my old job as a call-centre worker

As jobs go, my current one suits me fine – it’s busy, demanding at times and very occasionally, whisper it, fun. I know right? But how’s this for temptation – I’m going to be sitting amongst £165 worth of pick and mix next week. I mean haway. I’ve also spent thirty minutes finding pictures of sprinkles, lambs and cold beer this evening, all for work, so not so bad. I’ve been thinking about my previous jobs recently, so with that in mind, let me take you back to the early 00’s. Warning: this post contains the C-word, and it isn’t chocolate.

My first job was working for a well-known british telecoms provider in the complaints department, which, as a fresh-faced young eighteen year old, was quite the eye-opener. I went in full of cheeriness and enthusiasm and left seven months later a broken husk of a man. There’s only so many times you can be called a thieving cunt for charging 35p for Caller Display and still feel peppy about slipping on your work slacks of a morning. Actually, we did have a man who called up who was called Mr Kunt – and that’s not me being crass, that was his 100% genuine surname, which we knew because we checked his record. Brilliant. Try fault-finding on someone’s line when you’re trying to squeeze his surname in at every opportunity. ‘IS IT CRACKLING, MR KUNT?’. Haha.

I left on a hungover whim after a mutual agreement with a friend that we’d see where we got to in the day after spending all night out and about – we got to 9.30am, and it was me who cracked first. I had some old spinster ring up, giving it the whole ‘I’VE BEEN A CUSTOMER FOR FORTY YEARS’ nonsense (she actually sounded old enough to sit on the party line with Alexander Graham Bell, but that’s by the by). She was ringing up to complain because we’d changed the colour of the phone book spines from a mild purple to a deep purple, and that upset her because her phone book didn’t match all the others. I shit you not, she not only collected phone books, she displayed them in her living room. There’s no happy ending there – she’ll be found face-down on a stack of newspapers with cats eating her feet. Anyway, she was so intently obnoxious and rude (as if I’d personally standing at the printer and changing the inks over myself, instead of sitting there looking up Mr Kunt and burping out little boozy burps) that I ended up telling her I’d immediately remedy the situation, then promptly ordered her a pallet of Aberdeen phonebooks, which I was sure she’d find incredibly useful in her hovel in Sussex. I bet her face was red. And fucking hell wouldn’t THAT clash with her shelves of broken dreams.

There were also the usual games of trying to get Abba lyrics into customer phonecalls – surprisingly easy when they were complaining about the cost of phone-calls (‘I can save you Money Money Money Sir…pardon?’ or ‘Saving YOU money is the name of the game, Madam…eh?’) but more challenging when they’re ringing about interference on their microsockets (‘So your broadband drops out when you’re viewing German animal porn….er…Does Your Mother Know?’) etc. Finally, good old squidfucker – how many times can you get the word squidfucker into a hastily read out script about direct debits? YOU-CAN-CANCEL-SQUIDFUCKER-THE-INSTRUCTION-AT-ANY-SQUIDFUCKER-TIME…

Ah, great times. I’d work for a call-centre again – I did like the camaraderie and sense of working as a team, but I don’t miss having a set amount of time to go to the toilet and buy a Kitkat. Plus, the pay was shocking – was it any wonder that we used to put the phones on mute whenever Doctor Who was showing on a Saturday evening on the giant screen they used for showing stats? Top tip – when you’re being transferred, don’t mouth off about the adviser, they can still hear you and chances are you’ll be rerouted to some automated menu somewhere. Oops. And if you mouth off about not wanting to speak to ‘THOSE INDIANS’, fully expect to be put through to the adviser best at doing Welsh accents…

Unusually, no recipe tonight – because I’m home so late, it’s just chips, beans and sausages for tea! Something new tomorrow.