Becky says things about … customer service

So, Listener. You’ve popped along to my blog expecting to hear me say things. Is that right? Well do you know what? Why don’t you just get the hell out of my face and never darken my door again. I just cannot be bothered to say anything, and what’s more, you mean nothing to me. NOTHING I TELL YOU. In fact, I would go so far as to say I DESPISE YOU AND EVERYTHING THAT YOU STAND FOR. Now GET OUT.

That, Listener, was an example of extremely poor customer service. It wasn’t very nice, was it? No. Do I feel bad for saying those terrible things? Of course I do. I hate myself. I shall go without peanut butter for a month to punish myself. Please accept these flowers by way of apology.


But, as we all know, modern life can vomit up the most abominable examples of poor customer service, and I have a magnificent example for you. Observe.

You may have noticed that I have not said a lot of things recently (if you hadn’t noticed, that’s fine. We’ll overlook it just this once. Next time there will be hellish consequences). This is because my phoneline died a very sudden and inconvenient death, and thus my Internet connection vanished.

I was peeved, Listener. However, I was confident that together, O2 and BT, the multi-multi-multi million pound companies that provide my phone line and Internet connection, would sort it out in no time.

I rang O2.

I spoke to someone. They immediately asked me for my home phone  number. I did not know my home phone number because I do not use my home phone, I only use the Internet connection. I was assured they could go no further with my query without a home phone number.

I hung up. I spent an hour looking for my home phone number. I found my home phone number.

I rang O2.


I spoke to a 2nd person. I offered my home phone number. ‘Oh, we don’t need that, don’t worry.’ I was a little nettled, Listener, I don’t mind admitting – but it was no big deal.

The 2nd person went on to tell me to unscrew the front of my phone socket.


‘Yes. I need you to see who provides your phoneline.’

‘I know who provides my phoneline. BT provides my phoneline.’

‘I still need you unscrew the front of the phone socket.’

‘I’ll need a screwdriver for that. I don’t have a screwdriver to hand. I have to find a screwdriver.’

I hung up. I found a screwdriver. I unscrewed the front of my phone socket.

By this time, I was muttering rather irately to myself.


I rang O2.

I spoke to a 3rd person. I offered them my home phone number. ‘Oh, we don’t need that, don’t worry.’ I told them I had unscrewed the front of my phone socket. ‘Oh, really? What does it say underneath?’ I told them it said BT. ‘In that case, BT provides your phoneline.’

‘I know BT provides my phoneline. I have known this all along. It says BT on the front of the phone socket. Are you telling me I have removed the front of my phone socket unnecessarily?’

‘Can you attach a phone to the socket?’

‘There is a phone attached to the socket.’

‘And there’s no dial tone?’

‘That is correct.’

‘Your line seems to be dead.’


‘I know my line is dead. That is literally the point of my call. My phoneline is dead.’

‘Looks like you have a fault, then. We’ll get on to BT. It should be fixed within three working days. Would you rather they contact you on your home phone or mobile phone?’

‘…My home phone is dead. We have ascertained this. Again, that is the point of my call.’

‘Right, yes. Your mobile then?’

‘That would be best, yes.’

So I got on with my life. My Internetless life. Every day I received a text from O2 assuring me they were diligently working on my home phone fault. My confidence in an army of people frantically working on my home phone fault at the telephone exchange remained steadfast. I imagined it to be like in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory when Mr Salt has a factory full of hundreds of workers furiously searching for a golden ticket in thousands of chocolate bars.


It got to day four. My phoneline was still dead.

I rang O2.

I spoke to a 4th person.

‘You have a fault with your BT phoneline.’

‘Yes. I know.’

I was put on hold.

‘There are no notes on the system. I’m sure they’re working on it at the exchange. Give it another 24 hours and if you don’t hear from us, ring us back.’

I gave it another 24 hours. I didn’t hear from them.

I rang O2.

I spoke to a 5th person.

‘You have a fault with your BT phoneline.’

‘Yes. I know.’

I was put on hold.

