Picture of a judge's wigThe Judge RANTS!Picture of a judge's wig

Date: 23/07/08

Disservice Centre

Sometimes you don't know whether the proper response to something is a guffaw of glee or a scream of frustrated rage.

A colleague had a problem with his workstation monitor this morning. The mains cable was loose.

In the olden times, back when we were so terribly inefficient that we carried our own IT support staff on the strength, he would just have phoned me or a colleague and one of us would have gone across the building to sort it out.

But that's not cost-effective, efficient or dynamic enough for a modern, thrusting (*) Depratment in a State, so now he had to phone our handy-dandy, outsourced Service Centre. The following conversation between my colleague and one of their 'agents' ensued:

Colleague: "I've got a problem with the connection between my base unit and the VDU."

'Agent': "How are you spelling that?"

Colleague: "Pardon?"

'Agent': "How are you spelling that?"

Colleague: "Is this some sort of wind-up?"

'Agent': "No."

Colleague (slowly and deliberately): "V....D....U"


'Agent': "I've only just started working here...."

Yes, ladies and gentlemen! These are your tax pounds at work! Who needs knowledgeable backroom staff when you can pay a large foreign-owned corporation to drag people off the street to read from a script!

(And in case you were wondering: no, the call centre isn't in India. It's in Birmingham)

(And in case you were wondering again: no, I like Birmingham. In fact, I was there only yesterday)

(* Think of another context in which the word 'thrusting' is often used and you'll see the similarity)