Pointless Conversation…

Well, that was a waste of twenty-five minutes…

Welcome to Vodafone! You will now be connected with a service adviser. Your approximate wait time is 0 minute(s) and 1 seconds. . We’re looking forward to assisting you today.

You are now connected with Harsh.

Harsh: Hello, you’re chatting with Harsh, one of Vodafone’s online customer service specialists.  May I take your full name and mobile number please?

You: Yes, it’s Belinda Hirons and my mobile number is *************.

Harsh: Hello Belinda, how’s the day been so far?

You: Quiet! I’ve had no service on either my personal mobile nor my company mobile most of this afternoon and most of yesterday afternoon! They’re both on Vodafone…

Harsh: I empathize with your situation of not being able to avail Vodafone services.

You: Do you know if there’s an issue in the south-east of England?

Harsh: I’ll surely assist you with this issue and help you get resolved your query.

You: Ok….

Harsh: I’ll have to look in your account to be able to help you with that.

Harsh: In order to resolve your query I’ll need to verify your details for security purposes. Let me ask you a few questions in order to assist you.

Harsh: Would you be able to verify your method of payment, first line of address with the post code and your date of birth for security reasons?

You: Well, my company phone is registered to my boss, so they’re his details. I don’t know them.

You: All I need to know is if there is an issue with service in the South East of England…

Harsh: I can see that you are a business customer, hence what I can do for you is that I can call you and connect you to our dedicated business team who would help you with this.

Harsh: Shall I call you if you have any alternate number?

You: I don’t need the business service, I just need to know if there is an issue with service?

You: You can’t call me because I have no service…

Harsh: If you have any alternate number which I can call on?

You: I just have the two Vodafone mobiles

You: So I’m a bit cut-off right now

Harsh: I understand you situation and empathize with this situation.

You: So are there any outages in the South East of England at the moment, are you able to tell me or not?

Harsh: Please stay connected while I check this for you.

You: Thanks. 🙂

Harsh: Thank you for your patience.

Harsh: The post code that you provided has full network signal.

Harsh: As I haven’t checked the account details to see the service level, I would provide you with the troubleshooting steps.

Harsh: I would request you to perform the soft reset for your handset.

Harsh: Could you please help me with the handset make and model?

You: So why would I have no service on two independent mobile phones? One is an HTC, and one is an iPhone5.

You: I’ve already tried turning them off and on again…

Harsh: Have you tried removing SIM card from both the handsets?

You: No, but why would they both have the same problem at the same time?

Harsh: I do understand your concern and as I’ve informed you that without checking your account, I will not be able to comment on the service you are receiving.

Harsh: Hence, I request you to get in touch with our Business team.

Harsh: If you wish, I can connect you with our Business team right away.

You: And your business team will talk to me when I can’t provide any of the details for the phone account holder?

Harsh: I am sure, they will be able to help you on this further.

(Note: They won’t, I’ve tried this before, plus he’s already told me he can’t comment on an account when he doesn’t have the details!)

You: Okay then…

Harsh: May I take your alternate number on which I can call you?

You: I just told you I don’t have one….

You: Both Vodafone, both no service.

You: Can they not talk to me on Chat here?

Harsh: I am afraid, but they are available only on call. You can call them if this is better?

You: Okay, never mind then. I can’t call them because I have no phone service. But thanks.

Harsh: Your welcome.

Harsh: I hope I could have assist you today to resolve your concern.

Harsh: Thank you for contacting Vodafone Customer Services.

Harsh: Have a nice day and take care.

Harsh: Goodbye.

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Are We Losing Ourselves?

Zombies are among us! Oh yes, they shamble aimlessly amidst our ranks every day with slack faces and hunched shoulders, hands held out in front of them, unresponsive and silent except for the odd grunt, strangled moan or occasional piercing scream. They are relentless. Be afraid. Be very afraid!  You’ve seen them too; that couple sitting wordlessly at the next table in the restaurant, seemingly unaware of each other. The person who shuffled into you in the street without noticing or acknowledging you, unaware of the direction they’re heading or the cafe chair they’re about to hilariously fall over. Zombies. Or maybe they’d be better described as Meanderthals? For these are the folk who are lost in another world, a world of the mind which leaves the physical body operating on automatic, the world of the…duh duh DUH!…smart phone.

Okay, so let’s get one thing straight here; I’m not dissing the smart phone. I love gadgets as much as the next geek, and I’ll admit to using my own phone to idly surf the net on long train journeys, or update my Facebook status with some inane comment that I’ll probably regret posting at the exact time I lose my connection, or find out where the heck I am when I’m lost, or chat to my buddies when I should be working (hey, I work from alone from home, so I need a little social interaction every now and then!) And there’s nothing wrong this, it’s perfectly healthy and dead useful at times, especially when you find yourself in the wrong part of town with a Doctor Who bag and a badge that says ‘Your Face Offends Me’. You’ve got to love technology. However, the danger arises when we are so self-absorbed in this virtual world that, in connecting with friends or news or trivia, we become disconnected from the physical world around us. That’s not so good, and yet I see it more and more.

There’s not only the fact to consider that you may wander into the path of a bus while you’re tweeting about what a good day you’re having; social niceties also go out the window when you’re a phone junkie. How many times have you seen someone so engrossed in their phone that they let a door shut in someone else’s face, or ignore someone calling to them, or fail to notice that an elderly person standing on the bus could really do with a seat?

True, contemporary social media is communal even if it’s not face-to-face, and any kind of engagement is good. But every now and then, we need to put down the phones and take a look around. Breathe in some fresh air. Listen to the birds. Really listen. Take in the details of the physical world around us no matter where we are, because it really is beautiful. Smile at other people, real people. Human interaction and warmth is a wonderful thing, and you won’t get it from a digital device. And don’t be afraid to be alone for a while – to quote actress Olivia Wilde “I think it’s very healthy to spend time alone. You need to know how to be alone and not defined by another person”.

To put it plainly, don’t just send a hug, give a hug.

Love and light.