“That’ll be 90 bucks, Champ,” barked the halfwit as he handed back my ailing old Nokia. “But there’s still a problem,” I said. “Nah, you’ll be right champ,” he snapped.

“You can drop the attitude, you only work in a shop,” I wanted to say.

It’s with Fair Trading. Add this to a gripe with my ISP and a TIO complaint for Mum, and I feel like I’ve spent weeks bemoaning the state of customer service in this country.

Just ask any ‘Vodafail’ customer.

Outsourced ‘service’ is sending us around the twist. Apathy in service jobs is rampant. Particularly among younger gens inclined to believe they’re above actually working for a living. Call anyone for support, and just watch your inbox fill with redundant surveys asking if we’re happy with the service we didn’t receive in the first place. “Is there anything else I can help you with?”

“You haven’t helped me to start with,” we scream in desperation several hours later.

I like to think I know a bit about service, having trained call centre reps. Once you realise that, paradoxically, the priority for consultants is getting off the phones, it’s often easier to demand a call back from a team leader. Of course it’s always a bonus when you don’t get transferred to the fax. Or my personal favourite — being put on hold, only to hear the dreaded ‘beep, beep’ of the terminated call.

I haven’t yet warmed to the self-service check-outs in supermarkets. But I am looking forward to the GPS trolleys that can tell us which aisles to peruse, calculating our subtotal as we go. Perhaps the creators of Grindr could unite with Media Cart for the penultimate gay shopping experience.

Online shopping continues to flourish. You can pay for Starbucks with your smartphone. Bring it on, I say. The sky’s the limit. I look forward to the day I punch my shopping list into my phone, which navigates me through the aisles, then pays at the check-out. Even better, just synch my shopping list to the supermarket for home delivery. The fewer people involved, the better.

Most of us have a bad customer service story or several. Anything has to be better than dealing with these infuriating drones under the painful misapprehension they give good service. Like that homophobic Neanderthal at the phone store.

Yes, bring on self-service everything!

Until then, I guess we’ll be left waiting on hold and thanked for our patience.

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