‘A BT engineer needs to come to the property to fix the fault. The next appointment in your area is 3,405,064 light years from now and they will turn up between the hours of 9am on a Wednesday and 11pm the following Monday.’


So the Thursday six days later, after six days of receiving texts reminding me of the impending appointment and the fact that I would be charged £50 if I wasn’t at home when the BT engineer turned up between the hours of 8am and 1pm, I booked the hours of 8am to 1pm off work and waited to be connected to the world again.

I waited. I was alert and sniffing the air, like a coked-up meerkat. I couldn’t concentrate, Listener. Every sound, every car engine, every footstep from outside made me bolt to the window like an excitable terrier.

By 12.45pm I was becoming sweaty, violent, and desperate.


At 1pm on the dot, I rang O2.

I spoke to a 6th person. I told them I had lost half a day’s work and the BT engineer had NOT turned up, and did he propose to give me the £50 that I would’ve had to pay him if the BT engineer had turned up and I hadn’t been there?

I was put on hold.

‘Right, I’m looking at your notes and the engineer’s at the exchange now, fixing your problem from there. He’ll give you a call in half an hour.’

He promised me a goodwill gesture, money off my next bill, a dinner and dance, the stars, the moon, a holiday in Vegas, and Llama.

I hung up. I waited a further two hours. No one came to fix my phone line.

By this time, I was nearing a point that could be considered dangerous.


I rang O2.

I spoke to a 7th person. I told her what the 6th person had said. She went to find him to confirm. I was put on hold. I pulled my thumb off with some pliers.

The 7th person came back and said ‘Yeah, my colleague didn’t say categorically that the BT engineer was fixing your fault from the exchange and would call you within half an hour – my colleague was just conjecturing.’

I injected some heroin into my eyeball.

‘Okay, your colleague definitely said it categorically. He said ‘The BT engineer is at the exchange and will call me within half an hour.’ He was quite categorical about it. A conjecture should have been prefixed with ‘I think‘ or ‘I conjecture that the BT engineer is at the exchange’. He did not say that. He said he looked at my notes.’

‘Well there are no notes here. I’m sorry if you misinterpreted what my colleague said. I can’t tell you why the BT engineer didn’t turn up, I don’t know where he is and there’s no way of contacting him. You’ll receive a call from us tomorrow to sort it out.’


I was so inhumanely furious I ate an entire sharing bag of Malteasers and had a bath.

The next day, the Friday, I received a call from O2. I spoke to an 8th person. She rebooked the BT engineer appointment for the following Monday. I was assured he would definitely turn up.

The following day, I received a call from O2. I spoke to a 9th person. I was informed that when the 8th person had booked my appointment the day before, there had been a fault in their system, and there was in fact no appointment booked for Monday, and the earliest appointment was Thursday.

I shut my head in the oven door.


For the next couple of days I received texts from O2 telling me not to forget that a BT engineer was coming to my property on Thursday to fix my home phone fault, and I checked into an asylum.

On Tuesday morning – that’s Tuesday morning, Listener, Tuesday, I cannot emphasise this enough – I received a call whilst I was at work.

‘Hi, I’m a BT engineer, I’m outside your property and I need access to fix your home phone fault.’


I took a sedative, pictured turquoise waves rippling over my toes, and asked my colleague to remove all sharp objects from within an arm’s reach.

‘What are you doing outside my property? I was not expecting you until Thursday. I expected you last Thursday, then I was expecting you this Thursday, and now it’s the Tuesday in between and you are at my property and I am not there because you are not supposed to be there.

‘Oh, right. Well, yeah, this fault’s been sitting on our fault list for a while, so we thought we’d get on and do it.’

‘That’s extraordinarily nice of you.’ You know, to do your job.

‘You can wait until Thursday when we can come back, or…’

‘NO. No. Stay exactly where you are.’

Fortunately, fathers always manage to save the day. My father was at hand. He let them in. The fault was sorted in ten minutes. I ate two doughnuts and begged my boss to be allowed to go for a gin. He said no. So I lay under my desk for a few hours and tenderly cuddled a stapler.


