Tuesday, 14 November 2006

BT'ing BT

One thing that has always bugged me, and I'm sure it does most of you, is to sit down at the dinner table only to be interrupted by a phone call from a telemarketer. And I am a sales trainer!!! What about the man or woman in the street with no experience of these...they must hate it even more! I decided, on one such occasion, to try to be as irritating as they were to me. The call was from BT and it went something like this:
Me: Hello
BT: Hello, this is BT...
Me: Is this BT?
BT: Yes, this is BT...
Me: This is BT?
BT: Yes This is BT...
Me: Is this BT?
BT: YES! This is BT, may I speak to Mr. Moore please?
Me: May I ask who is calling?
BT: This is BT.
Me: OK, hold on.
At this point I put the phone down for a solid 5 minutes thinking that, surely, this person would have hung up the phone. I ate my salad. Much to my surprise, when I picked up the receiver, they were still waiting.
Me: Hello?
BT: Is this Mr. Moore?
Me: May I ask who is calling please?
BT: Yes this is BT...
Me: Is this BT?
BT: Yes this is BT...
Me: This is BT?
BT: Yes, is this Mr. Moore?
Me: Yes, is this BT?
BT: Yes sir.
Me: The phone company?
BT: Yes sir.
Me: I thought you said this was BT.
BT: Yes sir, we are a phone company.
Me: I already have a phone.
BT: We aren't selling phones today Mr. Moore.
Me: Well whatever it is, I'm really not interested but thanks for calling.

When you are not interested in something, I don't think you can express yourself any plainer than by saying "I'm really not interested," but this lady was persistent.

BT: Mr. Moore, we would like to offer you 10 pence a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Now, I am sure she meant she was offering a "rate" of 10 pence a minute, but she at no time used the word "rate." I could clearly see that it was time to whip out the old calculator and do a little creative accounting.

Me: Now, that's 10 pence a minute 24 hours a day?
BT: (getting a little excited at this point by my interest) Yes sir, that's right! 24 hours a day!
Me: 7 days a week?
BT: That's right.
Me: 365 days a year?
BT: Yes sir.
Me: I am definitely interested in that! Wow!!! That's amazing!
BT: We think so!
Me: That's quite a sum of money!
BT: Yes sir, it's amazing how it adds up.
Me: OK, so will you send me cheques weekly, monthly or just one big one at the end of the year for the full £52,560, and if you send an annual cheque, can I get a cash advance?
BT: Excuse me?
Me: You know, the 10 pence a minute.
BT: What are you talking about?
Me: You said you'd give me 10 pence a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That comes to £144 per day, £1,008 per week and £52,560 per year. I'm just interested in knowing how you will be making payment.
BT: Oh no, sir, I didn't mean we'd be paying you. You pay us 10 pence a minute.
Me: Wait a minute here!!! Didn't you say you'd give me 10 pence a minute? Are you sure this is BT?
BT: Well, yes this is BT sir but......
Me: But nothing, how do you figure that by saying that you'll give me 10 pence a minute that I'll give you 10 pence a minute? Is this some kind of subliminal telemarketing scheme? I've read about things like this in the papers. Don't use your alien brainwashing techniques on me.
BT: No sir, we are offering 10 pence a minute for.....
Me: THERE YOU GO AGAIN! Can I speak to a supervisor please!
BT: Sir, I don't think that is necessary.
Me: I insist on speaking to a supervisor!
BT: Yes Mr. Moore. Please hold.

So now BT has me on hold and my supper is getting cold. I begin to eat while I'm waiting for a supervisor. After a wait of a few minutes and while I have a mouth full of food:

Supervisor: Mr. Moore?
Me: Yes?
Supervisor: I understand you are not quite understanding our 10 pence a minute program.
Me: Is this BT?
Supervisor: Yes sir, it sure is.

I had to swallow before I choked on my food. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter and I had to be careful not to laugh out loud.

Me: No, actually, I was just waiting for someone to get back to me so that I could sign up for the plan where you give me 10 pence a minute.
Supervisor: OK, no problem, I'll transfer you back to the person who was helping you.
Me: Thank you.

I was on hold once again and managed a few more mouthfuls. I needed to end this conversation. Suddenly, there was an aggravated but polite voice at the other end of the phone.

BT: Hello Mr. Moore, I understand that you are interested in signing up for our plan?
Me: Do you have that friends and family thing because you can never have enough friends and I'm an only child and I'd really like to have a little brother...
BT: (click)
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