- Telephone helplines where the person reads from a script
Thursday, 31 May 2018
I like to see myself as an easy-going fella who can smile at adversity and not take life too seriously. Yet, over the last few weeks, a number of situations succeeded in triggering annoyance, even rage. Here are five of my most snarl-inducing experiences.
Information technology is awesome, enabling us to access the answer to any question at the touch of a button. In contrast, when it goes awry, it can cause such teeth-grinding frustration. Recently, my Internet connection ceased to function so I rang the provider to speak to an expert technician. The subsequent telephone conversation went something like this:
ME: Hi there. I can’t get an Internet connection. I’ve checked that the cables are all plugged in correctly and I’ve tried switching my router on and off, but I still can’t get online. So could I talk to a technician please?
HELPER: OK – what I’d like you to do first is to switch your router off, leave it for 10 seconds, and then switch it back …
ME: I’ve already done that – can you just put me through to one of your techy people
*Shuffling of papers*
HELPER: Would you now check the cable leading from your computer to the router and ensure that it …
Give me strength! If I was more compassionate I’d recognise what a shit, poorly-paid job it is working in a call centre but, at this particular moment, I want to put my fist through the telephone line and punch him in the face.
2. People who believe they are transparent
There’s a football match I’m eager to watch so I’ve arrived at the pub early in order to obtain a seat with a full view of the television. I’m enjoying my third pint of cask ale when the game starts, and then … some bloke stands directly in my eye line, totally obscuring my view. I wait a while, expecting him to soon realise the error of his ways, but no, he remains oblivious.
After a few seconds of staring at the fella’s back, I shout, ‘Excuse me; could you move to the side so I can see the TV.’
He turns and looks at me with disdain – like he’s just seen me shit on his dining table – and, grudgingly, moves a few millimetres. If I wasn’t such a wimp – and he wasn’t four-foot wide with neck scarring and tattoos – I’d have stood up and confronted him.
Instead, I seethe in silence, muttering into the froth of my beer.
3. Pedestrians who don’t give way
I’m walking along the pavement/sidewalk with Mrs Jones when I notice three people, side-by-side, walking towards me. While my lady and I make some effort to make space for them, by turning to the side or adopting a one-in-front-of-the-other formation, they march on, three abreast, brushing us away from their flight path. Did they not notice us? Did they see us but thought, ‘Fuck you – we’re much more important?’
I vow that when I next meet such blinkered on comers I will stand my ground and shoulder them into the oncoming traffic (that is as long as they are not four-foot wide with neck scars and tattoos).
4. When restaurants run out of your favoured menu choice
Following a detailed inspection of the restaurant’s menu, enticingly displayed in the front window, we enter and are shown to our seats. While the internal hunger monster forces saliva out of the corner of our mouths, we eagerly order our favoured dishes, only for the waiter to say,
‘Sorry sir, but we’ve run out of the goat’s cheese starter and the salmon main.’
Perhaps because he’s noticed my disappointment, he adds, ‘We’ve been really busy today.’
OK, so it’s the previous customers at fault for woofing down my cheese and salmon; the no-shows in the menu have nothing at all to do with the incompetence of the restaurant manager and in-house chef. After all, how could they know that demand might increase a bit on a bank holiday?
5. The blanket coverage of the royal wedding
I have zero interest in the royal family. All that pomp, tradition and elitism leave me cold. So when Prince Harry recently hooked up with some wench called Megan Markle this royal wedding held the same allure for me as hearing about the marriage of a couple of strangers – that is, no interest at all.
Nonetheless, in the days leading up to the ceremony I was forced to endure blanket coverage by the media. Newspapers devoted page after page to the ‘happy event’. The TV news channels dedicated hour after hour to such riveting stuff as who would walk Meg down the aisle, what her wedding dress would look like, and whether Harry would opt for a pre-ceremony bowel movement or wait until after the service – OK, I made that last one up; but now I think about it, his colonic activity would have been more interesting than all the other guff.
On the wedding day itself, Mrs Jones and I decided to escape the frenzy and hysteria by taking a very long walk in the hills that overlook our town. The solitude of the countryside was bliss. But when we opted for a pit stop in a rural village tavern, over the top of the bar was a small TV showing – you’ve guessed it – the royal wedding. Behind us, a group of middle-aged ladies excitedly discussed the wonders of the current queen, princes and princesses. Give me strength!
The sooner the UK morphs into a republic the better.
Photo courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net