Letter of the day

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‘This is the way forward Mrs Huxtable’

These are the very words a young-sounding girl said to me over the phone last week.

I was on my third or fourth call to a well-known utility company (the name of which I’ll withhold).

Many readers will know the form. You dial the number, you wait, then comes the menu, (it’s best to pay attention at this point)! then you wait and wait and wait…

During this time you may be treated to classical music that sounds as if the orchestra’s in a tin bath within a tin shed and the volume waxes and wanes depending on the strength of your mobile phone signal.

You wait and wait and wait. Interspersed between the music is information as to what to do in situations a, b and c, followed by: ‘We’re aware of your call, please hold the line, your call is important to us’ (Yup, I bet it is)!

And through all of this, I remember the days when I used to walk into my local utility shop/s, go to the counter, say ‘good morning!’, pass a cheque over and in a couple of minutes be on my way! No hassle! No waiting, no mind-numbingly awful music, repetitious information and ‘your call is important to us’…

If my call was so important, then there’d be more operators on the ‘way forward’ switch boards, customers wouldn’t have to wait so long and you’d put yourself on the end of your phone lines to see how desperately frustrating it is to be there.

These phone lines are often beautifully illustrated by stand-up comedians. People can get as frustrated as they choose, but feel there’s nothing they can do and, as the young operator said, ‘This is the way forward Mrs Huxtable’.

Well not in my understanding it isn’t and, I’m thinking, not in many peoples’ understanding.

Pat Huxtable (Mrs)

Nettlestone Road