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As is so often the case these days, we sign up to contracts and agreements which require us to provide credit card details or authority to direct debit our bank accounts. Every few years, the credit card details need updating. 

And so it was, that this particular morning that my Mum, Redhead, valiantly attempted to renew her card details by phoning her internet provider and prepared herself for the normal " your call is important to us " stuff and, with luck and a fair wind, get through to someone before the card came up for expiry again a few years down the track.

And that is when it got interesting.

Her patience and fortitude paid off and was soon talking with a " very nice young man ' from India. Now, Redhead is not too flash with accents, so he could have been Indian, Philipino or Irish... but I am punting that she was on the money this time and he was indeed Indian. Most call centres these days are Indian or Philipino and I personally find the Indian accents far easier to understand than the others... perhaps because I love Bollywood movies and watched every episode of " It Ain't Half Hot Mum" when I was a kid. 


But back to the phone call. 

The " very nice young man " from India asked her to type the numbers of her new card. She diligently did so. Something didn't work and her typing didn't seem to register at the other end of the phone. Could she please try entering them again? Over and over again, the numbers were seemingly ignored and over and over again, she typed until she was pounding out the numbers with an energy that, had she been playing tennis, would have been Ace serves each and every time. The tension was palpable. After what seemed like 15,034 attempts at bashing in the numbers, she finally exclaimed " I never had this trouble with my old provider! They used to just take the money and I never, EVER had this sort of problem! " 

Forget the fact that her old provider had a direct debit set up, not a credit card payment……

The very nice young Indian man apologised and said that he could not understand what was going wrong. In fact, it was as though she was not typing anything on her phone keypad. It was most peculiar.

Redhead looked down and saw the problem. She had been sitting at her computer desk and pounding out the numbers on the computer keyboard, not the telephone. 

The nice young man assured her that all was well and they finished their call with warm congratulations all around and apologies to each other. He no doubt hung up and nipped off to shoot himself or find a really good therapist.

Redhead might be a Red Head, but she was left Red Faced and I might add that she has a brother named Dick….


It reminded me of something I wrote some time ago when I DID NOT have Gout….

“ ….Mum called later in the afternoon. I had fallen asleep. The phone woke me. I reached over to the bedside table and picked up my empty tea cup. Realising my error, I put it down, grabbed the phone and then pressed the answer button. The TV turned on. Third time lucky, I grabbed the phone handset and it worked! Apparently tea cups and TV remotes don’t function as telephones… you learn something new every day.

Later, I wondered if maybe I was developing dementia and had simply forgotten that I had dropped a 10 kg Acme weight on my ankle. Perhaps I might call my Doctor on the tea cup and see what he thinks. “

What I do know is that the recording of the call between the call Centre bloke and Redhead will no doubt be sent straight to HR to be used in all future training sessions for the bit about “ How to stay calm under stress. “ The young man will be Employee of the Month and, at future Staff training sessions, they will visit him in the psych ward and laud his calm under pressure. His gnawed off limbs and frequent mutterings “ please don’t make me talk to people over 80 again “ will be used to train staff that sometimes, just sometimes, the customer isn’t always right.

Back to Redhead:

I plan to give her a call shortly on the TV and ask her if she has having trouble with her teacup as mine doesn’t seem to be working. Maybe the nice Indian chap could help sort it… assuming he isn’t in therapy right now or being hauled off to the Funny Farm by the Men in the Long White Coats…..


Redhead is coming up 90 so I suppose she can be forgiven!

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