The future’s grim, the future’s a mobile phone company

Hi everybody,

I just thought I’d share the funniest thing I’ve encountered today. I have a mobile phone which has been switched off since about August, i.e. when I couldn’t hold it or dial it. I have been meaning to cancel the contract since then but things seem to have been rather busy.

I made time to do this today, with the help of my friend Simon. The conversation very roughly played out as follows:

Simon negotiated the never-ending automated system and found a human being to speak to.

Simon: "Hello there, I wonder if you could help me. I’m calling on behalf of my friend but he is unable to speak very well."

Person 1: "Certainly sir, we will have to clarify security details first."

Simon provided the information requested, which I had given him earlier.  

"Thank you sir, all I need to do now is verify some details with the account holder."

Me: "Hello, I am the account holder."

We then ran through the same details again and following the satisfaction of Person 1 she agreed to transfer us through to the disconnection department.

Person 2: "Hallo Sir, how can we help you today?"

Me: "I would like to close my account please."

Person 2: "Oh, why is that Sir? I can see that you have been with us for a considerable period of time."

Me: "It is because I am dying."

Person 2: "Oh, I see. But the deals we have on offer for loyal customers such as yourself are a really excellent."

Me: "Really, I’m not interested in any deal, and I just want to close the account."

Person 2: "It includes a new handset, and millions of free texts and calls."

Simon: "Hello, I am speaking on behalf of my friend. He is not joking, he really is terminally ill."

Person 2: "Okay, but the deals he could have are just amazing!"

A pointless description of the perks being offered now follows until we get to the point where the 12 month contract is mentioned.

Simon: "Look he really is dying."

Person 2: "Okay, what about if we gave your friend a couple of months extra free?"

Me (now in fits of laughter that my ventilator alarm beeps!): "Well if he can do that then you are in a better man than every person on my medical team!"

Simon and me: "I really really am dying. It isn’t a windup. You think I might be able to cancel my contract?"

Person 2: "Yes Sir, I’ll do that right away."

And that was that. We honestly did not know whether to carry on laughing as we had done throughout the call, jump in a taxi to which other call centre in India or wherever he was, and insert my mobile phone swiftly followed by my mobile phone contract into an orifice from which it would need a surgical procedure to remove!

Made us laugh anyway, I hope it does you too!

Much love,
Neil


This really did happen, and it went on for a lot longer than Neil had the energy to describe here. I have a vivid memory of hearing this phone call from Oscar’s bedroom. I must have been changing a nappy or letting him come round after a nap but I remember sitting on Oscar’s floor with Simon’s partner Rhona. We were aware of Simon and Neil making a phone call so, we were being quiet which is why we both naturally started to listen to the conversation, it was on speakerphone so we could hear both sides.   

I remember rolling my eyes and shaking my head as Neil was made to repeat all the security questions directly after Simon had relayed all the answers and had clearly explained why he was speaking for his friend. We thought that was bad enough. Then it progressed into trying to keep him as a customer, and I remember Rhona and I sitting on the floor, wide eyed with mouths open, when we realised which way the conversation was going. We were holding our breath trying not to laugh so that we didn’t miss a word of the conversation, which was difficult to hear through all the beeping coming from the ventilator alarm as Neil laughed.

When the conversation came to an end there was an air of ‘did that really happen?’ If he were still with us today, I know this would be an anecdote that Neil would be dragging out at every dinner party. – Louise (2013)

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THE THIN SPACE BETWEEN LIFE AND DEATH
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