A old ‘un but a good ‘un. Only a generation ago would such stalwarts be wheeled out for a group nod, when someone had the temerity to try something different. Further samples from my own childhood include “If you rub it, you’ll just make it worse“*, “Too wrongs don’t make a right“** and “Tha’s not as green as tha cabbage is painted”***
Yet the first one should blaze a trail of truth through a galaxy hosting planets of cheap, bullshit and stupid all of which orbit the sun of greed. I have just about come to terms with head banging impotence at the million suits fucking over everyone else to turn a fast buck. And I’ve become largely uncaring over the corruption of global markets, the insanity of trading on stuff that doesn’t exist, and the decoupling of making big decisions while failing to be troubled by the consequences to everyone but you.
But when an organisation outsources the prime communication for its’ customers to lowest cost bidder and instills a script based ethic for people trying their best in a second language, it still sends me bloody nuts. The link between me paying the bills and them being paid to help me is stretched to the point where I find myself caring nearly as little as they do. Press 1 to be put on hold, press 2 to get charged to hear the website address, press 3 to start the whole pointless process again.
Wait ten fucking minutes to be told “this isn’t our problem. We don’t know whose problem it is, but we’re pretty clear it isn’t ours“. So wearily try again with another faceless company. Same shit, same script, same answer. What kind of fucking madness is it that some fruit in a suit dreamed up a business model where 20% customer churn returns more to shareholders than attempting to retain their custom, by innovative techniques such as answering the phone?
And it is not like we’re trying to order a Space Shuttle here. We just want Broadband to be activated on a telephone line but the slightly non standard configuration isn’t on anyone’s screen, so we may as well up the ante “Look screw the broadband, what do you have in terms of serviceable reusable space vehicles?” / “Sorry sir, I’ll just need to call my supervisor” Brrr. Disconnect.
I think it is right and proper to out these corporate charlatans. BT: 13 wasted minutes on a conversation which intersected only briefly on “broadband” and “goodbye“. Tiscali: You’re a shower of useless shit as well. About the same plus the transfers between 4 different departments each with a new way of cheerfully informing us that they didn’t give a shit.
Remember banks back in the 80s? You were stuck with the useless dog lobbers because switching your account was slightly more complex than building a teleport. And they bloody well knew it – now ISP’s are the new wanker bankers with their “oh but you’ll lose your email address if you cancel“.
Well fuck the lot of you. We’re taking it back. A google cry for help unearthed a little known – but highly recommended**** – ISP with a UK phone number. A nice man answered the phone second ring, made all my problems his and apologised for charging a little more than the competitors. We even registered our own domain name, so it’s a single ball-achy afternoon to change every Internet account but God it’s going to feel good.
This is all our fault of course. Since we constantly commoditise every product and demand the lowest price by removing any differentiation, what the hell did we think might happen? So fuck Tesco, M&S can go swivel, Virgin will never see me again. Maybe all of us are going to be nothing more than the demand side of global capitalism but, from hereon in, I’m voting with my cash and paying it over to someone who actually gives a shit. It might not make a difference to them, but it’ll make a bloody great difference to me.
And when my World Dictatorship get ratified, my first order of the day will be to melt down every call answering system, and send out hunting parties for any delusionist who decided shareholders were more important than customers. The scorpion pit is too bloody good for them.
I’d just like to apologise to my mum. I realise I have used up a years worth of bad language in a single post. And, of course, it is someone else’s fault. There is probably even an 0845 number to call.
* Ignored by legions of pubescent boys across the planet.
** Yeah, but it’s fun trying.
*** Bemused at the time. Still bemused 30 years on.
**** You should see what they say about Tiscali and BT. Try ISPReview. It’s pretty damn cathartic.