DIARY: I’m only a punter but...

I’m only a punter, but doesn’t it drive you completely out of your ranting mind when you ring up a company to ask a tiny question about something utterly meaningless and after about 20 rings you suddenly get this: ‘Thank you for calling, this is Shelly speaking, how can I help you this afternoon?’ (Shelly then spends a further two or three seconds catching her breath back.)

I’m only a punter, but doesn’t it drive you completely out of your

ranting mind when you ring up a company to ask a tiny question about

something utterly meaningless and after about 20 rings you suddenly get

this: ‘Thank you for calling, this is Shelly speaking, how can I help

you this afternoon?’ (Shelly then spends a further two or three seconds

catching her breath back.)



Shut the f*** up! That’s how you can help me this afternoon, Shelly.



No, that’s not going to work. Perhaps I’ll try doing the same thing back

to them. The following method sometimes works (I recently tried it in

Morocco where, bored of constantly haggling with street vendors, I would

bargain them upwards instead of downwards, sending them into a spin).



‘Thank you for picking up the telephone this afternoon, my name is

Desmond, you can help me this afternoon’...silence.



But seriously, this new answering policy really is annoying, and it’s

cropping up everywhere. It makes me feel exhausted not only for myself

but for the poor person having to do it.



It’s actually even less human and more disturbing than being greeted by

a computer message (with reference to the rant on 6 September). This is

because the receptionists have said it so many times in a day that it

sounds like they have lost all human contact, not only with themselves

and punters like me who call them up but also with the companies they

are supposed to be representing in such a fine light.



Rants to: Diary editor, 174 Hammersmith road, London W6 7JP



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