One of my new year’s resolutions is to give up smoking – yet again. The other is to have as little to do with call centres as possible.

Take the other day. My gas fire conked out and the engineer said there was water in the pipes and I’d better ring my gas supplier to get it checked out.

Of course it took several attempts and robot automated hash buttons and number pressings to get to the right department.

When I eventually spoke to a humanoid the conversation went something like this.

“Oh hello, I think there is water in my gas pipe, its making a funny bubbling sound”

She: “Can you smell gas”

“No, no gas smells just the bubbling sound.”

She: “Is the smell your side of the gas meter or our side of the supply?”

“Well like I said, no smell just the noise so I suppose it’s my side”!

She: “Sir it is your responsibility not ours.”

“But the water must be coming from your side to get to my side.”

She: “Sir, can you smell gas”?


She: “I have to ask you to go to your meter and turn off your gas and then come back and report to me that you have done so”!


She, sternly: “SIR!”

“OK. I’ve turned off the gas, miss”.

She: “Sir, at this point I have to tell you to open all your windows and not to smoke or turn on any appliances or light switches and also to remove any animals or small children from the vicinity and extinguish any naked lights and our operative will be with you within the next hour and a half.

“My name is Tracy and I am a brainless automated robot and am reading from a script.”

OK, so that last bit was made up, but it’s what I expected next.

Anyway the gas man came and replaced a regulator.

Please let me talk to a human being that possesses a brain and not a clip board?

Trevor Murdin
Flemming Crescent