Saturday, 19 October 2013

Call centre slaves

Whenever I make a telephone call to the bank, the insurance company, or the electricity company, I make a point of saying loud and clear, “Good morning, Kevin / Damir / Maggie / Rachel or whatever name the hapless employee at the other end of the phone gives me. I also thank them by name when I ring off, even though they probably work under an alias. I can’t imagine a more dreadful job than working in a call centre and reading answers from a script, so good manners cannot go amiss.

Easier said than done when I run in from the garden only to find someone trying to sell me double glazing, or pretending to do a survey.  There I have to grit my teeth and remember that the voice at the other end of the line is still a fellow human being trying to make a living. So I growl after I put the phone down on them, not before.

Images courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Monday, 14 October 2013

Living with a non-reader

  I married a non-reader. He reads newspapers and magazines and I’m always amazed that he goes through them cover to cover, whereas I skim or skip whole pages. Fiction, however, is a no-go area. Just not interested.
   So when I sold a short ghost story, I pranced around the sitting room waving the acceptance email under his nose before demanding that he read the story then and there. Five single-spaced pages, is that too much to ask?
   I made a cup of tea, while he got as far as the second page. “This is weird. I don’t understand a word of it.” He stuffed the pages out of sight under his chair. “I’ll finish it later.”
   And under the chair the pages will stay, unread, unappreciated, gathering dust—until I retrieve them and our home life goes back to normal, me with my nose in a book while he watches sport on TV. Why disrupt marital harmony?   

Image courtesy of Gualberto107 at