Friday 10 September 2010


I have spent a great deal of time
on the phone to various utility companies lately,
trying to put my affairs in order

and I have been forcibly reminded of the saying,
'Do as I say, not as I do.'

As far as possible be on good terms with all persons.

Now I know it's not your fault personally
but you represent the company 
and I have no one else to be exasperated with.
Do you know how long I have been hanging on?
Have you any idea how tedious it is 
listening to messages about you being so busy
and would I like to sit in a queue or call back later?

Exercise caution in your business affairs
for the world is full of trickery.

What do you mean there's a better package?
Why wasn't I told?

I know you have millions of customers -
 I am one of your most loyal and long standing -
so why was this package only available to new customers?
Oh it is available to me, but only if I ask for it.
Well how was I supposed to know to ask if you don't tell me?
Where do you publicise them, 
in the sports section of the in-house magazine?
Just how often am I supposed to check up on your new offers?
When did this superb new package get introduced?
You're not sure.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly
and listen to others.


You had time to write to me to tell me 
of the new line rental increases.
You had time to tell me that I could get a small reduction 
if I paid up front for a year.
Why couldn't you write and tell me 
that I am the last poor sap on the planet 
paying through the nose for this discontinued tariff?
Can I have this marvellous new rate 
applied retrospectively?
No. I thought not.

In the noisy confusion of life
keep peace with your soul.

Well yes, I suppose you had better put me on it.
There's an additional discount today is there?
That's nice.
What do I have to do to qualify?
Tango up to your offices in a budgerigar costume?
So all my calls will be free will they?
Night and day?
It starts today?
And will there be a better offer tomorrow?
You're sure?
Cross your heart and hope to die?
Should I check?
Just in case?

No. That's all thank you.
No you can't help me with anything else.
I must ring the electricity people now.
I'm on a roll.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.

* See Thursday

Woman on Phone 1995 - Ruth Addinall
But I had No Idea c. 1946 - Sheila Warr


  1. Noooooo... you're not the last poor sap on the planet paying for (insert any old rip-off so-called service here). Most of us are in your position. What I find helps is to threaten to move your custom elsewhere, then you suddenly become valued and in need of any amount of bargain deals. For another year or so, then you have to do it all again.... (am I bitter about Virgin Media? Not me.)

  2. I wish I could come out with comments like the budgerigar example - I can be brilliant - 10 minutes later! I know how you feel - I'm bracing myself for the annual insurance fiasco...

  3. It could be worse .
    I have a friend whose recently retired husband spends hours searching high and low for these deals/improvements .
    I don't phone her much any more or email because I can't keep up with all the new numbers, servers and addresses .
    Sonata .

  4. My husband has just been going through all that, renewing car and house insurances (I'm so glad he took over sorting out these things when he retired!!)

  5. Things are no different in Canada. All one has to do is threaten to go with another provider, and then they're all clamouring for your business!

  6. Oh god. I need to ring BT.

    I had managed to forget this completely, happily.