Who am I kidding? Whilst I’d like to think that I always manage to maintain the kind of stately sense of decorum usually the sole preserve of middle-European monarchy and butlers, the reality is altogether different. The smallest things are regarded by me as outright provocations and I am prone to over-reacting. Whilst a smarter man would take a short walk around the block and cool-off, I tend to use rage as a means to fuel a loathsome kind of self-righteousness. It results in letters such as this
I write further to my broadband and mobile plan with your company. I hadn‘t planned to make a complaint – rather, I had hoped to discuss whether I am currently on the most efficient plan with you as my internet bill has increased from $40 per month to $240 a month. Indeed, to your credit, someone called ‘Peter’ from something called the ‘Business Centre’ rang and left a message, emphasizing his eagerness to discuss my current broadband and mobile phone predicament.
My first mistake was to attempt to return his call.
‘Peter’ didn’t leave a surname. Perhaps, much like ‘Madonna’, ‘Kylie’ or ‘Rasputin’; ‘Peter’ is so much of an icon within the Telstra Business Centre as to make a second name redundant. I did, naturally enough, plan to ask him but never got the chance.
By any measure, sixty minutes is a long time to remain on hold. However, if you throw in sixty minutes of the most excruciating hold music yet discovered by mankind, an hour seems not so much like a period of time as it does some kind of prison sentence.
Although I have never thrust a red hot poker into my ear, I can only imagine that it is a similar kind of agony.
For future reference, if you do wish to place your customers on hold, it might be a good idea not to subject them to music that could easily be used to interrogate trouble-makers within third-world dictatorships. Indeed, techno music that sounds as if it was created by a tribe of one-legged Guatemalan goat herders using only a drum machine, a broken microwave and every fingernail and black board they could string together at short notice should be avoided at all costs.
Whilst I appreciate that you may consider my claim of having been on hold for an hour to be the product of exaggeration, I can only assure you that it was exactly sixty minutes. I say that because it was precisely as the phone reached the one hour mark that the call was disconnected.
This means that after one hour of being subjected to the kind of techno music that could easily be used to kill small insects (and, indeed, this may be a more appropriate use), I had achieved absolutely nothing.
I then tried to make contact through the website. However, the ‘contact us’ function appeared not to be working. Whilst the fact that one of this nation’s major telecommunications company can’t string together a ‘contact us’ email is an irony of too large a proportion to contemplate, the next time I am stuck on hold for an hour listening to ridiculous music, I will surely do so.
The only contact mechanism that seemed to operate was the one for complaints. All of which leads me to this letter.
I would very much like to discuss my mobile phone and broadband account with someone at your company. Whether it is with Peter, Kylie, Madonna, Rasputin or a one-legged Guatemalan goat-herder; I’m really not fussed. Whilst I can’t escape the somewhat overwhelming suspicion that I’m being subjected to the kind of corporate pick-pocketing that would make Ronald Biggs blush with embarrassment, I hope to be surprised.
I look forward to hearing from someone, indeed anyone, before too long.’
It may be petty and it may even be cruel, but it is also enormously satisfying. To date, I have received only a reply that was automatically generated by a computer. This seems strangely fitting. I am sure that, from this point on, my filed under ‘M’ not for ‘McCullough’ but, instead, ‘dead-set flat-out mental’.
I wouldn’t have it any other way.