Security? No way!

Well, i SHALL write about it. The event, incident, THING: even though i am pretty sure that Tesco, who are a generally decent firm when it comes to customer handling, will sort me out…will apologise profusely and will more or less go thru the right sort of motions.

Until the next time.

Which is why, as well as personal experience, this is also question, for anyone else who might be affected one way or t’other by this mock security affectation that some companies seem to have.

Free theatre!

The “it”, with which i began this post started out as mostly freebie, night out with the boy to see Shrek at the Drury Lane Theatre in London. Which, on arrival, i realised was also the setting some 10 or 12 years back for daughter, then at about the age the boy is now, to prance about on stage in a rather frothy purple outfit showing off her dance skills. Yes. Her local dance class was part of some larger regional event that determinedly, ritually, put their pupils through advanced humiliation once every year or so by getting them to perform on a London stage.

I digress, as always.

The tickets, purchased with Tesco vouchers, were a smidgeon of the asking price. Ordering them is a tad Byzantine. First you click online, giving over your Clubcard details, which are linked to your name (Ms Jane Fae). Then they send you a posh looking silver embossed voucher with your name and a booking reference on it, which you forward, along with your name details written out one more time to Love Theatre…who organise for the tickets to be sent or hand delivered to the theatre for you to pick up.

Simples! As any well-spoken meerkat will tell you.


And all worked to plan apart from…the fact that the tickets were made out to J Sae – which is the sort of error you make if you take a name over the phone and ignore the evidence, in duplicate, written down in front of you. Sticking the wrong letter on the front of the name was not good, since it resulted in much ferreting around by the theatre staff, unable to find anything for me filed under F for FAE!

But they weren’t just made out to “J Sae”: oh, no. They were made out to “Sae, Mr J”.

Ugh! Double ugh! Things have moved on since the hectic-ness of the last year. I’m settling, more and more. Out in public, i can’t remember the last time someone addressed me as anything much other than “Miss” or “Ma’am”. That’s nice. Even on the phone, mostly, they’ve stopped getting it wrong.

Offensive call operators…

Except…when i’m tired…and a hint of resonance creeps back into my voice. At which point two quite distinct and irritating things happen. The first is that despite clearly being identified as Jane, Miss, and passing all security tests, some operators drop “sir” into the mix. Rude. Very. Because common sense alone should tell them that if name and voice don’t precisely match, they should tread carefully.

Else they are likely to give offense, irrespective of whether the victim of their imprecision is cis or trans.

…hiding beneath the security cloak

Second – and this is beginning to irritate even more: when called on this rudeness, they mutter about “security”. Which is where my ask to anyone reading this post comes in.

It sounds plausible. But it ain’t. There will be circumstances, without doubt, in which a partner or ex-partner tries to get their hands on someone else’s money or personal details. At which point, the security system around the account or system in question should be copper-bottomed. Because if some process is important enough to require “security”, it shouldn’t be reliant on whether some call centre operator thinks the person on the phone doesn’t sound male or female enough to meet their preconceptions.

I’m going to do a survey on that: see what some of the larger companies have to say for themselves. Meanwhile, if anyone else has experiences they would care to share – publically or otherwise, please do.

Because from where i’m sat, it feels like rudeness, pure and simple – and the security cloak is not a real answer. Its excuse: and nothing more.

jane xx

P.S. And the show? Ah, yes. Not quite my sort of thing: but the boy, who had done his usual pre-performance performance (don’t wanna go: won’t like it)…absolutely loved it, and is talking about it next class show and tell opportunity he gets!

2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Emily said,

    Yes, that ‘security’ thing always did make me wonder. After all, if you really did want to do something nefarious with someone else’s account/card/booking, surely you’d get someone of the same gender they are to make the claim to avoid that difference in gender in the first place?

    Unfortunately, blowing ones top, as tempting as it may be, never works with the ‘security’ crowd since they start throwing the ‘security’ excuses around ever more heavily… Sigh…

  2. 2

    Christabel said,

    I recounted my worst experience in response to your post: “Well that was crap…” a few months ago. Feel free to use it 🙂

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