Well that was crap…

There is, i realise, something of a rhythm to misgendering. And its mostly nowadays on the phone.

Still, unexpectedly, it has the power to upset, to disturb and in this instance, to reduce me to tears. Why?

The usual script, i find, is a cold call that starts with some oik ringing up and wanting to speak to me or to the householder or to some presumed occupant or to some combination of all three. I identify myself and often, nowadays, we get on with the call: if i’m tired, though or its late, i know my voice pitches down and that leads to a predictable and irritating exchange.

“Jane”, i give them. Then the challenge, in varying degrees of subtlety. Either they need to know how to spell it: puh-lease (but at least they are being sensitive); or they riposte “James?”.

Sometimes one correction is enough: other times, we’ll play the exchange twice, thrice even.

Then, if i’m lucky, there’ll be a muted “sir” inserted at some point in the conversation. That’s an intersting one since often, i’ve noticed, it is so habitual that the speaker doesn’t even notice they’ve done it. Nowadays, i always correct that – moving to an official complaint if they then persist. So far is understandable. Beyond so far is just rude.

Which is where some survey company just went on behalf of my bank,Nat West. A guy phones, explains he is doing a survey, knows enough detail for me to be convinced he is carrying it out on behalf of who he says he is, and starts to inquisit. We play the game, as above, with him trying both “James” and “sir” within about a minute of each other. Still, we’re sorted – or so i think.

First off, he wants me to confirm that i recently visited a particular branch. Then, how long i was queueing for. I suggest 3 or 4 minutes. He goes off, ostensibly to ask advice: i find this amusing. FFS. No-one can remember whether they have queued for three minutes or four, and i say as much. To this point, on my side,things are relatively light-hearted…though i have a sneaking suspicion as to why he had to ask advice.

Then its on to the next question: whether i’m very satisfied or extremely satisfied with something. Still cheerful on my side, he sounds grumpy. Then: “can you confirm you are Miss Jane Fae”. What?

No. He’s clearly had that confirmed already. He can’t, surely, be taking exception to my lightness of tone? And he absolutely should not be using voice cues to question my identity. But apparently he is.

The survey is finished. I terminate it. I speak with the guy’s manager. I complain, ridiculously apologising for causing them hassle: but it shouldn’tjust be left. Somewhere along the way i’ve gone from happy, cheerful, enjoying my morning to pissed off and crying.

Yeah: its over-reaction. Or maybe not. If the company security is not up to tghe job and security is important to them, they should be improving their security – not challenging people personally.

I shall wait and see how my bank responds. 😦

jane xx

shoot back.


7 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    That sounds grim. If it was your own bank calling you presumably they would have used the usual security questions and confirmed it was you that way.

    The training for those kind of workers is probably dire as well. But that is no excuse.

  2. 2

    M said,

    Ugh. Sorry to hear about that. It is a story I hear again and again, and there is *nothing* to justify it.

    Yet another reason (along with a pretty shoddy investment record) not to use Natwest.
    Try http://www.co-operativebank.co.uk/ and http://www.triodos.co.uk/en/personal/ for ethical, consumer-led banking.

  3. 3

    kerri morgan said,

    God what sort of stupid games is your bank playing, they must have known you were Janefae, because they rang your home phone, what stupid questions, you should have replied no its not jane fae, its willy wonker, you wanker and hung up, dont let them upset your day jane, not worth the stress, now I hope your smiling and dont let people upset you……..:)

  4. 4

    Christabel said,

    Worst I received was from my (ex)bank Halifax when I called up to make a transaction. I gave my name as Miss ****; went through the security questions answering them correctly and was then firmly told that they were terminating the phonecall with “I’m sorry sir you don’t sound like the account holder”. I wasn’t even given the chance to remonstrate. I closed my account at the local branch the next day.

  5. 7

    Caroline. said,

    My skin has thickened, it used to bother me but acid reflux has ruined my voice so on something as analytical as a telephone I might sound a bit rough at times.

    My policy is that the householder is “never” home and any calls which show stupidity or disrespect are terminated tout suite.

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