I have usually waited on hold over 30 minutes just to get "support" on the line
A few weeks ago, while trying to figure out something with insert company name here's product (where company name = Symantec) we were on hold, over the course of several days, for a total of ten hours. And in the end, they never did fix the problem; we fixed it ourselves, by looking up an article on their knowledgebase.
I think that a retributive model would serve better that any purely utilitarian model. Any kind of degree of punishment can be justified as being "useful" (for some definition of useful); it is only the idea that "the punishment should fit the crime" that allows us to say that this or that punishment is excessive.
For example, under a model where deterrence is the primary goal of punishment, if the actual perpetrator of a crime cannot be found, the model demands that someone be found and punished, regardless of whether they are guilty or innocent. Indeed, it is questionable whether the words "guilty" and "innocent" have any meaning outside of a retributive justice system. In a utilitarian system, the only distinction is between punishments that are useful in some context and those that are not. The degree and target of punishment need not have anything to do with innocence or degree of guilt.
But then again, I don't think we actually have a retributive system in America. Our justice is utilitarian, based on (as you said) making money for police and private-run prisons, and "protecting" society from the objects of their fears. As long as punishment makes somebody money, and helps the masses relax, it is deemed acceptable.
In every hierarchy the cream rises until it sours. -- Dr. Laurence J. Peter