Noon GMT today.
Brrrring …Brrrrring….. (that’s my phone impersonation again)
Brrrring …Brrrrring…..Brrrring …Brrrrring….. (it’s my mobile)
Brrrring …Brrrrring…..(I have one of those “retro” rings — same one as everybody else)
Brrrring …Brrrrring….. (so I never know if it’s my phone ringing— unless I’m alone)
Brrrring …Brrrrring….. (like this morning)
Brrrring …Brr- “Hello?”
‘Hello, Mr Bealing?’ a young female Geordie voice asked
“Speaking” an old male Estuary voice replied
“It’s Virgin Media here” she announced triumphantly
“hm-hmm” (I was less than impressed. Having dealt with the English-speaking world’s joint -2nd worst Customer Services** before, I didn’t anticipate having too much fun here).
There was a slight pause, as if she was waiting for me to either shout ‘hooray’ or hang up. Once she’d established neither was about to happen, she continued.
“I’m calling you today to discuss improvements to your landline and to see if we can provide you with better value in the service we provide to you .”
“Would you have five minutes at the moment ?”
“Of course, I’ve been desperate to talk to you” (that may have been a fib).
Another pause while she considered the implications of this statement.
“Oh, ok, well before we start, could you confirm for me the first two characters of you Virgin Media password?”
“I have no idea what my Virgin Media password is, I’m afraid”
“Really?” she was clearly incredulous
“Really?” I emphasised. It’s not something I use often. Oh I dunno try X.A.” (regular readers will remember the name of my first pet stoat)
“Ooh, I’m afraid that doesn’t correspond to the password I have here”
“”Oh No!” I was mortified. Ish.
“Would you like me to ask you other questions to confirm you identity ?”
“I know my identity”
“But I need to confirm it before we can proceed, sir”. I don’t think she shared my sense of humour.
“Ok, yes, of course, fire away”
“Good, so can you confirm the method by which you pay for your Virgin Media Services ?”
“Yes, Correct”. I had answered a question correctly. The warm glow of pride inside me was immense. She continued, and I was on a roll,
“Now can you tell me the speed of the broadband service which you currently receive from Virgin Media.”
“Nope. I think it’s 30 ish. Or maybe 50. I know it’s about half the speed of what you lot reckon it is.”
“Er….no… that’s not quite right…so can you tell me the name of the TV package which you currently have with Virgin Media?”
“Ha ! No I can’t. No idea what you call them. I know I reduced it a month or so ago shortly after the Ashes ended. Erm…. Tall ? Grande? “
“Er, no, Mr Bealing, I’m afraid that is not the package you have with us, so I’m afraid as you’ve answered two questions incorrectly we cannot continue this conversation”
“Ok then” I tried unsuccessfully to sound disappointed. She was clearly crestfallen.
“I am really sorry, Mr Bealing, but I do need you to answer these questions of verification, otherwise I cannot help you.”
“But you called me?”
“YOU called ME . On my mobile. For starters, why didn’t you call me on my landline? At least you’d know you were calling the right house? But I was going along fine, not aware that I needed anything Virgin Media-wise until you called me. I didn’t call YOU to ask for anything. YOU called ME ! “
“It’s a procedural thing, sir. We would have called your landline and received no answer so we called your cellphone.”
“Well no, you didn’t, but that’s by-the-by. You called me to sell me something. But because I don’t keep a note of a password I use once every other luna equinox, or know your code names for Television packages, you are prevented from selling me anything. Something wrong with your system, I reckon, don’t you?”
She’d begun to go all Westworld on my ass. “It’s a procedural thing, Mr Bealing. I need you to answer these questions of verification, otherwise I cannot help you.”
“Ok then. Byeee”. I pressed the Fuckoffthen button on my mobile. My legendarily long patience had suddenly deserted me. I was left to consider where I was before the phone call.
Now where was I ? Ah yes, writing a letter of complaint.
“Dear Mr Branston…”
**Tied equal with RBS and Interflora, just behind the British National Party.