Mr Customer Service


“I’m here to give you the best customer service just let me know how I can resolve this issue for you.” cooed the voice next to me as it travelled down the telephone wire wrapping the anxious customer in a cocoon of luxurious reassuring comfort

Part of me was in awe (though I must say part of me wanted to vomit). ‘Mr Customer Service’ as I had dubbed him in my mind was one of the Christmas temps. His age was hard to guess, but if pushed I’d say around 30 and he was joined by someone I assumed was a friend or former workmate, but who unlike Mr Customer Service could best be described as a bit of a clown.

Mr Customer Service oozed a professional smoothness I couldn’t hope to emulate and was impecibbly turned out in an ensemble of smart business attire which put my ill fitting threads to shame.  I wondered what had happened so that it had come to this for him, a question that I routinely ask myself whenever a temp looking over 30 arrives. I can understand teenagers or someone in their twenties putting up with a lousy hand-to-mouth day-to-day temp existence when they’re living with mum and dad and are just there to earn enough for a good weekend, but someone in their 30s they’ve got to have commitments, maybe a mortgage, and what about all their experience, surely that’s got to count for something… right?

Mr Customer Service represented everything that was unfair about the job. He was good, very good. His telephone voice was as soothing as a strepsil, so much so I wondered if he’d been trained by one of those voice coaches they use at big firms. He certainly had a ‘big firm’ feel about him as if he’d done time in a utility or a bank call-centre. So what was he doing in the back-alley like a fallen movie star reduced to grubby b-movie flicks?

I’d never find out what his backstory was. No matter how good he was, he was just a temp. As soon as the calls stopped coming a call was no doubt made to his agency to tell him not to bother coming in the next day.

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