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Warning: this post contains strong language

October 13, 2020

Yesterday I had occasion to phone one of Her Majesty’s prisons. An inmate has enrolled for an Open University philosophy course and I was calling to speak to the Education Officer and arrange a telephone tutorial for the student. My heart sank as I was met with a recorded message, which – of course – proceeded to go through all those ghastly stock phrases that you get these days whenever you call any sort of institution, be it a prison, a bank, a university, an insurance company or the council. 

‘If you know the extension you require…’  If I knew the fucking extension I’d have called it, wouldn’t I?

You may wish to visit our website…’ No, no, I don’t. Trust me, I really don’t. 

Please listen carefully to the following options…’ Like I have a choice?

Your call may be recorded for training or monitoring purposes…’  I bet you don’t make the trainees or monitors listen to this bit, though, do you? So why make me? 

And, perhaps most irritating of all, ‘Your call is important to us…’ No, it isn’t. It clearly isn’t. If it was you’d pick up the fucking phone, wouldn’t you? 

I had to wait two minutes and fifteen seconds before I got to speak to anyone. Two minutes and fifteen seconds of my life wasted listening to these maddening, mind-numbing clichés; and even then I still had to wait to be put through to the Education Officer. And for what purpose? Whom does it benefit? The Education Officer got to speak to me two and a quarter minutes later than she would have done if a living person had picked up the phone straight off – how does that help either her or me? 

I did manage to arrange a date for the telephone tutorial in the end. But I made sure that the prison will phone me for itI’m not fucking going through that fucking waste of fucking time again.


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One Comment
  1. Simon Carter permalink

    As Billy Connolly observed, no other word adds such emphasis. Fuck off, he hinted just doesn’t work.

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