19 Aug 2003

Cut out the middle man

I had my headset out of its velvet-lined box today and was taking some calls. It reminded me of the good old days, before I was a manager, fielding calls from complaining, unhappy customers, with my usual charming rapport: “you are through to the wrong department, let me put you through to our accounts line.”

On the Drum-Drum line we often get calls from a Minicom operator. They are people who act as the interpreter between a deaf person and a hearing person. Usually they speak like Stephen Hawking because they think they are a Speak and Spell ™ machine, but without the personality.

Today I met the exception. A scouse woman came on: “Hello love. I’m on a minicom, you know the score, I’ve got a moaning owd trout on the other end.”

I didn’t know how to respond, so just mumbled in the right places.

“Good grief love, you better brace yourself, she’s got a right cob on. I don’t know how you put up with this lot all day. I really don’t …”

Can you manage what havoc she could cause at the United Nations?