I have the Internet again, Listener. It’s not so bad, is it? It only took nearly three weeks to fix. That’s not so bad, is it?

Well, actually, yes. It ruddy well is. This is customer service at its most abysmal. Imagine if every business operated with this level of disorganisation, miscommunication and whimsy, and treated their customers like funny little toys they can muck around with.











Sadly, more often than not we have no choice but to just suck it up and get on with it.


I am yet to contact O2 to ask what they will give me to compensate for this ludicrous situation. I don’t quite feel emotionally ready for that.

I am still getting texts from O2 reminding me that a BT engineer is coming to fix my home phone fault on Thursday.

70 thoughts on “Becky says things about … customer service

  1. Oh god, I want to ask my boss if I can go for a gin just from reading that. The most joyful thing is that they will probably verbally apologise and that’s that…nothing you can do except, oh yes, tell the world how awful they are on your blog! Nice Work….

  2. Oh Becky, I’m soo sorry they put you through all that… I sure hope they’re reading this though. Who knows, maybe the eighth person ( whom you unfortunately didn’t get to speak with, stand up guy, really lol) read this, printed it out and pinned it to the ” happy customer” board for a laugh… Hehe, nice writing as usual Becky!

    1. Hopefully.I’d like to think they realise that they are forcing their customers to shut their heads in oven doors and injecting heroin into their eyeballs.
      Thank you for your sympathy 🙂

  3. Best Becky post ever! Ever!

    These huge companies are infuriating. They have us by the balls and could give two shits about how we’re treated. Go ahead and leave; who else can you get a phone line from, sir? Gah!

    Thanks for the grins.

    1. Exactly. And can individuals be held accountable for patently LYING to me down the phone? No they can’t. Becuase they can just hide behind the other millions of people working with them.
      The world is buggered.
      Glad my pain made you grin 😉

  4. This was hilarious! I’m sure you did not think so at the time though. I don’t feel so bad now that I spent three hours on the phone trying to dissect a 19 cent charge I wasn’t sure of and then had to all the legwork myself to get to the bottom of things! 🙂 Keep us laughing Becky!

      1. Oh no! Yours was more so. I didn’t know why the 19 cents was deducted and no one could figure out what company deducted it. I only wanted to make sure someone didn’t have access to my account and later took out a large amount. They would have been a mite surprised though. 😉 That would have be traumatic!

        1. How bizarre. You’d think if someone was going to sneakily withdraw money from your account they’d go for more than 19 cents! Maybe it was a first-time scammer who was just finding his feet… 😉

  5. OMG I have so been there. You want to reach through the phone and throttle somebody. It’s especially fun if you need medication or something. That’s almost as life-threatening as loss of internet (I think I get actual shakes when mine is down.)

    1. It wasn’t actually the internetless existence that got to me – it was the sheer incompetence, the idiocy, the apathy, the infuriating DICKNESS of the companies that made me shake.
      And it wasn’t just throttling I wanted to do. Castration was more preferable.

  6. How did you guys manage to whip Germany?

    Your opening paragraph, the ‘poor customer service’ example, sounded a lot like my last performance review. Did you plant a bug in our conference room? Clever.

    I would think that being without the internet and, specifically, the blogging world, would be a somewhat cathartic, Zen-like exercise in letting go. Didn’t you feel cleansed at all? I’ll bet if BT’s CEO had a dead phone line at home, it’d been fixed toot-sweet. Just sayin’.

    Incidentally, the obscene stature that I posted from Christie’s Modern Art Auction that so rattled you failed to sell. Can you believe nobody wanted that in their home? The mutilated butterflies, however, sold for millions. Sorry. You are my new favorite blogger ever. So funny.

    1. If BT’s CEO had a dead phoneline he’d have the entire workforce on the case, much like I assumed would be the case for my situation. And he’d get a grovelling letter of apology, and a refund, and probably a box of chocolates in the post.
      I’m shocked that no one wanted a grotesque semi naked woman in their home. It would’ve looked nice by the front door, or in the corner next to the cheese plant. 😉
      Glad you’re enjoying my blog – thank you for reading 🙂

    1. Weebs, I’ve had more panic attacks over this whole sorry affair than I’ve had chocolate biscuits, which is NOT a good situation. To be in.
      Nice to have you back, dude, you’ve been missed!

