The phone rang in Asof Towers a few weeks ago.
“Good afternoon! My name is Julian. May I speak to Dr Asof?”
It took me a little while to understand Julian due to his accent – not as you might expect from the name an accent that spoke from Winchester or Cheltenham or some other middle England bastion, but just a litle, well, Indian.
“Hello Dr Asof my name is Julian how are you today I am calling from Unviolated Entertainment and as a valued customer of ours I am calling to offer you a special upgrade to your internet connection.”
He paused to draw breath and hearing that I hadn’t hung up he plunged on.
“You are currently on our 10 megabit connection package and we would like to offer you an upgrade to 20 megabits for only a small extra charge. Would you be interested in that?”
“Well, Julian, I would be interested in a faster connection. You see, the thing is, although I’m paying you for 10 megabits, I never get more than about 7.”
“Ah, Dr Asof, you have to understand that the speed we advertise is a speed which we aspire to deliver, and which many of our customers receive, but we cannot guarantee that any individual connection will receive that speed as there are too many variables.”
“But you can offer me a faster connection if I pay for the upgrade?”
“That is correct, yes, we can install a faster connection for a small extra-”
“Sorry to interrupt – but here’s a suggestion, just a wild, off the wall, bear with me I’m thinking out loud here, idea – but how about you install the faster connection at your expense and use it to deliver to me the service for which I am already paying and then if you can actually do that perhaps we can consider a paid upgrade to a service beyond that speed?”
Dear reader, you may be amazed to discover that Julian didn’t feel he could do that. How to deal with a customer who wanted what he was paying for before agreeing to pay more didn’t seem to be in his script. But eventually, he agreed to send me a copy of the agreement to the new service which I could peruse and return to them, which I did.
A few days later, the phone rang again. It wasn’t Julian – it was a woman called Alice who described herself as being from the contracting department. I expressed my sympathy, and then she explained she was from the department which handled contracts, not a department which was shrinking. She rapidly came to the point.
“Dr Asof, you’ve made a change to the contract before returning it to us and I’m afraid we can’t allow that.”
“Really? I didn’t think it was a big change. All I did was move a few words from one sentence to another. It used to say you’d supply ‘up to 20 megabits’ and I’d pay 9.99 a month, and I changed it to say you’d supply 20 megabits and I’d pay ‘up to 9.99 a month’.”
“You see, 9.99 is a payment which I aspire to deliver, and which many of my creditors receive, but I cannot guarantee that any individual invoice will receive that payment as there are too many variables.”
Asof (posted on a 10 megabits connection (well, 7 really))