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