  7. oh, I’m so sorry, Becky! What a nightmare, though sadly I have a friend who went through pretty much the same thing trying to get her email sorted. Though she didn’t say anything about trying to harm herself. But once again you turned an ugly situation into something hysterically funny. Good call! Am glad you’re back online.

    Now about the food: You done good. Maltesers sound delish (though will need to Google as I don’t know what you’re talking about) and big thumbs-up on the donuts. Sorry your boss wouldn’t let you go out for that gin. Would’ve helped a lot.

    But. I have a cocktail for you! Amb and I threw a Halloween party, which you had to miss what with the Internet being down and all. Come over for candy and cocktails when you have a moment. Only bring Stick if he promises not to talk during the movie. (so sweet of him to offer flowers)

    Oh–malted milk balls. Sort of–yours have more of a honeycomb textured center? Yum.

      1. Cocktail party??? This sounds amazing, I’ll check it out.
        Malteasers are AMAZING. They are a staple of British treats. The advert slogan used to be ‘The lighter way to enjoy chocolate’, which fortunately means you can eat six times as much! Hurrah!
        I’ll check out the cocktail party forthwith 😉

  8. It’s amazing how businesses are allowed to run themselves in such a terrible way. I’d say the majority of them do have bad customer service. A good 98% of them. At least you (or maybe just your readers) can laugh about it now. I feel your pain though. I would have been beyond myself. And I would most certainly call to see if you can get some kind of compensation, it’s the least you deserve! And please do let us know if a different person also showed up on Thursday! Lol.

  9. Becky, this is outrageous! They should give you free Internet for life!! That’s what. There’s no need to think about what to say to them. You have it all right here. I think you should send them your post. That will show them. Since they don’t communicate with each other, they have no idea how crappy they’ve been. They should all lose their jobs. Your poor thing. Stab them all in the eyes.

  10. I’m sure we have much better telephone customer service here in California. Unfortunately I get my phone through the internet and when you do that they outsource your customer service to India. I’ve heard they speak very good English there thanks to you fine folks, but I wasn’t allowed to speak to them, only to chat in a chat box on my computer. Much easier to give poor service that way. Hard to yell at them! It took 4 months to get my phone working… Glad you’re back, love the stickman!

    1. Urgh those chat boxes. As you say, an excellent way to give even worse customer service. They don’t even need to put you on hold. They can just sit back from their keyboard, eat their sandwich, have a chat, and watch your sorry arse pleas appear on the screen.
      Stickman loves you too 😉

  11. My favorite post of yours so far, and that’s saying a lot because all of your posts bring the LOLZ. My favorite line: “I was alert and sniffing the air, like a coked-up meerkat.” Mostly because I know that exact feeling, when you’re anticipating something and you just can’t settle down until it happens.

  12. I’d wait for the phone call asking if you wouldn’t mind taking part in a “quick” survey to ask them about their customer service. Then explode.

      1. No-one seems to know how to switch off the automated systems. When the human race has gone, the last voices will be automated phone calls and texts offering PPI and telling you that someone will be along to fix the phone lines. *sigh*

  13. It’s like you’re inside my head! I had a BT issue that lasted three months and I was ready to murder someone… I got £10 compensation for three separate days booked off work. Customer service at its best eh?

    1. Wow, you must have been over the moon with that generous gesture of goodwill. And of course that £10 you got would have been £150 of your money you would’ve had to pay if you hadn’t been there on the three days you took off work and they’d turned up. Isn’t modern life great? 😉

  14. Can I get a summary for this article? It is too long and I have a short attention span. Or maybe make me a pretty book?

  15. This is a bit discouraging, since i will start my very first internship next week and it’s in….. Customer service. i see a lot of aggression in my future…
    Great post though!

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