entire congressional hearing,” added another.
Why does "Mr. Bezos, I believe you're on mute" feel like the quote of 2020. https://t.co/FSS7t7bYFB— Carrie Ingraham (@CarrieIngraham_) July 29, 2020
“We've all been there,” added another.
"Mr. Bezos, you're on mute."— Will Cox (@cwcoxjr) July 29, 2020
We've all been there.
"mr bezos you're on mute" OH MY GOD THIS IS A TECH HEARING ARE YOU SERIOUS #BigTechHearing— Toby (Earth) Baratta (@TobyBaratta) July 29, 2020
Bezos appeared alongside Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, Apple’s Tim Cook and Google’s Sundar Pichai at the high-profile hearing about the size and market dominance of the tech companies.
The hearing aimed to find out if the major firms had been carrying out anti-competitive behaviour.