British Telecom, as far as I can tell, has two major call-centers: one up north in the UK, and one on the Indian sub-continent. While it seems the Asian workers do indeed get some accent-reduction training, their supervisors have not gone all the way and tried to make them get, say, BBC accents or something in the same way it was fashionable to train these poor people to sound very American for clients based in North America when outsourced customer support in India really took off in the early millennium. The people on the phone do insist, upon seeing my account data, that my first name is 'Van' until corrected, and have all the same 'repeat everything and apologize every second word until the word sorry sounds meaningless' mannerisms as every other call-center in the region seems to have acquired.
I had to have a conversation with one of those chaps today, because at 13:45 no BT repairperson had rung my doorbell to hook up my line, which was due to happen today after a month's wait. I am a little anxious, yes, I would like some broadband now, please. I keep abusing my terms of service with T-Mobile's Pay As You Go mobile service by using my phone as a modem on their data network, while I am only supposed to use the data network on this plan for browsing with the phone itself and maybe checking some email. I can choose between rock-solid and very slow EDGE, or faster 3G that stops working every 5 minutes for 5 minutes. It costs me a pound a day maximum, which is actually the best data plan for a Pay As You Go mobile plan.
So, dialtone please, and no installer dude(tte) between 8AM and 1PM today. I even got up at 7.30 for it. The guy at the call center put me on hold for two minutes -- no problem since it is a free call, but oh wait, I am on my mobile so it is not -- and tells me that his system says that I have been hooked up, and some time tonight my line will start working. I wish someone would atually have done some quality control inside the house to check that everything was indeed installed correctly, because it is now 10.30 PM and guess what: no dialtone from any of the 3 jacks in the apartment.