OPINION: It’s a bit of a shock, just before Christmas, to find out that you no longer exist.
One minute you’re there for everyone to see – the next you find out you’ve been written off; erased; erased from the face of the earth.
Well, it might not be that drastic, but finding out that you were unintentionally banned from the most recent phone book is definitely a blow to your morale.
You suddenly feel like a non-person.
To make matters worse, my wife suffered the same fate. It too has been erased without leaving a trace. This is the kind of situation that conspiracy theorists thrive on.
Are we being hunted down by the GCSB and punished for sending funds to a Syrian refugee? After all, everyone in the Middle East belongs to ISIS, don’t they?
Will we, like our names, suddenly disappear; taken to a black CIA site somewhere just outside of Waimate for questioning? Suddenly I know how key witnesses to JFK’s assassination felt. Maybe I should see if there is a pre-Christmas sale on Kevlar bulletproof vests at The Warehouse.
Yeah, okay, I’m in the realm of fantasy here, but you have to admit, it’s strange that Jill and I’s names suddenly, and without any request from us, were dropped from the repertoire.
We only discovered this omission after leaving a message for a friend asking him to call me back. He later tried to ring our landline, but couldn’t find our names in the last phone book. Fortunately, he still had my cell phone number and was able to contact me about it, announcing that when it came to the white pages, I was ancient history.
Jill, on whose behalf the phone account is held, called White Pages to find out why we were so bluntly excluded from Timaru’s phone book. She received a recorded message telling her that if she called about the home phone book, she should call her service provider.
“This call is now over,” the post concludes, quite appropriately – and worryingly.
So my wife called Spark in order to get enlightenment. First, she was told there was a two hour delay to answer calls (obviously the only “customer service” person Spark employed was on tea break) and that she would receive a callback.
Sure enough, she received a call back and was told that the omission of our names could be rectified in the next number in the directory.
To this, she replied that being kicked out of the current book without any request from us was very inconvenient and that she expected some form of compensation.
To which Mr Spark responded by saying that they would look into the matter “to find out where the fault is and get back to you within 48 hours”.
Five days later, we were still waiting for the call back. Maybe they were looking for our number in the phone book. God might have finished His work on the seventh day, but Spark certainly hadn’t, so we called them back.
Needless to say, we have the silly robotic voice that can never figure out what service you want.
“Tell me in a few words what service do you need? “
“Poor management of the phone book.”
“Directory inquiries? “
“Let me just put you in touch with someone who can help you. ”
“The current wait time is two hours.”
Unlike the previous occasion, this time we did not have the opportunity to be called back. So I, who had taken over phone service while my wife was lying in a dark room, was faced with the prospect of sitting around for a few hours on a hot, smelly day, listening to an endless stream of music. music chosen by someone else while Spark deigned to answer my call.
Needless to say, I gave up very quickly, which I guess is the subject of these large companies that employ so few telephone operators – it is abusive to call them customer service reps because their employers don’t. no intention to provide “service”.
Big businesses that can’t provide a system where you can reach them with one phone call that doesn’t last into the next decade or so don’t deserve anyone’s custom. But what choice do we have? Such is the joy of the modern “competitive” business environment.
I probably stepped on a few toes with my grays in this column.
However, I’m sure no one can call me to complain.
They won’t be able to find my number.