7 Dec 2003

Argie Barji

I was in yesterday, on my day off, for no extra money to put up Christmas decorations to surprise Bernard, the Call Centre Operations manager. Brenda has been planning it for days, “I want to get the ‘wow factor’ when he walks in the office.”

She didn’t turn up. She left it to Janice, Tony and I.

For who’s benefit is all this for?

I often ask this question to myself at times like this. I suppose the text-book response is ‘The Customer’. I expect Mrs Norris of Bath couldn’t give a flying figgy pudding if we Christmas decorations or not; she just wants her reusable DVD wipes in time to entertain her guests at Christmas.

Is it for the benefit of the staff that I am clambering over desks and swinging from post to post with only a swivel chair saving me from certain death? What possible pleasure can they get from golden streamers and plastic Santas?

Ultimately, Brenda has it right, Bernard is going to get the most from the idea that the Team Manager’s have pulled together to “make the Call Centre come alive” to “motivate the staff.”

Once we had finished, we sat back and admired our work, “It looks like our local tandori.” Tony said.

There’s been nervousness around the place since the latest news of call centres moving to India. “I heard that they work 14 hours a day, 6 days a week, without a break, for the price of a chicken tikka masala.” I overheard Tizzy talking to one of the temps earlier in the week.

“Well most of them are graduates and they are TRAINED to speak in different British accents. They can get extra pay for every accent they master.” Greg, the Artful Dodger chipped in.

“What like, if you can a brummy accent you get an extra samsosa every week?” Simon, the Craig David looky-likey, asked.


“Can you imagine if they introduced that in this call centre? I can’t understand a word those people from Birmingham say.” Tizzy said, looking worried.

The Plague-Carrier, another one of the temps, joined in. “As Mike Harding once said: Brummies don’t talk, they sing, and if you haven’t got the words, yer buggered.”

They all had a go at a Birmingham accent. It sounded like an episode of Crossroads sponsored by Bobby Davro.