The Complications of 21st Century Communications

Yesterday, Monday 5th May 2014, I reported a problem with the cable delivering the telephone line to the outside of my house. The cable has become dangerously loose.

I was out of the country for some weeks and have been busy catching up on various matters. My neighbour drew my attention to the matter this week-end. It being a bank holiday, I thought to leave the matter, but on seeing for myself the urgency of the possibilities, I decided to try to communicate with British Telecom, who, through their most unhelpful robotic system of communication, told me it was a matter for the individual company with whom I had my telephone account so I phoned the TalkTalk helpline – and succeeded in talking to an operator in India.

After a somewhat protracted process of questions, answers, and laboured explanations, I thought he had understood that the matter was of some urgency. I tried to make him understand that the cable is attached to a heavy metal bracket on the outside of my house. The bracket is hanging from the wall by one screw. The cable is heavy. I am afraid that if the cable breaks free from the wall, the weight of the cable will cause the bracket to swing free. It could the kill or maim anyone passing underneath, or severely damage a passing vehicle which might also result in a driver fatality.

Afraid that the young man might not have understood the urgency of my request for help, I determined to try to contact my telecommunication firm by email – but failed miserably. Although there are several options – somewhat euphemistically called Help or Customer Service  none allowed me to send an email direct to Customer Services at TalkTalk. It has forced me to conclude that trying to communicate with telecommunication firms such as this, as well as BT, is somewhat like trying to find a hen’s teeth. They don’t make it easy, so I decided to try the questionable mailing system we now have in UK, as that too has proved a dubious method of communication in recent weeks – apart from that of the ‘junk’ variety.

A friend recently sent a card – a single flower with a button at its centre – by first class mail. It arrived six days later, having been posted and delivered locally, in Carmarthenshire. Now I know this is the biggest single county in Wales, but letters from Sri Lanka and New Zealand take only four days to arrive. Not only was the card delivered late, but I had to drive five miles to the nearest post-office to collect it, (I was so informed by the printed missive left in my mail box) where I was made to pay £1.11 – (£1 handling charge and 11 pence extra postage) because the button in the centre of the flower made the letter too thick to pass through the mandatory test slot, (but not the post box into which it was popped by my friend) determining the next price category requiring that extra 11 pence postage. My question for the post office was, ‘How much time was wasted by the postman fiddling with a footling plastic test slot instead of doing what he should have been doing – delivering the letter?’ Surely the postal service has not had to stoop to such measures in order to boost profits?

One comment on “The Complications of 21st Century Communications

  1. This “automated helpdesks” are really really annoying and in your case dangerous! i have been banging my head with hotmail’s helpdesk since i shifted to this house in september last year, it is still going on.

    Seems gates took its brain when he left microsoft. I am really at a dilemma, because all my wordpress blogs are linked to hotmail, hope wordpress will cut off the email portion and allow us to handle the blogs through phone connections.


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