Forget Blue Monday, BT broadband nearly drove me to Murder Wednesday

Trying to resolve problems about broadband while on the telephone to someone in India is a common frustration for people in Britain

Click to follow
The Independent Online

First it’s Blue Monday, next it’s Divorce Tuesday, and then, for those of us who are dealing with BT, it’s Murder Wednesday.

Blue Monday is a rather specious concept in the first place, invented in 2005 as a marketing ploy by a travel company and given a patina of authenticity by a part-time psychiatrist.

It was originally identified as the third Monday in January, when the post-Christmas depression, the financial hangover of December spending, and the malign effect of the weather all intersected to send the collective British psyche into an emotional tailspin.

This idea has since been applied to that Monday when we all return to work after Christmas, but my own – admittedly anecdotal – evidence would suggest this is even further from the mark.

After the best part of a fortnight of charades, Christmas cake and clearing up the cat litter, many people look forward to seeing their work colleagues again, and to engaging with a world that’s not decorated with tinsel.

Blue Monday? Pah! And Divorce Tuesday? Matrimonial lawyers claim that this is their busiest time of the year, and it’s easy to see why.

The overbearing pressure to start the new year with a new you, to change, to improve, to lose weight, to seek success, to achieve happiness, inevitably leads to introspection, and causes many people to inspect their relationship through a more negative lens than they might apply at other times of the year. If divorce lawyers were to perform a social function, they would have a moratorium on new cases in January.

And so we come to Murder Wednesday. I thought that the biggest impediment for a small, start-up business was the amount of red tape created by government and the banks. I now know better.

I have my own communications business and we have just moved into new premises. Weeks before we moved, we contacted BT and were given an appointment when they would come and install broadband, clearly a necessity for any business.

Last week, BT sent a text message to say they would arrive at our office between 8am and 1pm the next day. I hardly need say that 1pm came and went, they then claimed to have no record of our order, and ever since then we have been trapped in a Kafkaesque nightmare that is too tedious to relate, but, judging from the response when I tweeted my frustration, all too common.

Even though I have a voicemail from a polite Indian gentleman assuring me that we would be switched on within 24 hours – this was at the end of last week – we are still without broadband. The call centre staff in India are trained within an inch of their lives – I was quickly on first name terms with Gurinder and Rajpal – but they are completely ineffectual and, I’m afraid, the whole experience brings out the xenophobe in the best of us. Give me someone in Mansfield rather than Madras, I found myself wishing.

Anyway, the most recent promise we have is for today. And after hours of listening to Vivaldi (the irony of BT keeping me hanging on the telephone), don’t blame me if I turn homicidal when it doesn’t happen.