Thursday, 26th March 2015

by Joshua Gaskell

People complain about call centres being based abroad, bad lines and heavy accents making it difficult to hear what operatives are saying. But actually, the ones based here can be just as irritating. English-based Call Centre-ese seems to have gone through its standardisation process, and it is a truly extraordinary language to hear spoken: yourself and myself, never you and me; ‘thank you for that information, I can confirm that I can provide you with an answer to that’, never just the answer; ‘Is there anything else I can help you with today?’ – not else: so far you’ve helped me with nothing; and the dogged, stoical use of with regards to.

It sounds like the product of a language academy dedicated to the non-human, to politeness so automated it’s rude, to vacuity and above all to ugliness. I don’t blame the speakers of the language but the bosses, who for some reason have decided to drive out the native wit and commonsensibly of their workers.

My last call centre experience was so silly that I’d quite like a copy of the audio. All these calls are apparently ‘recorded for training purposes’. Never mind training, I want to relive the comedy.