Wednesday, 13 October 2010

The long goodbye

I disappointed a woman a couple of weeks ago.  Of course, for those who know me, this is nothing new.  The default position for most women, when they come into contact with me, is one of disappointment.  It's just the depth that varies.

However, I do normally have to meet the woman in question before she gets disappointed.  In this case, it was a complete stranger and she was on the other end of the phone.  Having said that, I think Kirstie will eventually get over the upset I caused her.  Well, I hope so, otherwise her decision to work in the Cancellations Team at Sky TV would be seriously misguided.

It was a strange conversation I had with Kirstie.  I'd called to cancel our Sky subscription, and managed to navigate my way through the Seven Circles Menu Of Hell that is their telephone system, eventually choosing the option after the disembodied voice said, "If you're thinking of leaving us, press 4" in a reproachful way.

Given that she was working in the bit of Sky's call centre that gets calls from people choosing option 4, her surprise at being told I wanted to leave was, well, surprising.

"Can I ask why you're thinking of leaving us?" she asked.  (Thinking of leaving?  I'd already thought, thank you.) I imagined her reaching for a box of tissues and bottle of gin, such was the edge to her voice.  Gently, I broke the news to her that I was able to get a better deal from the people who supply us with our broadband and phone service.

"Just hold for one moment," she asked.  So I did.  Then she came back.

"If we can offer you an upgrade, give you free HD channels for six months, would you like to stay?"

"Thanks, but I'll end up paying more in six months, won't I?  Sorry Kirstie, but I would just like to cancel."

"But you've been with us for a long time.  It's a shame."  At this point I imagined her putting together a mixtape of our favourite songs.

"I know.  I remember the good times.  They were fun.  We were young.  But I think we need to move on."

Eventually, I managed to get the message through to Kirstie.

I thought that would be it.  But then I got the letter from Sky.  'We're sorry you're leaving us,' it said.  I read it, sighed and moved on.  It was followed by an email.  'Where did we go wrong?' it asked.

I swear I'm not making this up.

I fully expect to get a home visit from Rupert Murdoch at some point.  He'll show up, probably at two in the morning, tired and emotional and wailing at the top of his voice.  "I can change!  Just give me a chance!"

But it's Kirstie I can't forget.  I still think of her, clearly struggling to cope in one of the worst jobs possible for someone suffering from separation anxiety. Breaking up is hard to do.

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