Written by Rob
I rang Santa and got an electronic voice.
“Thank you for calling Saint Nicholas Enterprises Inc. Please select one of the following using your telephone keypad. Dial one for Sales (this is a freephone service). Dial two if you wish to cancel or amend an existing order (this service will be billed at the national rate). Dial three for anything else or just wait for an operator (this service is charged at a premium rate of two pounds sterling per minute).”
I pressed the two and waited. Again, the electronic voice.
“Thank you for calling Saint Nicholas Enterprises Inc. Please select the service you require from the following list using your keypad. If you wish to cancel an order, press one. If you wish to amend an order, press two. For any other service, just hold.”
I pressed two and immediately an electronic rendition of “Jingle Bells” sounded in my ear. After five minutes of jolly jingle, a recorded voice interrupted: “Your call is important to us and we’re doing our very best to get to you as quickly as we can. Unfortunately, we are experiencing very heavy traffic at this time. Saint Nicholas Enterprises Inc. appreciates your patience,” then back to Jingle Bells.
Fifteen minutes later, I got an almighty crunch in my ear, followed by a rustle and a sniff, then a real person, with a real Scouse accent said, “thank you for calling Saint Nicholas Enterprises Inc. My name is Kylie. May I take your order number, please?”
I read from the email confirmation before me “one, one, two, zero, seven, six, zero, five, six, zero, one, one, zero, zero, five.”
“I think that’s your shipment number. I need your order number.”
“Oh sorry, six, five, seven, zero, two, two, five, three, one, zero, six, six.”
“No, that’s your customer number. Your order number should be at the top of the page. It begins seven, six.”
“Oh, is it? Sorry. Ah yes, I’ve got it. Seven, six, two, three, one, two, one, five, nine, nine, three, two, one, two, five, seven.”
“Thankyou. I’m just putting that into our computer for you.” I wait.
“Could you just confirm the first line of your address and your post code for me for security purposes, please?”
“Ninety, that’s nine zero, Belvoires Road, NG -8- 7LX”.
“Thank you. Are you Mister Price?”
“Yes, I am.”
“Thank you Mister Price. How may we help you today?”
“I ordered some shoes for my wife for Christmas on your website. I ordered size five but your email confirmation says size fifteen.”
“Would you like to change the size, Mister Price?”
“Well, yes, of course: size fifteen won’t fit her.”
“There is a ten percent surcharge for changes to order.”
“I’m not paying any surcharge. It’s not my mistake.”
“I can’t authorise any change without a surcharge payment. Would you like to speak with my supervisor?”
The phone goes back to Jingle Bells. Five minutes of merry jingle later, Kylie the Scouser returns.
“Hello Mister Price. Thank you for waiting. My supervisor has waived the surcharge.”
“OK, thanks, that’s good. So can you deliver the size fives?”
“Yes, Mister Price. Let me just check our sleigh schedules. Oh, yes, we have a slot in the Nottingham Area on January fifth. Will that be OK for you?”
“Well, no, the shoes are a Christmas present. I need them today.”
“Ha, ha, ha, today! Mister Price, you’re not being reasonable. It’s Christmas Eve. We can’t deliver today.”
“But I need them for Christmas. I need them before tomorrow. January is no use to me.”
“We need more notice than that.”
“But I didn’t get your order acknowledgement until today. I didn’t know you had made an error. I can’t let you know until I know myself.”
“Let me put you through to our sister organisation Reindeer Inc. Thank you for calling Saint Nicholas Enterprises Inc.” – and I’m back with the jingle.