First taste of the call centre

It must have been sometime in the early nineties. My Dad had a business selling fresh cream cakes and these were particularly popular with offices where people would place bulk orders for birthdays and other special events. As the delivery boy it meant I’d seen the inside of many offices. This one was from the outside fairly unspectacular. It had a façade of yellow-ish stone and sat on the outlying part of the office district where a busy roundabout separated downtown from the down-trodden part of town. Next door was a derelict Victorian Gothic church which always struck me as a little creepy.

The inside was gloomier than the airy new buildings I’d been used to. This feeling of difference though did little to prepare me for what I was about to see. I was directed with my tray of cakes into the middle of a high-ceilinged room. All around me sat people in headsets, the nearest a smart-looking man pressed a button “Hello, Eagle Star Direct, how can I help you?” Then a pause, followed by “I’ll just put you through.” Then again “Hello, Eagle Star Direct, how can I help you?” a pause, followed by “I’ll just put you through.” And again. and again, and again. The repetition seemed endless. I watched and listened, transfixed. What was this place? I wanted to get out and couldn’t get rid of the cakes soon enough. As I opened the passenger door to the van and swung myself into the seat ready for my next office I made a mental note. I never ever want to work in a place like this.