A Senior Moment: It’s time to replace electronic voices with real people

Someone – I know not who, once said “Inside every small problem is a large problem struggling to get out.” How true.

Last week our telephone went on strike. Dead as the proverbial doornail it was, ‘though why death should be likened to ironmongery I will never know. Something to do with mediaeval practices I think, bashing nails into coffins possibly.

Anyway where was I? Oh yes dead ‘phone. Not a crackle, so as we share a pole here - not literally but you know what I mean, step number one check with neighbours to see if we’re all in it together. Strength in numbers and all that, but no we were on our own. So step two, get on to BT on our mobile and report the fault. Easy peasy?

Well it should be but I have an inbuilt hatred of mobiles. I really should read the instructions but can’t be bothered. It always means hassle as far as I am concerned - to be avoided as far as possible. This was no exception.

You know what’s coming don’t you? One job leads to another. First a flat battery - air now a delicate shade of ultramarine. Then, a few nails later – fingernails that is, no credit left! So more irritating “press one for this press two for that” - ozone rapidly changing from cobalt to Prussian.

Then the problems really started. Have you tried reporting a fault on your ‘phone lately? I remember the days when you simply reported it and an engineer would be round – if not quick as a flash, at least in reasonable time and with no fuss.

These days it takes an age to actually speak to a real person and even when you get past the wall of musical concertos and recorded messages, you have the distinct impression they really don’t want to send out anyone.

First you are told to unplug every thing and plug it all back again, then test the main socket with a “working phone” - rather difficult as none of them were working! Then they put on the frighteners - by warning of a possible £99 charge if the fault is inside the house and to cap it all, at one point even suggesting calling a local electrician.

These old bones do not appreciate clambering around the floor fumbling for plugs amidst the tangle of cables proliferating behind every TV set. Neither do I possess a degree in electronic engineering so I was not a happy chappy by the time the call out was eventually arranged. Thankfully the problem has now been fixed by a very helpful engineer who spent almost as much time going up the pole as I have!

It really is time the suits in charge recognised the damage to their image caused by all this electronic substitution for real people - as long as they can speak understandable English of course. But that’s another problem altogether!