Tuesday, November 14, 2006

L'Après-midi d'une phone

There’s a huge cyprus just outside here – its shadow is visible in the Oct 29 post – and it’s full of hyperactive starlings. I can’t do a picture of them because they never stay still long enough. Especially when the sun starts to set, when they come out for the evening fly-past and go into feeding frenzy on the bugs that by that time are feeling sluggish after a the long day.
There are human starlings: they attack around dusk, because they think the pickings will be easier. Their market research has shown that, about that time, you should have just got home from work and will be at your most lethargic and least sales-resistant.
We’re talking telemarketeers. You may think they are a nuisance, but to people who work from home (eg. me), they are the plague. I must say that I sympathise with the people who have to do this thankless and degrading job – if they have any human feelings at all they must hate having to disturb someone who wants only to kick off his shoes, have a Scotch and relax. But if you work from home, dusk is about the time the inspirational juices are starting to flow and you’re getting into 4th gear.
These days most of the call centres are on the Indian sub-continent (it’s cheaper than paying less industrious Brits) so the voices sound like bad impersonations of Peter Sellers in The Millionairess. Nothing wrong with that if you’re offering cheaper mobile phone calls or low-entry equity funds, but not if some degree of local knowledge is required, as in, say, telephone directory enquiries. ‘I’m looking for a saddler’s shop in Blackburn’; ‘Is that the Saddler's Inn in Blackpool?’ ‘No’. ‘I’ve got Sadler’s Wells Ballet Company in London’. ‘Never mind’. (Here’s a surprise – calls to directory enquiry services have fallen dramatically since they were de-monopolised. I wonder why?)
My pet hate about TMs (apart from the ones who gratuitously use my first name – see Gnomework) are the people who ring and say, ‘Hello, I’m Daniel’ - or ‘Hi, my name is Sonia’. You feel like saying, ‘No it’s not. You don’t need to Anglify your name - there’s nothing wrong with ‘Gupal’, or ‘Nazalee’. But why should I buy a financial product from someone who lies in their first sentence?’
Although it’s annoying when they stop you in verbal mid-flight, so far I’ve been polite – ‘thank you for calling’ I say, ‘but I never buy anything on the phone’. But the worm is about to turn.


joe public said...

Not only do I agree with the post's sentiment, but that title is the best I've seen in quite some time.

Ed R said...

HE does have a way with words. Ought to make a living that way.

riviera writer said...

Thanks a lot, Joe and Ed. I'll try to be worthy.