Blovember #19 – Hiding Behind the Data Protection Act

Or more accurately – I have yet another excuse not to help you.

It seems that the really obvious difference between North American and British approaches to the customer is some sort of deep down default position. I generalise but it goes like this:

  • North America – ingrained in the general psyche is the innate feeling of “how can I help you?”
  • Britain – ingrained in the psyche is the innate feeling of “I don’t do service. I am not your underling. This is just a job that I need to do to feed my family so fuck-off as I’m not your servant”

There are exceptions that prove the rule on both sides of The Pond. However, to justify and explain this to themselves the Brits love to dress up the “fuck-off” behind a multiplicity of reasons. The theme of which is, “Love to help, just not poss”.

Who has ever woken in the middle of the night and not been able to sleep and then decided that, as awake, it is the ideal time to call a telephone based service when every other soul is in the Land Of Nod? Who has then got that recorded message saying, “due to unexpectedly high call volumes…” In the middle of the goddamed night? They have that message ALL the time. If the lines are that busy all the time then fix the bloody problem or embrace the massive and continual influx of new business with more bodies on the phone. The other favourite is to cite the inability (read – unwillingness) to do something because, “the Data Protection Act means I can’t”. What utter balls. When you are feeling grumpy (-er than usual) and act dumb and politely enquire which part of the DPA is hampering them, ‘cos “I’d like to write to my MP and appeal for it to be raised as a parliamentary question with a view to amending/repealing it and by the way what is your name and the name of the person that told you this?” They either refer you up the chain to a more experienced but equally knowledgeless person or wing it and go for the “added flannel” approach.

I wouldn’t be so bitter and twisted if they just told me to get knotted and hung up. I prefer honesty.

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