Killing Buzby

For the fourth time since we moved into this flat we have no telephone and no Internet access. For the fourth time, our “service” has been totally suspended with out warning, with no explanation and we are utterly and abjectly pissed off. For the fourth time it has taken 4 days of pain, automated menu systems, arguments, being lied to and apologies from computerised voices to get this far: still no service and the likelihood of nothing until Monday.

So I’m writing this in a text editor for later upload. In fact, I decided to call this text file “blog”, and was amused to discover a previous blog I had written during a previous BT outage.

You may argue that our total dependence on Internet access is a trifle sad and that we should get out more. You’re probably right, but that’s not actually what’s making me ill with anger. It’s BT. A recent report (that I can’t look up until we get Internet access back) blamed the reason for the UK being so behind the rest of Europe in Internet provision solely on BT,
and they’re right. Do a search through my blogs for BT and you’ll see that in the past few years they have given us a service so shit that it looks like it must be deliberate. In fact, I’m now beginning to think it really is deliberate. There’s no way to make your service this shit without actually trying.

No-one likes automated telephone menus systems. But BT’s are so, so bad that they must be taking the piss. Before you can get through to the message telling that you’re about to be put into a queue and maybe you shouldn’t bother because they’re experiencing a very heavy call load, you have to go through 4 levels of menu, type your phone number, have it read back to you and listen to seemingly superfluous ringing tones. An example of one of the clearly obvious wind-ups is as follows:

“Please choose from the following four options. For BT products and services press 1. For….”
“Thank you. Please choose from the following options. If you are interested in BT products or services press 1. Otherwise press 2”

What ? What’s that for ? I pressed 1 which clearly demonstrates I have an interest in BT products and services. So why are you asking me again ?

The whole system is geared towards making you give up and fuck off. What in the social service they call ‘tertiary rationing’: making the bureaucracy so tortuous that people don’t bother to claim their benefits.

But, until yesterday, I was always singlemindedly stubborn and determined to get through to a human and usually did – even if I had to wait half an hour in a queue. But yesterday I broke. In total I was in queues for over hour. In total I was in queues for over an hour, when I should have been working. After 10 or so rings the voice of BT comes on, apologises for the delay, and suggests you go online to sort it out. Don’t take the piss woman! If I could get on-line I would! Eventually I realised I had lost the will to live, threw the phone down and collapsed. Just then the phone rang. It was George from Milton Keynes calling me back to tell me that he hadn’t managed to get through to the engineer who was supposed to be working on my line and so it probably wasn’t going to get fixed. Despite this bad news, I was so overjoyed to hear a human being and so delighted that he had stayed late to call me back, as promised, that the flame in my soul re-lit. Thank you George!

Look BT, London Electricity have kept our lights working consistently for over a year. Thames water have been keeping water flowing in and our turds flowing out for the same time. So why, why, can’t you keep my phone service working for a few months at a time ? Just leave it the fuck alone! Don’t touch it and it will carry on working! What goes on ? Does the tea-boy keep tripping over our line and pulling out in the exchange ? Get him a job at London Electricity, then at least if he does it again he’ll get a serious burn – maybe he’ll be more careful after that.
Everywhere you look nowadays in the UK you see privatised companies destroying their services and coining in more cash for the top level of idle layabouts in their “management team” and we become less and less empowered to stop them. Michele summed it up yesterday [you need to hear her American accent as you read it]: “You know, I can totally see why this country lost the Empire”

I nearly hurt myself laughing…

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