The gods of telesales have once again confirmed their curse upon me. My cell phone contract has been in operation for four months and, once again, they have failed to charge me correctly. I have telephoned the company monthly to discuss this and every time I am reassured that the error has been rectified. The call centre operators are always very apologetic, identify the problem and confirm that they have rectified it. The trouble is that I know that they are lying.
Having answered the appropriate questions about my date of birth, waist size and eye colour we discussed the issue. The operator asked if I had changed my number and I advised that I hadn’t. After some investigation she asked me about another number, one that I did not recognise. It occurred to me that this may have been the initial number assigned to the contract for a week or so until my number was ported in; she confirmed that this appeared to be the case. Could she apply the discount to my current number? oh yes of course. Could she delete the older contract detail so that this didn’t happen again? oh yes. Could she confirm that she wasn’t lying like her predecessors? Ah, somewhat harder as they had no reason to lie. Could she see what it was that her predecessors had messed up? No, it all seemed ok. What confidence could she give me that it would work this time? Well of course it would, that’s just how it was.
Having battered a goodwill discount out of her I finished the call with a cheery “until next week” I don’t think that she saw the humour.
In other news I congratulate the man who sat opposite me on the train on Tuesday. Having enquired as to the minimum charge to use a card he purchased a bag of crisps and a coffee from the trolley and offered said card. The hand-held reader declared the transaction void and the retailer returned the card. The purchaser simply passed the card back saying “it worked at the station” and proceeded to open his crisps. This arrangement continued for 4 attempts, witnessed by the stack of curling receipts on the table, before the purchaser suggested using the chip and pin.
The retailer was convinced that this wouldn’t work and he was correct, another void ticket met the pile. This was a cool customer though, every time he received his card and a void ticket he simply passed it back and blamed the machine. In the face of an exasperated retailer he calmly and politely advised that he had no other card or means of payment whilst continuing to consume his crisps and coffee. It was on the eighth attempt that the purchaser received a receipt and the transaction was concluded.
The congratulations come from the fact that the purchaser never once lost his cool, never got embarrassed or showed any frustration. Of course this is the correct response we, as purchasers, know we are legitimate and that our cards/notes are valid. We fall too easily into embarrassedly rummaging for change like a fraudster caught at the last hurdle. It was an oddly impressive display of quiet perseverance and I for one shall attempt to replicate at the next opportunity.